Pumpkin Spice Coffee


We’re Reinterpreting a Fall Classic – the Pumpkin Spice Latte

Oh, the heavily marketed fall “classic” Pumpkin Spice Latte. For coffee drinkers there is an intense love/hate reaction. Those that love it, LOVE it – they drop what they are doing and arrange a get-together with friends to have one. Many others, however, despise it. The sweetness is too much, the spices are too strong, “where’s the coffee”, or – most recently “where’s the pumpkin”. [Newsflash: pumpkin spice coffee is usually spiced with pumpkin pie spices, not pumpkin!]

OK, but before the purists among us all run for the door, indulge me for a minute. Coffee recipes, done well, can increase the appeal and reach of specialty coffee!

They need not polarize our ranks. In fact, a quick study of competitors at global Barista Championship events shows that complementing coffee flavors with other natural ingredients can make a new flavor experience for all involved.

So, with a tip of the hat to both our beloved Specialty Coffee community and fall drink lovers everywhere, here’s what we’ve been experimenting with this week: ESPRO Pumpkin Spice Coffee. We’re putting single varietal coffees with spice notes (we worked on this recipe using an El Salvador Santa Ana Valiente from Blue Bottle, and a Silimakuta AAA Indonesia from PTs) in an ESPRO PRESS.

Then... wait for it... we’re playing with kicking in the spice!

What seemed to work for us was adding the traditional spice elements in the Pumpkin Spice Latte directly into the Press to steep and extract with the coffee. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Cloves. Sometimes cardamom. Sometimes crushed ground pepper. And adding sweetness with agave or sugar was a clincher for some, particularly tasters that like the sweet spiciness.

The result is exciting. Here’s a starting point to get folks experimenting. And it hits our current interests in single varietal coffees, while interpreting it for the season.

Try it yourself. Adjust to match the coffee you’re using, and to taste.  Let us know what you come up with!

Here is a starting point for a MEDIUM ESPRO PRESS, and method. Brew all elements together in the press for 4 minutes, and then press down. Serve table side.

  • 30g fresh ground coffee
  • 480g water (that’s a ratio of 16:1, or roughly to the top fill line of a MEDIUM ESPRO PRESS)
  • 1-2 cloves, pummeled coarsely by hand
  • 1/2-inch off a cinnamon stick, pummeled coarsely
  • seeds from ½ a cardamom pod, pummeled coarsely
  • pinch of nutmeg, ideally fresh shaved (or broken with a hammer)
  • pinch of fresh-ground pepper
  • agave