Where to find artisanal pumpkin spice lattes in Los Angeles

Call it basic, or call it one of the coolest marketing tricks the coffee world has ever seen. Herald autumn with a sense of delight like an afternoon of apple picking – actually exist within driving distance of LA – Pumpkin spice latte is back, making an espresso with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and other warming spices commonly incorporated in pumpkin pie. Given that the spice blend on which the latte is based is more than two centuries old, and that Starbucks’ popular drink has garnered a fanatical community and countless recipes imitators for nearly two decades, it seems like a no-brainer. will exist here.

The Starbucks logo reimagined its reign on August 30, but independent LA coffee shops are now making some of their own, better coffees. From Anaheim to Arleta, casual cafes are building on PSLs such as latte and even horchata – some of which call for juicing fresh pumpkins, simmering small batches of kabocha squash, or grinding spices with a mortar and pestle.

For many, it heralds the beginning of autumn. For others, such as Clark Street founder Zack Hall, this is the first year his bakeries and restaurants have entered PSL territory. This baker has avoided this trend for years, but he’s now fully embraced the seasonal flavors of his four locations with both pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin spice cookies.

“At first, I had to pay attention to such things,” he said. “It took me a while to get around, but now that all of that is set up, it’s been fun. Employees make them happy, customers come happy with it.”

For pumpkin-themed fun made by independent coffee shops, here are six places to find local variations, small batches on PSL in LA, and more.

Be Bright Coffee's pumpkin spice latte in hot and cold format.

You can find Be Bright Coffee’s pumpkin spiced coffee at both the new cafe and the Sunday-only pop-up in Smorgasburg. The roaster’s process involves squeezing fresh pumpkin. “A lot of work for a half barrel of syrup can last our four hours,” said Frank La, co-owner.

(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Be wise

Local coffee roaster Be Bright just opened its first coffee shop – and yes, it’s self-service on PSL. For head roaster and founder Frank La, the pumpkin spice latte is a clear sign that fall is here – maybe even a Los Angeles essential “because LA doesn’t have actual seasonal weather changes,” La said. “We went, ‘Oh, okay. We are in winter now. ‘”

La and his wife, Michelle, started offering a pumpkin spice latte last fall at their weekly pop-up shop in Smorgasburg in the Arts District. This month, they launched their first grocery store along Melrose, and they’re serving pumpkin pie lattes at both locations.

Las begins their process by cold pressing the juice of fresh, peeled pumpkin, sweetened with demerara sugar for a taste that’s almost molasses. Two types of cinnamon – one crunchy cinnamon bark native to Vietnam, the other from Indonesia – are combined for complexity, then added to pumpkin juice and sugar as it simmers. After reducing by about half the volume, it is strained several times, each time through a finer sieve.

Be Bright’s pumpkin pies can be served hot or cold, with Be Bright’s signature “cold foam”, a topping. The cold beer is covered with a cold foam that also uses pumpkin syrup. All three variations are topped with graham crackers, to recreate the pumpkin pie, and all will be on sale through the end of November.

Café: 7311 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; Sunday Pop-ups: 777 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles; bebrightcoffee.com

Brain Dead Studios ‘Slammers

At Fairfax’s Slammers, pumpkin spice lattes have recently made a comeback. Located in the backyard of Brain Dead Studios, the cinema and retail store of lifestyle brand Brain Dead, Slammers’ nutmeg-heavy coffee mugs are coated in coffee. espresso to resemble the brand’s head logo.

They’re available both hot or cold, and are especially vegan — a request from the cafe’s coffee purveyor, Heavy Water’s Tim Riley, who is vegan himself and complains about Starbucks’ use of milk in its syrups. pumpkin spice (contains condensed milk, according to its ingredients list).

Coffee manager Nicholas Murphy said: “The heads of the vegan coffee industry are really looking for someone who can do that sinful homage. He starts by hand-grinding and toasting spices, including anise, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and fresh ginger, for a syrup to which he carefully adds organic pumpkin pulp. Do not overcook to preserve the more vegetable sweetness of the gourd. For a hot latte, espresso and steamed milk are added to the cup before the espresso is topped with a stencil featuring the Brain Dead logo along with cinnamon and nutmeg. For the iced iteration, the syrup, espresso, and cold milk are shaken with ice, creating a froth topping the espresso and the two spices.

Slammers plans to sell its pumpkin spice latte in February.

611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, Studio.wearebraindead.com/slammers

Two hands holding pumpkin spice coffee cups on marble dotted with red leaves and mini pumpkins.

Clark Street founder Zack Hall says this is his first year offering pumpkin spice lattes – and he’s selling them at all four locations, including the new Clark Street Diner in Hollywood.

(Victoria Azalia Salcido / Clark Street)

Clark Street

Zack Hall never wanted to offer pumpkin spice at his famous Clark Street bakeries and cafes, which span Echo Park, Brentwood, downtown’s Grand Central Market and most recently is Hollywood. Then there’s a restaurant in the former Cafe 101 space. This year, the baker and founder decided to experiment. Clark Street’s pumpkin spice lattes, both iced and hot versions, begin with a tea-like blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Pumpkin powder, brown sugar, and vanilla are added, and reduce the blend until it is thick and syrupy. The bartenders hold the syrup on hand and add a little syrup to the bottom of the cup, then pour the frothed milk and espresso on top.

