Pumpkin Pie Latte (Vegan, Gluten Free)
They say smell is the sense closest associated to memory, and I definitely agree- especially when it comes to pumpkin! Fresh pumpkin or pumpkin pie unlocks a flood of childhood thanksgivings for me.
Of course, there's another pumpkin something that is all over the place every fall: Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The smell of the artificial pumpkin syrup used by many coffee chains has me remembering other things than the warmth of my Mom's kitchen with maple leaves falling near the window.
See, a few years ago, I worked this really crappy mall job at a jewelry kiosk next to a Starbucks. My co-workers were awful, and the hours I worked were even worse. The pay was lousy and there was SO much pressure to sell, sell, sell. The place caused me so much stress I actually developed hives. True story.
During these lost days at the mall, I was always looking to console myself with little luxuries. Naturally, I'd end up at Starbucks often on my break, spending half an hour's wage on a pumpkin spice latte. I'd read fashion magazines and plot my escape from retail purgatory.
Around the time November came, I was trying to remove all the toxins I could from my life- including looking for a new job and cutting back on processed food and drinks. My new tastebuds couldn't handle the 'fake-ness' of pumpkin syrup after switching to a more whole food diet. My little luxury needed a replacement.
So I switched to soy cappuccinos or iced coffee. The perfect, bold taste of either is still a standby for me.
But, long after I escaped that job, and even that city, every fall I get a little wistful feeling. I miss having a drink themed after my favourite season. I feel myself thinking, hilariously, that I need to 'reclaim' pumpkin coffee from a low point in my life.
A new version to mark a new era, if you will.
And with that, I present this version of a pumpkin latte. Totally natural and vegan, it completely stomps coffee chain versions. It can be made sugar-free and even sneaks some vitamins and minerals to your afternoon coffee break.
PUMPKIN PIE LATTE (VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE)
By Morgan Mullin/ Makes 2 medium coffees/ 10 minutes or less
-1/4 cup pure canned pumpkin (not pie filling!)
-1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk (or milk of choice)
-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 or 2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
-2 cups strong coffee or espresso
What you do:
-Brew coffee/espresso as usual (I like a French Press!). While coffee is brewing, put all other ingrediants in blender.
-Blend on high until well combined, and pulse a few extra times to create frothy finish. Microwave mixture for 30 seconds to heat it through.
-Mix pumpkin mixture into coffee. Top with whip and pie spice, if desired.