Crisp air, falling leaves, and seasonal foods – fall is a fun season to go on adventures or cozy up. You may be wondering ‘are pumpkin spice lattes vegan?’. With the right pumpkin syrup and dairy-free milk, pumpkin spice lattes are vegan and ready for your next fall day!
What Are Pumpkin Spice Lattes?
Abbreviated as a ‘PSL’, these coffee beverages are all the buzz when fall approaches. Almost any café, especially chain coffee shops, have a pumpkin spice latte featured on their seasonal menu. Starbucks, amongst the most popular coffee shop in the world, has credit for bringing this holiday staple into the world.
Pumpkin Spice Latte History
Believe it or not, the PSL’s original name was the Fall Harvest Latte. Created in 2003, Starbucks’ research & development team got the idea for a fall-themed coffee by eating pumpkin pie and sipping espresso. This delightful beverage has been around for over 15 years and continues to grow in popularity – even beyond coffee.
For a long time, Starbucks didn’t disclose their ingredients for their PSL. When the public found out there wasn’t real pumpkin (or any at all!) in their favorite fall go-to, Starbucks changed their recipe to include it.
Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredients
Regardless of where you’re grabbing a latte from, pumpkin spice lattes have the same basic ingredients: espresso, milk, pumpkin sauce, pumpkin spice, and whipped cream. These five core ingredients are how Starbucks makes their PSL’s, which are unfortunately not all vegan.
Espresso is vegan and makes this delicious beverage caffeinated. For less caffeine, you can order the drink with fewer espresso shots or substitute for decaf espresso. Try a pumpkin spice latter with blonde espresso for a smoother and sweeter flavor.
The coffee industry has a history of ethical issues like slavery and environmental degradation. Some coffee shops have fair trade or locally sourced beans, which are more vegan-friendly than mass-produced imported coffee. Head over to a local coffee shop where ethically sourced coffee beans are used.
Most coffee shops have a few plant-based milks to choose from. The soy, coconut, almond, and oat milk at Starbucks are all vegan. Choose your favorite to steam for a warm vegan pumpkin spice latte.
To a pumpkin-loving vegan’s disappointment, the pumpkin sauce at Starbucks isn’t vegan because it contains dairy. The ingredients, listed on their website, are:
- Condensed Skim Milk
- Pumpkin Puree
- Contains 2 Or Less of Fruit and Vegetable Juice (for color)
- Natural Flavors
- Potassium Sorbate
There are a couple non-vegan ingredients within the sauce to point out. The most obvious one is the condensed skim milk. Additionally, the sugar used is not organic, which isn’t vegan-friendly depending on if you allow refined cane sugar in your diet.
Don’t fret, not all coffee shops will use dairy milk in their pumpkin sauce for their pumpkin spice lattes. Peet’s and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are both national coffee chains that have vegan pumpkin spice lattes. Check a café’s website or ask a barista for more information about the ingredients they use.
Pumpkin Spice Vegan
A blend of a few common spices, pumpkin spice is made of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. Adding a dash of these spices is the cherry on top of a PSL – and they are all vegan.
Traditionally made with dairy, most whipped creams and the ones at Starbucks are not vegan. Vegan cafes will have a vegan whipped cream option. Otherwise, order a pumpkin spice latte without whipped cream to remove the dairy.
Vegan Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Pumpkin spice lattes have gotten a bit of a reputation for being ‘basic’, but that doesn’t stop fans from loving this seasonal phenomenon. Pumpkin spice lovers can find pumpkin spice-flavored coffee essentials like creamers and cold brew. Enjoy fall’s favorite flavor without leaving the house by stocking up on these similar vegan pumpkin spice latte products.
Read more about Are The Popular Yankee Candles Vegan?
Starbucks Non-Dairy Pumpkin Spice Creamer
Despite their non-vegan pumpkin spice latte, Starbucks released an almond and oat milk non-dairy creamer. Inspired by their pumpkin spice latte, this 28 fluid oz container could last you through most of the fall to add to your brewed coffee. This variation includes non-organic sugar, which may be a red flag for some vegans.
Chameleon Coffee Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew Oat Milk Latte
Organic and sustainably sourced, this festive cold brew brings all the spice and the caffeine kick. As easy as ‘pour and enjoy, this cold brew is 100% vegan and made with oat milk. Gluten-free individuals can also enjoy this brew without concern.
Califa Farms Creamer and Cold Brew
Get the best of both worlds in these two pumpkin spice-at-home coffee staples: Califa Farm’s cold brew and creamer. Made with almond milk, these non-GMO Project Verified products are ready to join your pumpkin spice coffee rotation. It’s important to note that Califa Farms uses non-organic cane sugar.
Vegan Pumpkin Spice Takeover
There is now pumpkin spice flavored everything – granola bars, yogurt, cereals, alcoholic beverages, and beyond. If you’re looking to expand your pumpkin spice intake outside of a latte, keep an eye out for these other vegan pumpkin fall favorites.
- Boar’s Head Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus
- Clif Bar Spiced Pumpkin Pie
- Daiya Smashing Pumpkin Cheezecake
- Dandies Pumpkin Marshmallows
- Good Karma Pumpkin Spice Nog
- Koia Protein Pumpkin Spice Shake
- Larabar Pumpkin Pie
- Lenny and Larry’s Pumpkin Cookie
- Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Spice Waffles
- No Cow Bar Pumpkin Pie
- Oui Pumpkin Caramel Coconut Yogurt
- Pumpkin Spice Cheerios
Vegan pumpkin spice lattes may not be at Starbucks, but they can be found or made with a few variations at other coffee shops. They may rule the fall seasonal food scene, but they’re not alone in the competition. Get your fix of at-home pumpkin spice coffee creamers, cold brews, and other goodies worthy of falling for, too.