A Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte


 Image source:  Boost Media

Image source: Boost Media


Whether it’s game day or a work day, a good number of us have a tough time starting the day without a daily dose of caffeine. At this time of year, for many of us, that cup o’ joe could very well be a PSL. But did you know you can make your own pumpkin-spiced coffee at home WAY more healthfully than buying one at Starbucks?

We don’t know about you, but when someone asks us what our favorite season is we immediately reply football season. (Of course). Tailgates, fall weather, the warmth of friends and family—and the mouth-watering game day #hungryfanfood cannot be beat. With the autumn comes the annual pumpkin spiced everything craze. And yeah, we’re suckers for it too over here at Hungry Fan®. A nice, hot pumpkin spice latte to keep warm on game day sounds good to us. And there was a time we bought them regularly at Starbucks.

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But then we realized that there’s 50 grams of sugar in our grande PSL.

Oh. Holy. Hell.

Or rather, aaaah heeeellllll naw. While game day might very well be cheat day for many of us, we would SO much rather spend our extra calories on some juicy bacon on our cheeseburger or an extra hot dog. Using it up on 50 grams of sugar in our morning joe seemed like such a waste—even on cheat day.

Here’s the ingredients in a PSL, as listed on Starbucks’ website:

Milk, Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso, Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Mono And Diglycerides, Carageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Pumpkin Spice Topping [Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfiting Agents].


And here’s how reading food labels works:

The listing order is key. The first 5 ingredients make up the majority of the food/drink. And they’re in order of weight. That means that the first ingredient listed has the heaviest concentration in the item, followed by the second, then the third and so on. So in the case of PSLs, milk is the heaviest (and most abundant ingredient), followed by the “Pumpkin Spice Sauce.” And when they list something vague like Pumpkin Spice Sauce, they are required to then list the ingredients in that too. That list works exactly the same way as the overall ingredients list. So in this case, sugar makes up most of the pumpkin spice sauce. That’s right…sugar. This sugar, plus the sugar that already exists in milk, is how you get to 50 grams of sugar in one grande PSL serving (with 2% milk). Change it to nonfat milk (because you’re going skinny) and that number goes up to 51 grams. Same goes for soy milk. If you want to shave off as many sugar grams as possible in your PSL, you go with Starbucks’ almond milk, but then again, you’re still getting 40 grams of sugar in one drink.

The daily recommended dose of sugar?* 25 grams.

And that’s assuming you are an adult with a normal body mass index. And just so you know, 25 grams of sugar is the equivalent of eating 6 teaspoons of straight sugar. 🤢

* This recommendation comes from the World Health Organization.



So How Do We Get our PSL Fix? We retooled the PSL from scratch. And it’s pretty great.

We went back to the drawing board for the PS in our PSL. And then we found our way to the amazing folks at Allegro, the company that makes the coffee, tea and spices for Whole Foods. And with their help, we started to manufacture our own line of pumpkin spice blend for making PSLs, pumpkin spice coffee, and basically everything pumpkin spice we could think to make from waffles to cookies to pancakes to our latest, margaritas.

 Oh yes we did. We made a pumpkin spice marg—and we even rimmed the glass with our  pumpkin spice blend .

Oh yes we did. We made a pumpkin spice marg—and we even rimmed the glass with our pumpkin spice blend.


Did we mention in an effort to make our pumpkin spice even better, we also made it organic?

The most important thing we did with our pumpkin spice was to take out all the needless sugar. Yes, there is still a hint of sweetness, but that actually comes from fruit and the tiniest hint of molasses. Still, one serving, which is enough to brew pumpkin spice coffee for one person (we like to mix it into our coffee grounds and then brew), has less than 1 gram of sugar.

For complete transparency, here are the nutrition facts right off our label:

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Ok. So. If you like PSLs and pumpkin spice as much as we do—and if you’re into healthy eating and filling your body with good things—or if you’re just trying to cut down on your sugar intake, we ask you consider buying a pouch of our organic pumpkin spice blend. It’s seasonal so we only offer it for a short time. It’s available in our shop and also on Amazon, with prime shipping available. All for a limited time. And just as a heads up: the pouch may seem small but a little pumpkin spice goes a long way!

Happy and healthy game day, everyone!