Hands up if you love coffee? We see you and we feel you. While us Brits are meant to be a nation of tea drinkers, research and facts beg to differ, with a recent study revealing that coffee has overtaken tea as Britain’s favourite drink.
But what’s so special about coffee? As one Guardian columnist posits; “could it be that coffee is innately more versatile? Iced coffee, lattes, flat whites, espresso martinis – coffee can fit all manner of occasions”. Seasons, too, for that matter.
Indeed, as one season ends and another begins, the coffee we drink changes in tandem. Summer, of course, calls for refreshing espresso tonics, pleasingly bitter cold brews and creamy cold dalgona coffees. And now, as the weather looks set to cool, it’s a warming cup of Joe we need, preferably something pumpkin spiced or similarly cliched. With this in mind, here’s our round up of the best coffees for autumn.
Classic Pumpkin Spice Latte
Ideal for quintessential autumn indulgence…
What’s more emblematic of autumn than the changing leaves? No, not the glut of apples or the nights drawing in. Rather, it’s the unveiling of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, of course.
Is it really autumn if you haven’t had a Pumpkin Spiced Latte? Topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream (which is wonderful) this drink is like sipping on autumn itself. Whether you’re taking a stroll through the fallen leaves or curled up with a good book, the PSL is the perfect companion, unless you’re one of those sensible people who thinks pumpkin spice lattes and their ilk are gross sugar bombs.
According to reports, the seasonally appropriate favourite is about to make its return to a Starbucks near you, with this year marking its 20th birthday. Yep, it was first created in 2003; how time flies!
In celebration of its 20 year reign as the mother of all autumnal coffee drinks, here’s a little history lesson. The PSL was first created when Peter Dukes, who is now director of espresso Americas for Starbucks, poured some espresso on pumpkin pie and then tasted it. This then led to numerous taste tests and eventually the creation of pumpkin spice latte syrup that mimics the richness of pumpkin pie. It went on to sell millions.
Ideal tip: Oat milk enhances the creaminess of a dairy-free alternative. This customisation has long been a favourite among vegans and those avoiding dairy.
Maple Pecan Latte
Ideal for embracing autumn’s natural sweetness…
Another invention from the corporate multinational chain that is Starbucks, if you’re looking for a drink that embodies the natural sweetness of autumn, the Maple Pecan Latte is for you.
Imagine a creamy latte infused with maple syrup’s rich, deep flavours, combined with the nutty undertones of roasted pecans, and there you have it.
This espresso-based drink strikes a harmonious balance between the boldness of coffee and the delicate flavours of the season. Topped with a maple-glazed pecan crumble, it’s an irresistible treat that paints a picture of amber-hued forests and the gentle rustle of leaves underfoot.
This one we think tastes all the sweeter if you make it at home and don’t give all your money to Starbucks. Here is a copycat recipe for Starbucks Maple Pecan Latte:
- 1 shot of espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup milk (any variety you prefer)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon butter extract
- 2 tablespoons pecan syrup (can be homemade or store-bought)
- Whipped cream and crushed pecans for topping (optional)
- Start by brewing a strong coffee or making an espresso shot. If you have an espresso machine at home, pull one shot of espresso. If not, brew a half cup of strong coffee.
- In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat once it’s hot.
- Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, butter extract, and pecan syrup to the warmed milk. Stir well to combine.
- Froth the milk mixture until it’s foamy. You can use a frother or simply whisk it vigorously.
- Pour your brewed espresso or coffee into a large mug.
- Slowly pour the frothy milk mixture over the coffee.
- Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed pecans if desired.
- Serve hot and enjoy your homemade Starbucks-inspired Maple Pecan Latte!
Ideal Tip: Add a shot of smoky bourbon to give this drink an adult kick.
Apple Cider Espresso
Ideal for a fusion of warmth and richness…
When the crisp tang of apple cider meets the profound depth of espresso, magic happens. The Apple Cider Espresso is a delightful blend of autumn’s favorite fruit beverage and the intensity of coffee, and it’s a seasonal coffee creation you should definitely try as it cools (the coffee and the weather).
