Pumpkin Spice Coffee (Is It Overrated?)

Pumpkin spice coffee is a seasonal coffee that is commonly drunk when the fall season comes around. It’s a delicious warm treat that is readily available in any coffee shop and market.

When the seasons are changing, there are a lot of specialty drinks that are introduced on every occasion. But this is especially evident when it comes to coffee. Already, there are plenty of flavors and types of coffees that are readily available all year round for you to enjoy, but pumpkin spice coffee is a fall to winter special.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything about pumpkin spice coffee, how to make it yourself, and also figure out that whether it’s really overrated or not.

Let’s dive in.

What Is A Pumpkin Spice Coffee?

pumpkin spice coffee with a pumkin behind it

Pumpkin spice coffee is a coffee that is made with spices that are associated with pumpkin pie and are traditional autumn-related spices. It also has espresso, sugar, steamed milk, and pumpkin pie spices.  

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages all around the world. Every place has its own way of making it. It varies from person to person and place to place.

Some enjoy a lighter brew while others enjoy a bold cuppa. So, the best part about coffee is that it can be customized in any way. This customization has given birth to pumpkin spice coffee.

Unlike turmeric coffee, which if you don’t know you can read about it here, it is not as simple as stirring in a teaspoon of these spices and that would make it a pumpkin spice coffee. I will provide the details of making this coffee further down the article, keep reading.

Starbucks first introduced this coffee in 2003 after their successful winter coffee called the Eggnog Latte and Peppermint Mocha.

A pumpkin spice coffee has espresso, steamed milk, pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and whipped cream. Coffee shops like Starbucks, Cinnabon, and Dunkin Donuts offer this beverage all Fall & Winter.

Is Pumpkin Spice Coffee Overrated?

Generally, people enjoy having pumpkin spice coffee. But if you don’t enjoy a spicy kick in your coffee you might not enjoy this coffee as much as others.

Some people hate it and some love it. But whatever they might feel, you can’t ignore it. Pumpkin Spice Coffee is readily available everywhere during the fall season. This seasonal specialty is offered in an iced coffee and hot coffee version. Each has its own fan base.

A coffee expert at Buzzfeed tried both versions of this coffee and had some strong opinions about it. His name is Wes Johansen. According to him, the iced version tastes a lot more like coffee than the hot version.

He thinks that the hot pumpkin spice coffee tastes quite spicy with nutmeg notes that have a vibrant orange color, and less coffee flavor. Whereas, the iced pumpkin spice tasted more like coffee and with the espresso flavor shining throughout the drink.

With that being said, everybody has their own preferences. With coffees like dirty chai latte and turmeric coffee making headlines in the coffee aficionados list, you should at least try once what’s the whole deal about pumpkin spice coffee.

You can watch Buzzfeed’s video here.

a true taste test

What Does Pumpkin Spice Coffee Taste Like?

The pumpkin spice coffee tastes warm with spicy notes from cinnamon and nutmeg. This flavor is accompanied by tons of sweetness from the whipped cream and syrups added and the coffee flavor hovering as you sip.

Many coffee connoisseurs don’t enjoy pumpkin spice coffee. Why? Because ironically, it doesn’t taste anything like pumpkin.

The name pumpkin spice is referred to the spices that are added to the most famous sweet dessert which is made by pumpkins, and that is pumpkin pie. This autumn treat is commonly made in houses starting from the month of October. This pie contains spices that are Fall oriented.

This mix of spices are:

  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Allspice

This spice mix is called pumpkin spice. But keep in mind, every coffee chain has its own version of these spices, but the above listed are the traditional warm spices that pair well in a pumpkin pie.

So, when making a pumpkin spice coffee, this spice mix is added. Either in a form of syrup or powder. This coffee tastes warm and comforting with intense notes of nutmeg and sugary sweetness. The cinnamon shines through while the whole milk makes it creamier and silky.

Furthermore, every coffee place gives the option for customizing this drink too. So, you might experience a different flavor profile but not completely changed. The baseline tastes like this.

But with the addition of this, you can get other flavored syrups or espresso shots added or get almond milk instead of whole milk, therefore, a little tweaked taste of pumpkin spice coffee would be apparent.  

Is Pumpkin Spice Coffee Bad For You?

Pumpkin spice coffee is a high-calorie and sugary drink which cannot be consumed on an everyday basis. It is a once in a while drink that you should overindulge yourself in so that your health remains stable.

The introduction of pumpkin spice coffee was done as a fall and winter treat. This drink tastes like a warm hug. The spice factor of the coffee is fine for the health. Even coffee and caffeine are fine for the body.

In fact, coffee, if taken in moderation, is one of the healthiest drinks that is readily available. Especially in the western diet, it is a powerful source of antioxidants.

