This time of year, everyone’s favorite flavored caffeinated beverage is now available, and it is back on a high note. High prices, that is. That’s right. Inflation has even hit the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
In the month that the famed Pumpkin Spice Latte has been out at Starbucks, coffee drinkers everywhere are noticing the increase in price. This year’s prices? $5.45 to $5.95, according to CNN, and depending on the location of the Starbucks. That’s an almost 4% jump from last year.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only part of ordering the delicious drink that is affected. Using a food delivery app like Uber Eats will cost you 8% more for the tall size and 25% more if you order the grande. This price hike is due to Uber Eats fees and, unfortunately, does not include delivery charges.
Despite these increases, the drink remains as popular as ever. A study by Bid on Equipment this year showed that 67% of Americans love Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and 47% say that Starbucks makes the best one compared to Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, or their local coffee shop version.
The study also states that, on average, 27% of drinkers will purchase one Pumpkin Spice Latte per week, and 38% will purchase at least one per month.
The drink’s popularity, combined with the higher prices, begs the question: Is there an easier way to get this favorite fall drink without breaking the bank?
Inflation is hitting all of us hard, and paying extra for seasonal favorites shouldn’t have to be a concern.
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Lattes
To address this question, the food experts at Food Fire Friends have experimented with home recipes for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. According to their calculations, creating the drink at home, using ingredients from Target, will result in a drink that’s over 50% cheaper than Starbucks.
The final cost using their formula? $2.37, or $2.46 if using a plant-based milk alternative.
Of course, the trade-off is that you’ll use your time and energy to make the drink yourself. If you feel the savings are worth the effort, here is the recipe!
Pumpkin Spice Latte Home Recipe
The classic pumpkin spice latte recipe at Starbucks includes a Pumpkin Spice Sauce, made up of pumpkin puree, sugar, milk, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Below is the version created by Food Fire Friends. The ingredient list includes individual costs so you can see how the final price is calculated. The brand used is also listed so that it’s easy to duplicate!
- Whole Milk/Plant-based alternative (Horizon Organic Whole Milk/Oatly The Original Oatmilk) – price per 1 cup $0.62/$0.71
- Pure Pumpkin Puree (Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin)– price per 1 tbsp $0.09
- Granulated Sugar (Good and Gather Granulated Sugar) – price per 1 tbsp $0.02
- Vanilla Extract (McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract)– price per ½ tbsp $1.03
- Coffee (Folgers Classic Medium Roast Coffee)– price per 30mls (one ounce) $0.55
- Pumpkin Pie Spice blend (Good and Gather Pumpkin Pie Spice blend)– price per ¼ tsp $0.06
The pumpkin spice blend used here contains the mix of spices classically used in pumpkin spice lattes. Instead of purchasing a spice blend, you can add the individual ingredients if you already have them.
Another potential swap is the coffee. Premium coffee brands may increase the price per cup you make. In addition, the classic recipe calls for a shot of espresso. You may make that at home instead to stay more in line with the original.
If you’re a purist and prefer to make your own pumpkin puree, then that recipe is here:
For pumpkin puree from scratch:
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Cut pumpkin in half & scoop out the seeds – you can keep these to roast or discard.
- Brush pumpkin flesh with vegetable oil (optional) and place cut side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pierce the skin with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking. Place into the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes or until a fork can pierce the skin easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Scoop out the flesh and place it into a food processor. Puree the pumpkin until smooth – you can add a few drops of water as needed to ensure a smooth mixture.
Given that these ingredients are all from Target, it’s reassuring to know that anyone can have access to and purchase what they need to try the recipe for themselves. In addition, knowing where to get the ingredients can help you easily plan your spending budget ahead of time.
To make the latte, follow these steps:
Creating Your Homemade PSL (for one serving)
- Add milk, pumpkin puree, and sugar to a saucepan on medium heat. Do not boil, as the milk can curdle.
- Once the mixture has heated, add the spices, vanilla extract, and freshly brewed 30mls of coffee.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy!
Beat Inflation, Brew At Home
As the seasons change, so do our habits. For many coffee lovers, this includes adding pumpkin spice lattes to our routines. However, enjoying your favorite drink does not have to cause added grief during these trying financial times. Spending a little more time and effort at home can help you stay frugal, save money, and still bring you the cozy fall flavors you enjoy.