Garnished with a cinnamon stick and a drizzle of caramel, it’s like a warm embrace on a chilly day. Whether sitting by the fireplace or watching the rain fall, this drink offers comfort and invigoration.
Another exciting way to enjoy this drink is by garnishing it with thin apple slices. Not only do they add aesthetic appeal, but they also infuse a refreshing crispness with every sip.
Ideal for chocolate and espresso harmony…
For those who cherish the timeless pairing of chocolate and coffee, the Spiced Mocha is an autumnal dream. Rich cocoa melds seamlessly with espresso, and adding seasonal spices like cardamom and cloves gives it an unexpected twist.
A dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cocoa, and a cinnamon stick? It’s not just a drink; it’s an experience that reminds you of wrapped scarves and woolen mittens.
You might consider adding a dash of chili powder for an extra layer of indulgence. The gentle heat complements the mocha’s richness and warms you up from the inside out.
Ideal for embracing nutty elegance…
As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, the Hazelnut Macchiato emerges as the epitome of sophistication. Velvety milk, robust espresso, and the buttery richness of hazelnut come together in layers of taste perfection. Drizzled with hazelnut syrup and topped with crushed nuts, every sip is a gentle reminder of the serene beauty of autumn.
Cinnamon Maple Latte
Ideal for a symphony of sweetness and spice…
When the comforting sweetness of maple syrup dances with the warm kick of cinnamon, you get the Cinnamon Maple Latte. It’s an espresso drink that’s both soothing and vibrant, reminiscent of sunlit forests and the crunch of fallen leaves. Topped with a light dusting of cinnamon, it’s the kind of beverage that makes you wish autumn could last forever.
Chestnut Praline Mocha
Ideal for embracing the season’s bounty…
Nothing captures the autumnal season quite like a chestnut. Now, imagine the rich flavours of roasted chestnuts infused with the indulgent taste of chocolate and coffee. The Chestnut Praline Mocha brings this fantasy to life. Finished with a drizzle of praline syrup and a sprinkle of crushed chestnuts, it’s like autumn in a cup, capturing the season’s spirit of abundance and gratitude.
Autumn Spice Affogato
Ideal for a gourmet fusion of heat and chill…
Defying expectations, the Autumn Spice Affogato combines the warmth of spiced espresso with the cold thrill of creamy vanilla ice cream. It’s a delicate balance, a fusion that teases the senses. With each spoonful, you journey from the chilly nip of early autumn mornings to the snug warmth of evening fires.
Harvest Hazelnut Cappuccino
Ideal for toasting abundant flavours…
When autumn’s harvest is in full swing, the Harvest Hazelnut Cappuccino comes to celebrate. Inspired by the season’s bounty, this espresso drink mingles with steamed milk and the rich undertones of hazelnut, creating a frothy delight. A sprinkle of nutmeg or cocoa on the top is the finishing touch, making each sip a toast to the flavours and abundance only autumn can bring.
Ideal for tasting the festive season in the distance…
Last but certainly not least, the Gingerbread Latte heralds the approaching (yep, we realise it’s still some way off) festive season. The heartwarming spices of gingerbread – ginger, nutmeg, and molasses – are perfectly complemented by the smooth strength of espresso. Topped with a gingerbread cookie or a sprinkle of spice, this latte is both a treat and a reminder of the joyful moments that that magic period when autumn turns winter brings.
The Bottom Line
Ah, the enchantment of autumn—a season of change, golden leaves, and cosy moments. And what better way to revel in its beauty than with these ten alluring espresso drinks? Each beverage, from the quintessential Pumpkin Spice Latte to the festive Gingerbread Latte, captures a unique facet of autumn. They are more than just drinks; they’re sensory experiences, transporting you to serene orchards, crackling bonfires, and the rustling dance of fallen leaves.
Ultimately, it’s not just about the taste – it’s about embracing the magic of autumnal flavours. It’s a call to celebrate, reflect, and find joy in the little things. So, put on your cosiest sweater, ready that espresso machine, and dive deep into the wonders of autumnal coffee concoctions. Cheers to the magic of fall! 🍂☕