This Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Coffee is a close copy cat of the Starbucks iced coffee recipe, and it's so perfect for fall. Bonus: it's got real pumpkin in it!
How to make cold brew coffee
Cold brew is a great low-acid way to drink your coffee. Traditional hot coffee is bitter and tough on your teeth and stomach. Because cold brew is never heated, it is 67% less acidic.
Iced coffee is made hot then allowed to cool in the refrigerator or over ice. Cold brew is coffee steeped in room temperature ir cold water for a long period of time to create a concentrate, which you can then mix with other liquids.
This method takes a lot longer and requires some advanced planning, but is still low effort, since it’s mostly just allowing it to sit. To make cold brew:
- Use coarsely ground coffee
- Mix water and coffee grounds in a pitcher
- Let the mixture steep in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours
- Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve placed over another pitcher. Do this slowly so nothing spills and the grounds are filtered out.
- This is your coffee concentrate that can now be combined with water, milk or other flavors!
Homemade pumpkin spice blend
This standard pumpkin spice mix contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves or allspice.
Simply mix those spices together and store in your spice drawer! This is the flavor that will satisfy all your fall cravings. Not only can you use it to flavor beverages like this one, you can use anywhere else you want a bit of pumpkin flavor.
I'll sometimes use a smaller mason jar to store the pumpkin spice mix.
Making the vanilla syrup
Any vanilla syrup you buy at the store is going to be packed with sugars and artificial ingredients. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own. Plus it lasts in the fridge for about two months. If you are a regular coffee drinker, you’ll need a stash of this at all times!
Dissolve sugar in boiling water and add the vanilla. Allow it to cool before using it. All you need is a 1:1 ratio so I usually just add 1 cup of sugar per 1 cup of boiling water then add 1 tbsp of vanilla extract. Super easy!
Making the pumpkin cream
The pumpkin cream is what really gives your drink the distinctive pumpkin flavor. Using real pumpkin puree and not just a pumpkin flavored sugar is the secret ingredient.
The milk and whipping cream will produce a rich creamy texture and flavor. If push comes to shove, you can make this drink with milk only so you'll save on calories and extra ingredients with the cream. However, if you are looking to get that traditional pumpkin “cream” taste, you will have to use heavy cream in addition to the milk.
You can use an immersion blender or frother to make this even more like your favorite coffee shop drink. Even if you just use milk and skip the cream you can achieve some frothiness.
Making pumpkin cream cold brew step-by-step
You make this drink in parts and combine them all just before drinking it.
- Make the cold brew coffee. This takes at least 12 hours.
- Make the pumpkin spice. While it only takes a few minutes to mix the ingredients, you can keep it for three months.
- Make the vanilla syrup. Again, it takes a few minutes to make and lasts for months.
- Make the make the pumpkin cream. You can froth it if you like, but that is also something that should be done just before you drink it.
- Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!
Storing components of the drink for later
Since you have to make each of the ingredients separately for this drink, it’s great to know that you can store them for later. You can make multiple batches of this drink or use the ingredients for other favorite drinks.
The cold brew coffee can stay in the refrigerator for a week. Unlike regular coffee that starts to lose its flavor almost instantly, cold brew will still taste great for days.
- The pumpkin spice lasts for three months at room temperature.
- The pumpkin cream will last for 2-3 days if you haven’t frothed it.
- The vanilla syrup lasts for two months in the refrigerator.
Once you have put everything together, enjoy the drink immediately.
How to make this drink vegan
With just a few small changes, this drink easily fits into your vegan diet.
I use dairy milk and whipping cream for the pumpkin cream. Those can easily be switched with non-dairy milk. Coconut milk is a great option because it is already thicker and more creamy than dairy milk.
A good substitute for whipping cream is pureed tofu or coconut cream. It will give the drink a thicker texture plus add some protein.
How does this compare to the Starbucks cold brew?
Just like this recipe, the Starbucks pumpkin cold brew is flavored with vanilla syrup and topped with pumpkin cream foam and pumpkin spice. Unlike some of the other pumpkin flavored drinks, this one does have real pumpkin puree in it.
However, there are 230 calories and 31 grams of sugar in the Starbucks version. By making your own cream and syrup, you are saving a lot of those calories. In fact, you can save up to 40 calories with my version, and even more if you skip the whipping cream – approximately 50 more calories can be shaved off if you just use milk.
More festive coffee recipes
Tools for this recipe
- I use 16oz mason jars as cups and storage containers for these cold brew drinks
- Get some cheesecloth to strain the coffee
- I use smaller 4oz jars for storing homemade spice mixes (and just regular spices) such as the pumpkin spice blend
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
- 8 cups filtered water
- 2 cups ground coffee
- 1/2 cup vanilla syrup (see below)
- 1 cup pumpkin cream (see below)
- Pumpkin spice, for garnishing (see below)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
Pumpkin spice mix
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp allspice or cloves
- 1 cup milk (can use skim, 2% or whole)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
Cold brew coffee
- Make the cold brew coffee by mixing water and coffee grinds together in a large pitcher. Let sit overnight in the fridge for at least 12 hours (or up to 48 hours if desired).
- When ready to serve, slowly pour coffee through cheesecloth that is sitting in a fine mesh sieve into another large pitcher. Make sure you pour slowly and with precision to ensure there are no coffee grounds in the cold brew.
- Add one cup boiling water and 1 cup sugar to a mason jar, stirring well. Stir in vanilla, then let cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge up to 2 months.
Pumpkin spice mix
- Mix all ingredients together for spice mix and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Will last for 3 months.
- Mix all ingredients together well in a large mixing cup. If you'd like the frothy texture, use an immersion blender or milk frother to mix up ingredients - if choosing this method, be sure to add to your cold brew ASAP!
Pumpkin cream cold brew drink
- Add a handful of ice to a large glass or mason jar, then mix in 2 tbsp of vanilla syrup. Top with 2 cups of coffee, then add 1/4 cup of pumpkin cream on top. Before mixing, sprinkle with pumpkin spice mix. Serve and enjoy!