This pumpkin cream cold brew recipe is a DIY version of a popular fall drink sold in coffee shops. It's a combination of pumpkin spice cold brew and sweet pumpkin cream cold foam on top - the perfect iced coffee to transition from summer to fall. Plus, it's easy to make, with just 15 minutes of hands-on time required!
If you're a fan of the always-anticipated fall menu at most coffee shops - classic PSL or otherwise - you have to try this homemade spin on pumpkin cream cold brew. It's cool, creamy, and lightly sweet, with a delicate pumpkin spice flavor & bold coffee kick. And unlike the case with those seasonal menus, you can have this drink at home year-round!
What it is
This drink is essentially two parts: pumpkin spice cold brew coffee (easily made from scratch) and creamy pumpkin cold foam. My version is made with a rich brown sugar pumpkin spice syrup, steeped with fresh whole spices for the absolute best flavor. When mixed into whipping cream, it creates a silky foam that tastes just like pumpkin pie - perfect for mellowing out a bold cup of coffee! The foam sits on top of the iced coffee and slowly blends into it as you drink, creating a beverage that's strong yet smooth, and perfectly sweet.
Here's what you'll need to recreate this classic coffee shop drink at home:
A few things to note...
For the pumpkin spice cold brew:
- Any coarsely ground coffee will work well; feel free to use decaffeinated beans if preferred. You can also buy pre-made cold brew (regular or nitro) or even use freshly-brewed and chilled coffee like I do with my lavender-vanilla, mint, and caramel iced coffee recipes.
- If you do opt to make your own, I highly recommend using filtered water for the best taste.
For the pumpkin spice syrup:
- This recipe uses whole spices - specifically nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and ginger root - for two reasons. Whole spices have a more potent flavor than ground spice, and they stay fresh for longer periods of time. But perhaps more importantly, using the whole spice avoid the issue of a grainy syrup, which is my chief complaint with most homemade pumpkin spice syrups I've tried.
- Although I used a whole vanilla bean in this syrup, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract if preferred.
- Any kind of brown sugar will work for this recipe, but I don't recommend substituting it since no other sugar will add that same rich molasses-y flavor.
- Use pumpkin puree only, not the canned pie filling.
For the pumpkin cream:
- Use regular or heavy whipping cream for a thick pumpkin cold foam that will sit on top of your iced coffee and add a luxuriously creamy flavor. I've tried using part half-n-half, and I truly feel that it takes away from the overall experience of the cold foam because of its lower fat content. If you want to attempt a dairy-free version of this drink, I'd suggest using well-chilled, canned coconut cream.
Making your own cold brew
Cold brew is literally just coffee (grounds) that have been steeped in cold water over an extended period of time as a method of brewing. The idea is that the coffee winds up with a smoother flavor, and simultaneously doesn't get diluted with ice in order to make a cold drink.
It's actually incredibly easy to make, and takes less than 5 minutes of hands-on time. It's also cheaper than buying it pre-made, and can easily be made decaf based on the type of coffee you use!
Here's how you do it:
Step One: Add 1 cup of ground coffee to a quart-size (32 ounce) jar and pour 3 cups of filtered water on top. Cover with a lid and shake well to combine. (You can also do this in a pitcher or even a French press, and simply stir the grounds and water together). Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator to "brew" overnight - or for about 12 hours.
Step Two: Strain the grounds from the water; you can do this with a coffee filter, your French press, or even a nut milk bag. Keep it refrigerated until you're ready to use it. It should stay fresh for 1-2 weeks.
Making pumpkin spice syrup
This is the syrup I use to flavor and sweeten the cold foam for this drink, but it can also be used to make a pumpkin spice latte, or any other hot or iced coffee!
Step One: Combine 1 cup of water with your spices: 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 10 whole cloves, a few slices of ginger root, half a nutmeg (chopped), and 1 vanilla bean (split down the middle, with the seeds scraped out). Bring the mixture to a low boil on medium-high heat, and then reduce it to medium-low and add 1 cup of brown sugar, cooking and stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Take it off the heat, cover it, and let the spices steep for 30 minutes.
Step Two: Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the spices from the syrup and pour it back into your saucepan. Add ¾ cup of pumpkin puree and continue to cook the syrup on medium-low heat for another 2-3 minutes, until the pumpkin is fully and smoothly incorporated.
Step Three: Pour the syrup into a jar or other sealed container and refrigerate until cool. It should keep well for about a month; just give it a good shake before using!