Besides giving you an immediate boost of energy, caffeine also elevates your mood. Additionally, moderate consumption of coffee helps to build your immune system so that you’re less susceptible to diseases like Dementia, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular issues.

Drinking coffee regularly also reduces your risk of liver cancer.  

a cup of pumpkin spice latte kept near a halloween decor with cinnamon stick and spilled coffee beans

But all this is only effective if you drink coffee in moderation and don’t overdose on it. The U.S Food and Drug Administration has given guidelines to only drink three to four 8 oz cups of coffee which is 400 mg of caffeine, in a day.

But when it comes to pumpkin spice coffee, the reason for not recommending to drink it often is different. This fall season’s treat is jampacked with sugar and empty calories.

This sugar comes from whipped cream, flavored syrups, and sauces that are added to a standard cup of Pumpkin Spice Coffee. A 16 oz cup contains more than 400 calories with around 50 grams of sugar. SHOCKING? I know…

The American Heart Association suggests only 36 grams of sugar for men and 25 grams for women. And typically, pumpkin spice coffee contains so much more. Plus, these are empty calories.

This means that the drink has little to no nutritional value.

With minimal espresso and more sauces and flavoring, it’s a sugar bomb that will increase your blood sugar levels drastically. Also, these empty calories and sugary drinks will make you hungry because this lacks nutrition and would make you want more sugar.

So, in conclusion, drinking pumpkin spice coffee regularly is a bad idea, but occasionally is fine.

Here I’ve prepared a table of pumpkin spice latte’s content nutrition-wise for a standard cup which is a Grande serving size with 2 percent milk and whipped cream.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee ContentAmount
Fats14 grams
Saturated Fats8 grams
Sugar 50 grams
Sodium 240 mg
Carbohydrates52 grams

How To Make Pumpkin Spice Coffee?

At coffee shops, it is made by adding pumpkin spice syrup in a mug. Then espresso shot, and steamed milk which is topped with whipped cream. You can also make this at home in a few easy steps.

A pumpkin spice coffee has many components which remain the same. But it can contain some other ingredients as per request. So, here is how standard pumpkin spice coffee is made.

Coffee-Shop Version At Home

For The Pumpkin Syrup

  • Water 1 ½ cup
  • Sugar 1 ½ cup
  • Pumpkin Puree 4 tbsp
  • Cinnamon Sticks 6
  • Ground Cloves 1 tsp
  • Ground Ginger 1 tsp
  • Ground Nutmeg 2 tsp

For The Pumpkin Spice Coffee

  • Dark roast Espresso 1 oz
  • Whole Milk 1 cup
  • Pumpkin Spice Syrup 3 tbsp
  • Whipped Cream ½ cup
  • Pinch of Pumpkin Spice mix (garnish)

First, you need to prepare the Pumpkin Spice syrup.


  • Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and let it simmer.
  • Once the sugar is completely dissolved, add in all the spices and let it simmer for 20 mins.
  • Then remove it from the stove and let it cool.
  • Till the time this is cooling, brew your espresso in whatever way you like. Just use dark roast coffee and brew 1 oz shot.
  • Also, froth the milk.

Once this all is done, you can assemble your Pumpkin Spice Coffee.


  • In a mug add the pumpkin spice syrup and pour in the espresso. Stir it well.
  • Then add in the hot frothed milk and top it off with whipped cream.
  • You can garnish with a pinch of pumpkin spice mix.
a cup of pumpkin spice latte

If you feel like making it at home and controlling the ingredients you can make this using the pour-over method.

At Home Simple Version

All you need is;

  • Ground Coffee ¼ cup
  • Hot Water 4 cups
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Ground Allspice 1 tsp
  • Ground Cinnamon ½ tsp
  • Half-and-half 2 tsp


  • In a bowl mix the coffee, cinnamon and allspice.
  • Then place it over a filter for the drip.
  • Now slowly pour the hot water depending on what kind of brew yu like.
  • After it’s done, add the half-and half and the sugar.
  • Stir well, and enjoy!

The Takeaways

Coffee has become increasingly popular over the decades. This is enjoyed for many reasons. But the introduction of pumpkin spice coffee is a celebratory treat for fall.

Many people love it and many hate it. It all depends upon your palate. But people get hooked on it easily.

But as the name suggests, it tastes nothing like coffee or like pumpkin. It’s a sugary treat with a spicy kick. This is a high-calorie drink which is not good for you.

Though coffee itself can be very healthy, this drink cannot be enjoyed every day. This sugar bomb can have a toll on your health without you even noticing. If you do want to give a low-calorie version a try you can make it at home or try and tweak the order. But just watch out for those calories and excess sugar!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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