Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Recipe (Starbucks Copycat to Make at Home)
Every autumn, we look forward to cooler months, beautiful fall colors, and a drink that’s developed a cult following: Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. Creamy, smooth, spicy, and full of all the warm flavors of fall, this latte inspires designs for sweatshirts, candles, cookies, cakes, and even plushies. But as great as the PSL is, there’s a better coffee drink: Starbucks’ pumpkin cream cold brew.
Never tried it? Keep reading to learn about what it is, why it’s better, and how to make a better-than-Starbucks copycat pumpkin cream cold brew recipe.
What You Need
- Cold brew coffee concentrate
- Simple syrup
- Vanilla syrup
- Pumpkin spice syrup
- Pumpkin cream cold foam
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Finely grated ginger, optional
AT A GLANCE
5 minutes (assembly only)
2 servings of 16-oz pumpkin cream cold brew
The Drink that Dethroned Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte (aka PSL)
Starbucks is well-known for its mochas, frappuccinos, regular cold brew coffee, Refreshers, and macchiatos. But, their PSL—affectionately dubbed the PSL—inspires over 3,000 daily tweets during the fall season (1).
Since its release in 2003, the PSL has garnered a cult following, inspiring a billion-dollar pumpkin spice industry. According to Yahoo Finance, by 2013, stores couldn’t even keep up with the demand (2). But according to Business Insider, the PSL was officially dethroned in 2020. Meet the new crowning champion of autumn-themed drinks: the pumpkin cream cold brew (3).
The Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Coffee
In a cup, this creamy, rich pumpkin pie is layer upon layer of delicious spicy, warm vanilla goodness (4). According to Starbucks, the pumpkin cream cold brew is made with “Cold Brew coffee sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping.”
While there is pumpkin puree in the PS syrup, it isn’t much. Moreover, vanilla and PS syrups contain preservatives, thickeners, natural flavors, and color additives.
In developing this recipe, Home Grounds decided to strike a balance between indulgence and health. Though the original recipe uses sugar—and lots of it—we’ve chosen to use monk fruit and make this recipe low-carb.
The Sweetener: What Is Monk Fruit?
Monk fruit is a gourd that’s indigenous to China (5). As a close relative to the cucumber and melon, this fruit-based sweetener has become quite popular among people looking to reduce or altogether eliminate sugar in their diets.
Unlike sugar, honey, or even maple syrup, monk fruit doesn’t cause blood sugar to spike. This is because our bodies naturally break down the mogrosides in monk fruit, eliminating it as waste instead of storing it.
Additionally, since monk fruit is up to 250 times sweeter than traditional sugars, you only need to use a quarter or less of monk fruit sweetener to achieve the same results.
How to Make a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
What comes to mind when you think of delicious ways to use cold brew? Perhaps, popsicles made with cold brew? Or maybe you’re more partial to almond milk cold brew or even more delicious coffee-based drinks.
What about a rich, creamy, frothy coffee-infused pumpkin pie in a cup? Yes, please.
Please note that there are four major components to our recipe.
- The cold brew coffee
- The PS and vanilla syrups
- The pumpkin cream cold foam
- And the PS topping
As a quick note, though we’ve listed specific ingredients and proportions, feel free to adapt this recipe to your palate and dietary needs. For instance, you could substitute coconut milk and coconut cream for the milk and cream in the cold foam. And if you want a little more depth and complexity to your foam, substitute maple syrup for the monk fruit sweetener.
With all the preliminaries out of the way, let’s proceed to make this drink.
1. Make Your Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
In a 57-ounce French press, combine 2 cups of coarse ground coffee with 8 cups of room-temperature water. Stir gently to combine.
Let it sit out on your countertop for 16 hours. Then, plunge the cold brew coffee concentrate into a 57-ounce glass pitcher.
Pro Tip: While 16 hours is the optimal time for extraction at room temperature, you can let the coffee steep for up to 24 hours for a strong brew.
2. Make Your Simple Syrup
Combine 2 cups of room temperature water and 2 cups of monk fruit sweetener or maple syrup in two separate saucepans.
Bring both saucepans to a boil on medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let your simple syrups simmer until the monk fruit sweetener or maple syrup is completely dissolved.
Pro Tip: A simple syrup is equal parts water and a sweetener. Though we’ve used monk fruit here, feel free to use whichever sweetener you like.. Just be sure your sweetener has completely dissolved in the water before incorporating it into other dishes or sauces.
3. Make Your Vanilla Syrup
In your second saucepan, add 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 vanilla scraped vanilla beans, ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream or condensed milk to taste, and one pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
Bring your saucepan to a simmer on medium-low heat. Turn off the heat once it simmers, and let it steep for 20 minutes.
Pro Tip: The vanilla beans in your syrup will clump together, but you can remove the clumps by straining it through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Otherwise, just whisk it to make it smooth again.