Making pumpkin cream cold brew for one
This recipe makes enough coffee and syrup for multiple drinks; here's how to make a single-serving:
Step One: Froth together 4 ½ tablespoons of whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of syrup and a pinch of salt. The mixture should be thick, smooth, and creamy when done.
Step Two: Stir together 6 ounces of cold brew with another teaspoon of syrup in your glass of choice. Add ice if desired. Pour the pumpkin cream on top and stir lightly before drinking.
Note: Feel free to adjust the amount of sweetener used in this drink based on your personal preferences!
Yes! This recipe is completely gluten-free friendly.
You can easily turn this into a decaf drink by making your own coffee using decaffeinated coffee beans.
While this recipe wasn't designed to be served hot, you could definitely follow the instructions for making the syrup, and froth it with warm cream served over hot coffee/espresso to make something along the lines of a pumpkin spice breve latte!
The coffee and syrup can both be made in advance, however I do recommend making the cold foam just before using. This should be easy, since it only takes a few minutes to whip up!
For breakfast, try serving this drink with a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, a simple pumpkin scone, or - if you're looking for something a little healthier - a pumpkin oat flour muffin. For an afternoon treat, you could opt for something a bit more indulgent, like a mini pumpkin cheesecake or a slice of this pumpkin bundt cake!
More DIY coffee shop drinks
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew (DIY Starbucks Recipe!)
This pumpkin cream cold brew recipe is a DIY version of a popular fall drink sold in coffee shops. It's a combination of pumpkin spice cold brew and sweet pumpkin cream cold foam on top - the perfect iced coffee to transition from summer to fall. Plus, it's easy to make; all of the components can be prepped in just 15 minutes of hands-on time!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Chill Time (for cold brew): 12 hours (overnight)
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
- Category: beverages
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 cup ground coffee
- 3 cups cold filtered water
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 ¼” piece ginger root, thinly sliced
- ½ a whole nutmeg, chopped
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 cup, packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin puree
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew (single-serving):
- 4 ½ tablespoons whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice syrup, divided use
- pinch of salt
- 6 ounces cold brew coffee
- Combine coffee and water: Add ground coffee to a quart-size (32 ounce) jar and pour filtered water on top. Cover with a lid and shake well to combine. (You can also do this in a pitcher or even a French press, and simply stir the grounds and water together). Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator to "brew" overnight - or for about 12 hours.
- Strain the grounds from the water; you can do this with a coffee filter, your French press, or even a nut milk bag. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
- Steep spices in syrup: Combine water, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, sliced ginger root, chopped nutmeg, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low boil on medium-high heat, and then reduce to medium-low and add brown sugar, cooking and stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, cover, and let the spices steep for 30 minutes.
- Add pumpkin: Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the spices from the syrup and pour it back into your saucepan. Add pumpkin puree, and continue to cook the syrup on medium-low heat for another 2-3 minutes, until the pumpkin is fully and smoothly incorporated.
- Chill: Pour the syrup into a jar or other sealed container and refrigerate until cool. Shake before using.
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew (for one)
- Make the cold foam: Froth, whip, or shake together the whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin syrup, and salt until smooth, thick, and creamy (see notes).
- Combine with coffee: Stir together cold brew and remaining teaspoon of pumpkin spice syrup in your glass of choice. Add ice if desired. Pour the pumpkin cream on top and stir lightly before drinking.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of syrup used in each drink to taste.
- You may also wish to dilute your cold brew with water before drinking, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
- To froth the cold foam mixture for this drink, it's easiest to use a standalone milk frother or handheld frother. However, you can also combine ingredients in a jar and shake them vigorously, or whip them by hand. Either way, the mixture should be thick and silky before adding it to your coffee.
- Coffee: Any variety of beans can be used, but for best results, they should be coarsely ground, like you would use for pour over coffee. Use decaffeinated beans to make this drink decaf. You can also buy pre-made cold brew for this drink (nitro or regular), or even use freshly brewed and chilled coffee.
- Vanilla bean can be substituted with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add the extract in step 2, after the syrup has finished cooking.
- Regular or heavy whipping cream can be used for this recipe. I've tried half-n-half, and it just doesn't have the same creamy effect. If you want to attempt a dairy-free version of this drink, I'd try using well-chilled, canned coconut cream.
Storage and Shelf Life:
- Cold brew can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
- The pumpkin syrup should stay fresh in the refrigerator for about a month.
This recipe makes enough coffee and syrup for multiple drinks. Nutrition facts below are for one prepared drink.