It's pumpkin spice season, and that means we're ready to enjoy Starbucks' latest fall drink: the pumpkin cream cold brew. This drink isn't as sweet as the pumpkin spice latte, but still has lots of caffeinated goodness and a hint of fall spices and pumpkin. You'll save a lot of money making this at home, too!
You might be wondering: what ingredients are in a pumpkin cream cold brew? Starbucks lists their ingredients as ice, brewed coffee, pumpkin cream cold foam, milk, pumpkin spice sauce, vanilla syrup, and pumpkin spice. In this recipe, I'm not using any artificial syrups, and of course there's no preservatives or thickening agents.
- Cold Brew: this is made from cold brew coffee with a little sugar and vanilla extract added for extra flavor.
- Pumpkin Cream Foam: this is a whipped medley of cream, milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of pumpkin spice.
If you're looking for substitutions or diet-friendly alternatives (keto, vegan, etc.), scroll to the bottom of the post.
What is pumpkin cream cold brew?
This Starbucks coffee drink is a medley of sweetened cold brew coffee and pumpkin-infused frothed milk. Pumpkin cream cold brew is meant to be a less sweet alternative to the pumpkin spice latte. It was originally released as part of Starbucks' fall drink lineup in August 2019, and has been released again in August 2020.
What does this drink taste like?
This coffee drink is only a little bit sweet, and has a slight bitterness from the cold brew. Unfortunately, the pumpkin flavor is quite subtle, since the pumpkin flavor is only in the foam. I could only use ½ teaspoon of pumpkin puree in the foam, as too much will prevent the foam from thickening.
Is it healthier than pumpkin spice latte?
Yes, this pumpkin cream cold brew is definitely healthier than the PSL. A 12-ounce (tall) latte is 300 calories, while a 12-ounce pumpkin cream cold brew is 140 calories. However, both of these drinks should be reserved as a special treat, since they contain lots of fat and sugar. Check out the full nutrition facts for this copycat recipe at the bottom of the recipe card.
What's the calories?
According to the Starbucks nutrition facts, a tall drink (12 fl oz) is 140 calories. My recipe makes a 12-ounce drink that contains 164 calories. You can lower the calories significantly by using a non-dairy milk or half-and-half instead of the cream/whole milk combo that I use. Read the nutrition facts at the bottom of the recipe card for the full scoop.
Is it vegan?
By default, this drink isn't vegan, but it can easily be adapted. Simply swap out the milk and cream with a non-dairy barista milk blend (affiliate) or your favorite milk alternative. Keep in mind that the specialty barista blends and certain milks (like cashew) will froth better than others.
Milk Frother Options
Most of us don't have a specialty milk frother at home, and that's okay. I actually didn't own one when I made this recipe, and the foam still turned out fine. If you'd like to purchase a milk frother, this one (affiliate) is low cost ($10) and gets great reviews. If you already have a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer, you can use that instead of a milk frother. There's always the old fashioned elbow grease with just a basic whisk (affiliate) if that's all you have!
What if my milk isn't frothing?
- Make sure you're using milk straight from the fridge, as cold milk will always froth the best.
- Are you using the best type of milk? Oat milk and cashew milk are the best non-dairy options for frothing, while skim milk (or a blend of whole milk and cream) are the best dairy options.
- Don't add too many other ingredients. Keep the sweetener, vanilla, and pumpkin to a minimum in the foam, or it won't be able to aerate properly.
How to Make
Making the Cold Brew. You'll need 6 ounces (170g) of medium roast coffee beans and 6 cups (1.42 liters) of cold water.
Coarsely grind the coffee beans. They should be a little coarser than a French press grind; the beans should be chopped up into a few large chunks. Check out this coffee grind chart for a photo comparison.
Pour the grounds into a cold brew coffee maker, or divide them evenly between two large mason jars.
Pour the cold water on top of the grounds.
Stir the mixture well until all the grounds are saturated with water. Cover and let it steep in the fridge for 12-24 hours. (Starbucks brews theirs for 20 hours, which is what I do.)
