So, here’s the thing with the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew- There are a lot of steps if you want to get it exactly like Starbucks. But none of them are hard. In fact, it all comes together fairly quickly. I’m including the recipes first and then adding my notes and tips below them so please read through. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!
The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has 3 elements to the drink that you will need to make: Cold Brew, Vanilla Syrup and Pumpkin Syrup.
- 1 cup of coffee grinds (Can be bought in bulk; there are coffee subscriptions that also offer compostable packaging, including Wilderness coffee, which I have not tried yet.)
- 6 to 8 cups of water (I’ve used both depending on if I’m trying to stretch my dollar. For this one, I’d go with 6 cups so you have a stronger coffee to stand up to all the flavors)
Soak your coffee grinds in water for 24 hours. I soak them in a 64-oz mason jar. I like that the measurements are on the side. You can soak the grinds directly in the water and use a pour over system to filter the grinds out. There are so many pour over options right now. I use this one, which I got for free, and use compostable filters so I can just dump the filter and the grinds in my compost. There are also some neat funnels that don’t require filters, which would save you from repeatedly buying filters. I also use a coffee sock, which is my new favorite method as it’s much quicker than the pour over system. For that, you put the grinds in the sock, soak the sock in the water and then just remove the sock after 24 hours. The grinds can be composted and the sock is just rinsed clean in your sink. Both methods work great.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
For the vanilla syrup, combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved into the water. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool. Keeps in fridge for at least a month. For low waste notes on sugar and vanilla, see my baking ingredients post. This can also be used in cocktails!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 3 TBSP canned pumpkin puree (available in a can or homemade, though I haven’t tried that before so I can’t speak to that for this recipe)
- 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP sweetened condensed milk*
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the water, sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a small pan and heat over medium heat for 10 minutes until everything dissolves. Remove from heat and add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Let the syrup cool. If you find the syrup still has little clumps of pumpkin, you can strain through a fine mesh sieve. I did not have this problem. This should keep for about 2 weeks. This syrup is also used in the PSL if you also enjoy hot drinks.
Combining it all to make Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
- 1/2 cup store bought Almond Milk**
- 1/4 cup of pumpkin syrup
- 1 cup of cold brew
- 2 TBSP of Vanilla Syrup (or less to taste. I find 1 TBSP is fine for me!)
- Pumpkin Pie spice, for garnish
For the foam, combine the Almond Milk and pumpkin syrup and mix with your choice of milk frothers until frothy and doubled in size. I have this one.*** In a large glass, combine the cold brew and the vanilla syrup. Add ice, making sure to leave enough room for your foam. Top with foam and garnish with pumpkin pie spice to taste.
Voila! You just made a $5 fancy drink at home and have enough of everything to get you through at least a week!
Now, here’s my notes and tips:
* For the sweetened condensed milk- If you don’t mind dairy, this can be purchased in a recyclable can. If you can’t have dairy but want this to be authentic, you can make vegan condensed milk. Honestly, I did make this vegan version and though it was SUPER easy, I didn’t find it added anything to the pumpkin syrup. The recipe only calls for 2 TBSPs and you are left with almost a cup of condensed milk that you then need to find a use for. My advice? Save yourself the fridge space and leave this out of the recipe. It won’t be missed!
** Let’s talk non-dairy milk and foam- Your girl tried a lot of homemade milk/homemade creamer recipes and combos. I made my go-to oat milk recipe and a homemade oat milk/cashew coffee creamer (a recipe from Vegan Pantry by Miyoko, in place of heavy cream)- This did not foam. I also tried foaming homemade almond milk and homemade cashew milk. These did not foam. The best one was the STORE BOUGHT almond milk I happened to have on hand. Yeap- the one in a container. So, you have some options- you can use store bought and produce waste (your choice. you’ve made the pumpkin syrup, cold brew, vanilla syrup and are skipping the plastic Starbucks cup- I’m not judging!) OR you combine a milk of your choice with the pumpkin syrup, skip the foam and use it like a coffee creamer. It will have a VERY similar taste to the store bought version but doesn’t require a milk frother and can be used with homemade, package-free milk. Honestly, its going to taste autumnal AF no matter what you choose so you do you 🙂
***My milk frother is from Target but if you go to Poshmark, you can buy a much nicer one second hand for almost as much as that cheapy one I have. I would highly recommend going that route. OR, see point above if you don’t want to purchase another gadget. I get that, too.
So, now that you know how to make a fancy Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, I’m going to be honest- It’s a fun drink to have and it was actually really easy to make despite the steps but it is a sweet drink to have everyday. At least, in my opinion! I have a lot of the syrups left (and oh-so-many non-dairy milk and pumpkin syrup combos) so going forward, I think I’ll be using either the vanilla syrup and plain milk OR the pumpkin syrup and plain milk. The sweetened coffee and sweetened foam was just a little too much sweet to start my day with.
But that’s just me! Tell me what you ended up doing for your Low Waste Fall Cafe Treat down below. Are you going to go Big and make the authentic Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew? Or, are you only using parts of this?
Syrups and drink recipe from Mashed. Cold brew recipe and low waste notes are from my experience.