How to make Indian version of James Hoffmann's Pumpkin Spice Latte

Updated: Feb 7


Up in North India, it’s that time of the year and the season to consume oodles of spicy, warm coffee beverages which keep you warm and caffeinated to face the freezing cold days and nights.


Here is team STB’s Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe. This is an Indian adaptation of our coffee guru - Sri James Hoffmann baba’s original PSL recipe.


You Will Need Consumables: Coffee beans or ground coffee, Milk, Demerara Sugar, RO or Filtered Water, Whole spices - Cinnamon Bark, Ginger Powder, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves, Raw Pumpkin

Equipment: Coffee Making Gear - Espresso Machine OR South Indian Filter OR Moka Pot, Coffee Grinder (Optional), Juicer/Blender, Blade Grinder, French Press or Blender for Milk Frothing


1. PUMPKIN SPICE MIX (25g total)


For the spices, you can either raid your mom’s kitchen or get it from your favourite kirana store/grocer. Pay special attention to quality & freshness of cinnamon bark as it is the dominant ingredient in the spice mix.


We recommend using the best possible domestic (from NE & S India) and overseas organic spice options to use for preparing your spice mix. (Also read Footnote #2 about our preference for cinnamon quills over Cassia bark)

( Read Footnote 3 below for an alternate recipe for Spice Mix if you are unable to get hold of Allspice)


Steps for preparation of spice mix:

  • Weigh out each ingredient, grind in spice grinder or blade coffee grinder to a fine powder

  • Grind and keep aside in a dish for use in the syrup.


2. PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP

( Read Footnote 4 below for choice of pumpkin varieties in India)


Steps for preparation of pumpkin spice syrup:

  • Juice the cubed pumpkin pieces in a juicer or blender.

  • Add RO (or filtered) water in a 1:1 ratio by weight, to pumpkin juice

  • Add 250 - 500g demerara sugar to this mix (based on your sugar preferences)

  • Add 22g of pumpkin spice mix

Put this mix on medium heat gas stove or medium heat induction and stir or whisk vigorously till the volume is reduced to about half. (This step is needed to reduce the vegetal taste of raw pumpkin and for sugar and spice mix to dissolve as best as possible).


Allow the mix to cool down slightly and then filter it through a fine mesh sieve (channi) or muslin cloth to get rid of any larger chunks of undissolved ingredients. This is your finished Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup which you will be using in your coffee beverages. This quantity is good enough for 15-18 cups of PSL, you can store the rest in fridge in a suitable sealed lid container.

3. PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE BEVERAGE PREPARATION

Recommended Coffee Beans for Indian Pumpkin Spice Latte: As a first recommendation, use your favourite medium or medium-dark, freshly roasted coffee beans which have spicy, chocolatey taste notes and which you are familiar with. Alternatively, the globally acclaimed Monsooned Malabar or Mysore Nuggets will work very well here.


You can even use Arabica-Robusta blends such as Lavazza's Crema e Gusto or Il Mattino Vivace for excellent results.


Option 1: If you make lattes regularly at home


If you already have a favoured way of making your lattes at home, go ahead and make a 200-250ml sized latte using your method.


Now add 10-15ml of PSL syrup to your latte prior to adding the steamed/foamed milk. Optionally, garnish with left over Pumpkin Spice Mix powder or just Cinnamon or Nutmeg powder on top and your tasty Pumpkin Spice Latte is ready to be enjoyed!


You can now skip reading the subsequent sections. If you need guidelines for specific latte preparation methods, read on:

Option 2: If you have an espresso machine at home


Prepare a standard double shot of espresso (~60ml).


Steam 75-100g milk to about 150ml volume and 65°C temperature.


Add 15g of Pumpkin Spice Syrup to espresso shot in a 200-250ml cup, and add the steamed milk to it.


Optionally, garnish with left over Pumpkin Spice Mix powder or just Cinnamon or Nutmeg powder. Your Pumpkin Spice Latte is ready. Enjoy!


Option 3: If you have a south Indian filter or a Moka pot at home


Prepare 75-100g of coffee decoction using South Indian Filter or Moka pot as per taste preferences.

(STB South Indian Filter recipe by India Barista Champion Geetu Mohnani)

(STB Moka Pot recipe & step by step instructions)


Heat and froth 75-100g milk so that it occupies about 120-150ml volume.

(STB milk frothing basics and step by step instructions)

In a 250 ml cup, add 10-15g of Pumpkin Spice Syrup, 75-100g of coffee decoction and then pour 120-150ml of heated, frothed milk. Your pumpkin spice latte is ready. Optionally, sprinkle a bit of left over Pumpkin Spice Mix powder or just plain cinnamon/nutmeg powder on top as garnishing. Enjoy!



Footnotes:

1. To watch the original James Hoffmann PSL recipe video click here.


2. Why we didn’t spend too much time looking for Cassia Bark? From The Spruce Eats:

a) Cassia is usually a better choice for savory dishes, rather than sweets, while cinnamon is best for sweet baked goods. Dried cassia buds resembling cloves are used in the East for pickles, curries, candies, and spicy meat dishes. b) Another reason why it's important to distinguish between Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon is the presence of coumarin, a toxin that could damage your liver if eaten regularly. Coumarin is also a potential carcinogen, and Cassia cinnamon has very high levels of it. Ceylon has none or very little coumarin. To avoid this toxin, go with Ceylon cinnamon.


3. Use following modified recipe for making 25g of Spice Mix if you can't get hold of Allspice:

  • Cinnamon Bark : 15.42g

  • Ginger Powder: 4.5g

  • Nutmeg: 3.92g

  • Whole Cloves: 1.17g






4. Choice of pumpkins in India

The preferred choice for making pumpkin pies and other sweets such as Halwa is the Disco Pumpkin. The other option is the Red Pumpkin (Lal Bhopla). We tried this recipe with both and could not taste any differences in final beverage. So we recommend going with either. Try and avoid the slightly raw pumpkin which is commonly used for making Kaddu-Sabzi in Indian households. It's usually light yellowish green in colour from the inside. This version tends to leave a slightly stronger vegetal taste, even in the cooked Pumpkin Spice Mix.


Red Pumpkin (Lal Bhopla)
Disco Pumpkin


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