Once the coffee has brewed, dump the contents into a paper towel-lined sieve and let the coffee drain through. Be careful not to press the grounds, as that will release bitterness into the cold brew. Once all the coffee has strained out of the grounds, you can cover and refrigerate it for up to a week.
Now that your cold brew is ready, let's add some extra flavor to it. You'll need ¾ teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar (or more if you like it sweet). Grab some ice if you want it extra chilled.
Start by pouring the coffee into a 13-ounce glass.
Add the vanilla and sugar.
Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then taste and add more if desired. I kept it a little bitter for the recipe, as that tastes more like Starbucks.
Now, you're ready to make the pumpkin cream (the foamy topping). You'll need 2 tablespoons each of heavy cream and whole milk, ½ teaspoon of pumpkin puree, ¼ teaspoon of sugar, ⅛ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of pumpkin spice. If you want a darker orange foam, add 2 pinches of ground turmeric.
Froth the mixture with a milk frother or a hand-held electric mixer on high speed. It took about 2 minutes for the mixture to thicken using a mixer. The foam should be pourable, but hold its shape and have a texture similar to a very slack whipped cream.
Pour the cream over the back of a spoon so it floats on top of the coffee. Be sure the surface of the coffee is still when you pour on the cream, or it won't float. This can take some practice, so don't be upset if your first try doesn't work. The drink will still taste great!
Garnish the drink with another sprinkle of pumpkin spice, and enjoy right away!
- No Cold Brew: use iced coffee instead of the cold brew.
- Lowfat: use chilled skim milk for the pumpkin foam. This is what Starbucks does, and you'll actually get the best foam with this.
- Keto: use all cream instead of a blend of milk and cream for the foam.
- Vegan: use a non-dairy barista blend (affiliate) or homemade cashew milk.
- Alternative Sweeteners: feel free to use maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, monkfruit, or your preferred sweetener in place of the sugar in this recipe.
- Decaf: use decaf coffee to make your own cold brew.
- Use cold milk for the pumpkin foam, as it will froth a lot better.
- Want an orange-colored pumpkin foam? Add a couple pinches of turmeric to the foam; this shouldn't affect the foaming.
- Making this dairy free? Use oat milk, cashew milk, or a specialty barista blend instead.
Other Copycat Starbucks Drinks You'll Enjoy
Other Coffee Recipes to Try
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Learn how to make this delicious Starbucks coffee drink at home! In minutes, you’ll be enjoying this DIY pumpkin spice coffee with the tempting foam on top. This pumpkin cream cold brew is also keto and vegan friendly!
For the Cold Brew
- 1 ½ cups cold brew concentrate (360 ml)
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Ice cubes, if desired
For the Pumpkin Cream
- Cold Brew. Pour the cold brew, sugar, and vanilla into a 13-ounce glass and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add more sugar to taste, if desired.
- Pumpkin Cream. Pour all of the foam ingredients into a mixing bowl and froth them with a milk frother or a hand-held electric mixer on high speed. If you're using a mixer, it will take about 2 minutes for the mixture to thicken to a whipped cream-like consistency.
- Assembly. Pour the pumpkin cream over the back of a spoon so it floats on top of the coffee. It may take a couple of tries to perfect this technique, so don't be discouraged if it doesn't work perfectly the first time. Garnish the drink with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice and enjoy immediately.
- Homemade Cold Brew: coarsely grind 6 ounces (170g) of medium-roast coffee beans (I used Starbucks' Pikes Place). Add 6 cups (1.42 liters) cold water and stir until blended. Seal in a mason jar or cold brew coffee maker and let it brew in the fridge for 20 hours. Strain out the grounds in a paper towel-lined sieve and refrigerate the strained coffee for up to 7 days.
- Make sure the milk and cream are thoroughly chilled when you whip them, or they won't thicken as much.
- Try not to add extra pumpkin, sugar, or vanilla to the pumpkin cream. The more add-ins it has, the less thick it will be.
- Category: Beverages
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: starbucks, nutrition, recipe