Bringing some pumpkin spice to your life

We can’t quite believe that it’s Autumn already. But, although we’re saying goodbye to sunglasses and ice cream for now, we love the lifestyle switch that the shifting seasons bring at this time of year.

The summer season may have passed us by (literally, where did the time go?), but we’re gearing ourselves up for Autumn, and we simply can’t wait. For us, Autumn is synonymous with cosy jumpers, candles, hearty dishes of comfort food, and delicious spices. Cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg are all fabulous contenders, but there’s one Autumn spice craze that’s on everyone’s minds right now. That’s right, in this blog post we’re talking all things pumpkin spice.

In recent years, Autumn has gone from just an extra-cosy season to a whole range of seasonal lifestyle, fashion, food and drink cultural trends. Not only does it make the perfect antidote to the end of summer, but we love the way that it celebrates everything from vibrant natural colours, to cosy nights in.

But what makes Autumn so special? In this blog post, we’ll be rounding up our answers to this question, in the form of some seasonal highlights, our favourite trends, and our recipe for a healthy alternative to the long-awaited pumpkin spice latte.

The Autumn spirit is something that we can all get excited about. You can’t fail to fall a little bit in love with this season. With that in mind, we’ve put together a little list of our six favourite things about Autumn - including the likes of fashion, food, drink, home and nature (there was an awful lot to cover!).

1. Spending a cosy night in
Blankets? Check. Candles? Check. Fireplace? Check. The little things in life are what it’s all about, and at no point in the year is this truer than Autumn. The nights are getting darker and it’s a bit chillier out, which makes the perfect excuses to leave the diary blank, and snuggle up on the sofa ready for a cosy movie night.

2. Watching the leaves change
Come Autumn-time, nature is at its most majestic. All of the bright colours in the trees make for a rather spell-binding addition to a walk. Pair that with a few crisp leaves underfoot and a search for shiny conkers, and you’ve got yourself a picture-perfect Autumn day out.

3. Scarves and jumpers
Call us vain, but there’s something fun about Autumn style. And we’re not alone in thinking that - you’ll find Instagrammers across the world celebrating the colder months with statement boots, chunky jumpers and trendy wool coats. These new outfits, being as stylish as they are comfy, really do tick all the boxes.

4. Halloween
There’s a lot to love about Halloween - not least of all the chance to dress-up, eat buckets of sweets and play spooky games. For us, the entire occasion is completely ageless, which means that the whole family can get stuck in with the fun.

5. Autumnal dishes
Whether it be classic savoury dishes like game, wild mushrooms and roast chestnuts, or sweet treats like s’mores, gingerbread and snickerdoodles, there’s no denying that Autumnal food is a pretty stand-out affair. We love the hearty, warming spices and rich soul food that is typical for the season. Seasonal fruits and veggies include the likes of pumpkins (an absolute staple), kale, leeks apples, plums, figs and pears.

6. The Autumn drinks menu
If you find yourself falling for Fall (see what we did there?), the seasonally-inspired drinks on offer at this time of year will be right up your alley. Cafes’ drinks menus are always full of intriguing treats, and Autumn inspiration always brings a few fun surprises to the line-up. These include gingerbread seasoning, rich black forest hot chocolates and the pumpkin spiced syrup. It is the latter that we will spend a bit more time exploring in the rest of this post.

In terms of consumer spending, this popular spice is actually a pretty big deal - Forbes found that what it termed to be the ‘pumpkin spice industrial complex’ was a market that was worth over $600 million. It was first seen in latte form in Starbucks, where the pumpkin spice latte was born back in 2004. Since then, its popularity has absolutely skyrocketed, and it's easy to see why.

So, if you’re all set to get into the Autumnal spirit, we’ve got the perfect recipe to hand. Our divine pumpkin spice latte recipe has all of the spiced, warming flavour that you’ve been waiting for, with a healthy twist.

Recipe for a Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte
Serves 4

Maple syrup, 125ml
Water, 100ml
Ground cinnamon, 1 tsp
Ground nutmeg, 1 tsp
Ground ginger, 1 tsp
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
Pumpkin puree, 3 tbsp
Espresso, 4 shots
Skimmed milk, 1.5 litres (or, if you want to make a vegan alternative, you can switch this out for oat or almond milk)
Squirty cream (optional)
Ground cinnamon (to serve)

Add the maple syrup, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla and pumpkin to a bowl and combine.
Transfer the ingredients to a pan, and gradually bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, and allow it to come to room temperature (this should take around 10 to 15 minutes), to allow it to thicken a little.
Get your glasses ready, then add a shot of espresso to each glass. Divide the pumpkin mixture into each glass, and stir so that it combines with the coffee.
Heat up some milk (you could either do this in a pan or in the microwave). Then stir the hot milk into each glass.
To decorate, top each glass with cream and a dash of cinnamon.

Whipping up a few mugs of this spiced latte is the perfect way to celebrate the new season. It’s a great way to treat your guests to something a little bit special, or to add a bit of extra fun to your next family movie night.

What we love about this drink is that you can make up the syrup in bulk and keep it in the fridge for a week or two. Then, when you fancy a bit of a treat, you can grab your syrup and follow steps 3 to 5 of the recipe.

The secret to this recipe is the pumpkin puree. If you’re a true pumpkin lover, this secret ingredient is a wonderful way to bring some authentic pumpkin flavour to the recipe. Plus, this recipe allows you to bring this iconic autumnal flavour to your homemade latte, in a way that is far healthier than any of the pre-made syrups that you can buy from the shops. You can buy pumpkin puree from most UK supermarkets, or online through Amazon.

We’ve cut out a lot of the sugar, artificial colours, calories and cost of the chain-street version, without sacrificing any of the flavours. Speaking of flavour, one of the key components of this recipe is strong, good quality espresso coffee. If you wish to achieve this decadent aroma for your pumpkin spice latte, a jar of instant just won’t make the cut.

With our Smarter Coffee, you can brew a batch of superb espresso coffee all through your phone. By using the Smarter app, all you need to do is specify your preferred strength and temperature (yep, we’ll sort all that for you!) and the machine will get to work. You can even sync it up to your home voice activation devices, and you achieve all this just by asking.

If you’d like to get a Smarter Coffee ready for your Autumn brews, have a look at our website, where you can browse through our full product range. Perfect for those extra Autumn evenings in.