4. Make Your Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Once both simple syrups are ready, add in 14 ounces of pumpkin puree, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, freshly-grated ginger, and 1 teaspoon of table salt to one saucepan for the PS syrup. With a wooden spoon, stir gently to combine. Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for two minutes.
At this point, you have some options. You can either:
- Add in ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream and stir just till heated through
- Add in 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk and stir till heated through
Both options will yield a creamy PS syrup, but the second will be sweeter and thicker in consistency.
Pro tip: You can make your own sweetened condensed milk with monk fruit sweetener. Simmer 2-½ cups whole milk, ½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup monk fruit sweetener, and a pinch of salt together in a saucepan. Stir occasionally and do not walk away from your pan. The condensed milk is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
5. Make Your Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam
In a 32-ounce French press, combine 1 cup of heavy cream, ½ cup condensed milk, 2 teaspoons each of PS and vanilla extract, and three tablespoons of pumpkin puree. Whisk everything together with a balloon whisk until everything is combined.
Start with four large plunges with the plunger to aerate your cold foam. Then, continue with smaller, quicker plunges near the bottom of the French until the foam reaches the desired consistency.
Pro Tip: If you’ve ever frothed hot milk with a French press, this process is the same. You can even use this method to make whipped cream. Also, gently tap the press on the counter between plunges to eliminate any larger bubbles.
6. Assemble Your Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
For optimal results, start by decanting all your syrups into Mason jars and letting them chill in your fridge.
Once everything is cold, pour in an ounce—or two tablespoons—of your PS and vanilla syrups into each 16-ounce glass. Stir to combine.
Then, add in 7 ounces of cold brew coffee concentrate and dilute it with 7 ounces of cold water.
Lastly, follow the instructions and prep your cold foam just before serving.
Top each pumpkin cream cold brew with 2 ounces of pumpkin cold foam, a dusting of the PS topping, and some optional finely grated ginger.
Pro Tip: To keep your pumpkin cream cold brew cold, you can place your 16-ounce glasses into the freezer for 15 minutes to frost. Otherwise, feel free to use cold brew ice cubes.
A Few Tips
This recipe is all about timing. To make your life easy, start by making the cold brew coffee first because it’ll take the longest to prep.
Next, make your simple syrups at the same time and set two different timers on your smartphone. Since the vanilla syrup is much more hands-off, the Home Grounds team suggests starting with that one first. As it steeps, follow the directions to make your PS syrup.
Pumpkin Puree from scratch
Next, if you’re using fresh pumpkin puree, start by placing your whole pumpkin into an eight-quart pressure cooker on a steam rack, along with two cups of warm water. Pressure cook for 13 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.
Once it’s cool enough to handle, slice your pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and starch, and scrape out the flesh. Puree the pumpkin in a blender till smooth.
On another note, here are other Starbucks drinks you can try making at home:
This pumpkin cream cold brew coffee recipe is as decadent as it is challenging. But don’t worry, we promise it’s worth the effort. You might want to double the recipe and share…or not. We don’t judge.
So, have you made this recipe? Which desserts do you think would complement this drink?
Drop us a comment below.
Yes, you can make this pumpkin cream cold brew into a latte. To do this, combine the pumpkin spice syrup, vanilla syrup, and cold brew coffee in a small saucepan. Please bring it to a gentle simmer on medium heat and remove once it reaches 165 degrees F. Follow the instructions for making the pumpkin cold foam and aerate before serving.
To make this pumpkin cream cold brew vegan, substitute coconut milk for any dairy-based ingredients. However, making vegan sweetened condensed milk with coconut milk and monk fruit sweetener will take about 45 minutes, so plan accordingly.
It’s better to make pumpkin puree because you’ll get 100% pumpkin in your pumpkin cream cold brew. While many labels read “100% pumpkin”, your can of pumpkin puree may contain butternut squash, too (6).
- Peter Dukes Shares the Story Behind Starbucks First PumpkinSpice Latte. (2019). Starbucks Stories. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2014/starbucks-first-pumpkin-spice-latte/
- Fall Begins: Here’s How Much Money PumpkinSpice Products Rake In. (2018). Yahoo.com. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fall-begins-much-money-pumpkin-150114158.html
- Taylor, K. (n.d.). Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew outsold the PSL this fall, as pumpkin sales hit record highs at the coffee giant. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/starbucks-pumpkin-cream-cold-brew-outsells-pumpkin-spice-latte-2020-10
- Starbucks®. (2022). Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. Starbucks. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2123113/iced
- What is Monk Fruit? – Food Insight. (2022, September 23). Food Insight. https://foodinsight.org/what-is-monk-fruit/
- Foster, K. (2014, October 16). What’s Actually in Your Canned Pumpkin Purée? Kitchn; Apartment Therapy, LLC. https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-actually-in-your-canned-pumpkin-puree-ingredient-intelligence-69123