Hall doesn’t stop at latte. The baker’s pumpkin spice white chocolate chip cookies are studded with Valrhona’s white chocolate, creating an almost cream cheese-like centerpiece for the cookies.

At all four locations on Clark Street, both coffee and cookies can be found through November – and if there’s still demand, Hall says he could extend them to December.

Echo Park: 331 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 529-4252; Brentwood: 11702 Barrington Court, Los Angeles, (424) 248-0262; downtown: 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 624-2378; Hollywood: 6145 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 450-9149; clarkstreetbakery.com

Coffee for Sasquatch latte topped with hot cinnamon and optionally cold brew with vanilla ice cream.

Coffee for Sasquatch offers both hot and cold pumpkin spice coffees, as well as a cold brew option with vanilla ice cream. General manager Chris Kyriakos said of the process: “It will take some time and will not lie. “We have to scoop pumpkins for every drink, we measure out maple syrup, we shake in spices. It is handcrafted for each drink. “

(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Coffee for Sasquatch

Pumpkin spice latte isn’t new to Hancock Park’s Coffee for Sasquatch – owner Claire Ackad often offers several unusual seasonal drinks or two on the menu. This year’s pumpkin spice lattes are available hot, cold or fresh, as a cold concoction topped with ice cream.

Pumpkin spice latte hot or cold combines pumpkin pie spice with organic pumpkin puree right in the cup with espresso and milk, sweetened with maple.

The new pumpkin cold bread is made with condensed milk, pumpkin powder, cloves, cinnamon and oat milk, topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. It’s basically a drinkable slice of chilled pumpkin pie: a creamy dessert in a cup, though general manager Chris Kyriakos says that hasn’t stopped some customers from ordering the first order in morning. Both options will be available through at least November.

7020 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 424-7980, coffeeforsasquatch.com

Thank You Coffee's KSL introduces pumpkin spice by incorporating fresh kabocha into its latte in its Anaheim location.

Thank You Coffee’s KSL introduces pumpkin spice by incorporating fresh kabocha into its latte in its Anaheim location.

(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Thank You Coffee

Thank You Coffee started serving the pumpkin spice game in 2020, but the Chinatown cafe offers Asian ingredients and flavors with options like five-spice latte year-round. The team recently re-represented its seasonal KSL – or kabocha spiced coffee, swapping pumpkins for kabocha squash.

“We don’t really eat pumpkin, but we do eat a lot of kabocha,” said co-owner Jonathan Yang. “My wife, Julia, and I love kabocha but not everyone knows it, and we figured it was a neat way to highlight that kabocha is a bit like a Japanese pumpkin.”

But Thank You Coffee’s KSL isn’t usually associated with kabocha: Its fall flavor is derived from a blend of roasted spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. turned into squash sans syrup. It is sweetened with a combination of white and dark brown sugar, spiced with a bit of ginger, and then pickled and concentrated.

This year, however, after opening a cafe in Anaheim with more space to prepare, Yang started steaming kabocha, then pulverizing it and mixing it into a spice syrup. The purified version, currently available only at the Anaheim site, adds depth without sacrificing the spices, he said. At both locations, a bit of condensed milk is added to the latte – a highlight of the ingredient commonly found in pumpkin pie – and they are topped with kinako, a roasted soybean paste, for added tartness and effect. wrapper.

938 N. Hill St., Los Angeles; 255 N. Anaheim Blvd., Unit D, Anaheim; thankyoucoffee.com

A photo of a plate of two spiced pumpkins with their skins unwrapped. In the back is a cup of horchata pumpkin spice.

This is the first year that Vallarta Supermarket offers pumpkin spice horchata. Tamales, which will also run through December 28, are a return item that first went on sale last fall.

(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


There’s no caffeine in Vallarta’s PSL variant – in fact, it’s not a latte at all. Instead, the Latin supermarket chain unveiled a new product that, with shared key ingredients, is a miracle it wasn’t created and sold years ago. Adding pumpkin to the already cinnamon-flavored classic, Vallarta’s newest seasonal contender is the pumpkin spice horchata.

The supermarket’s on-site chefs, Germans Gonzalez and Jesse Muñoz, came up with the idea for the new drink and began testing the recipe in April. The result of months of testing is a final recipe that augments their usual concoction of rice, milk, cinnamon and vanilla with cinnamon, pumpkin powder, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and added vanilla .

Horchata is poured into glass jars, nestled among aguas frescoes at the counter, and scooped into cups upon request — or into 72-ounce plastic jugs. For even larger orders, you can purchase pumpkin spice horchata in full 5-gallon in vitrolero tubes, as seen over the counter.

Not to be outdone by its newer pumpkin spice brethren, Vallarta also offers pumpkin spice tamales, a sweet and savory treat that adds pumpkin powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and seeded squash. pomegranate to the usual tamale maseca. Defect? They’re so popular that most of Vallarta’s supermarkets – including 27 in LA County – sell out by early afternoon. Find both tamales and horchata on offer until December 28.

Different locations, vallartasupermarkets.com

https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-10-19/6-local-spins-on-the-pumpkin-spice-latte-that-are-anything-but-basic Where to find artisanal pumpkin spice lattes in Los Angeles

Russell Falcon

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