Pumpkin Pie Cafe Latte | Persianized?

I sorely miss the generous stretches of light once summer yields to fall — when dusk and darkness encroach ever more greedily to chase away the daylight. There’s something so tangibly and instinctively foreboding and gloomy about this shift of lightness to darkness as the seasons turn. Still, fall has charm to spare. From the colorful orchestra of the leaves; to a fruit bowl filled with persimmons and pomegranates; to the cozy indulgence of nursing a delicious pumpkin pie cafe latte on a pretty autumn day.

Pumpkin pie cafe latte is an ancient beverage that traces its roots to the Persian royal courts of the Achamenid dynasty when King Darius the Great would end his afternoon hunts by savoring hearty gulps of it out of a magestic silver drinking cup, cast in the form of a winged griffin … JUST KIDDING! I was just pulling your leg! Ha ha! Coffee, awesome amazing delicious coffee, was not gifted to the humanity by the ancient Iranians, although for centuries, there have been public hangouts called gahveh khaneh (literally: “coffee house”) where people, traditionally men, gathered to meet and mingle and drink … tea! We’ll visit this conundrum at another time.

Meanwhile, speaking of the origin of coffee, I always mistakenly assumed that coffee was not in widespread use until Christopher Columbus mistook America for the Indies, but it turns out (at least if we take Wikipedia‘s word for it) that we either have a 9th century herd of buzzed and caffeinated goats, or, an exiled and ravenous sheik, hailing from Mocha, Yemen (Mocha! Ha! Aha!) to thank for the discovery of this most glorious, legal substance.

Pumpkin pie cafe latte is one of the many delectable instances of the artful evolution of coffee in modern times. To Persianize it, I substituted the original recipe’s vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice (whatever that is) with a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course, cardamom. I didn’t have cloves, else I would have used some of that too. It is a truly minor revision that stretches the boundaries of “Persianizing” more than Kim Kardashian stretches her two-sizes-too-small outfits, but instead of raising an eyebrow in consternation, let’s consider it a culinary poetic license and shrug it off, shall we? Because this drink tastes and smells delicious enough to almost make up for the missing summer sunshine — it verily is autumn in a cup — and I really want to share it with you.

And here it goes …

This is the original recipe that I slightly tinkered with. I like this recipe because it is simple and makes do without an espresso maker and milk steamer. You will need a blender however. (To avoid using a blender, combine all ingredients, save for the optional whipped cream, whisk, heat in a small pot till steaming and frothy, and follow with steps #2 and onward.) The result, to this taster’s taste buds, were quite delicious. I skipped the traditional whipped cream topping, because while I’m not averse to pigging out, whipped cream is not my poison of choice. Go for it though if it’s yours.


  • 2 cups milk (whole, 2%, or nonfat)
  • 1 cup double-strength brewed coffee (or two shots of espresso)
  • 3-4 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (or more per your sweetness preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + a few more pinches for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream (optional)

Note: I didn’t use some, but I bet cloves would be great in this recipe.


  1. Whisk milk and pumpkin puree and heat mixture in a small pot. Keep watch till milk is hot and steaming. Remove from stove just before it boils over.
  2. Immediately combine the steaming milk in a blender with sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend for 30 seconds or until pleasantly frothy.
  3. Pour hot spiced milk in each of the two serving coffee mugs to about 2/3 full. Fill remainder of each mug with the brewed coffee or espresso.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream topping (optional & traditional) and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.


Sip and enjoy as a delicious respite on a given autumn or winter day in your favorite coffee mug.

Make it, enjoy it, and noosheh jaan!

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Comments (50)

  • Maria Dernikos 11 years ago Reply

    I have never heard of pumpkin latte – but you have intrigued me I want to know what it tastes like. Shall look out for a tin of pumpkin puree which I have never used before, I don’t even know if they sell it over here but shall look.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Cool Maria! By the way, you could, should you be so inclined and motivated, make your pumpkin puree from scratch. It’s a bit of a hassle though.

  • Dear Azita,
    I’ve got plenty of pumpkin and this recipe is sooo nice.
    A shame I can’t have coffee but I will adapt it to my needs.
    Looking forward to try it.
    Many baci from Switzerland.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Multi baci back! I’m intrigued to see how you’ll end up your surplus of pumpkins. I love your recipes.

    Thank you Azita 😉
    I am considering a savoury recipe…to follow 😉
    Baci baci

  • Tina 11 years ago Reply

    Oh, you had me thinking does everything revolve around Persia!!! That was funny. I love your prose. Fall is my favorite season because of the coziness of cool evenings, making way for hearty meals and cuddling. Thanks for this idea.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Ha ha, exactly. Glad you enjoyed the joke. And totally love your formula of hearty meals and cuddling for a cozy fall. Awww!

  • rabirius 11 years ago Reply

    Your recipes always sound very nice…
    …I wish I had more time to cook.
    But gladly there is a good Persian restaurant in my street where I love to go. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    can I be nosy and ask what it’s called and what’s your favorite item on the menu?

  • Amanda 11 years ago Reply

    Beautiful writing, beautiful photos and what a wonderful warming recipe.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you Amanda joon! 🙂

  • The Healthy Epicurean 11 years ago Reply

    what a wonderful-sounding latte. I’ve never tried it but I can imagine that the pumpkin would compliment deliciously…

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I’m surprised that some people including yourself have never tried or heard of this. I thought the long global arm of Starbucks had made latte drinkers of us all. It’s a nice treat: sweet and indulgent w/out it being sinful, which is nice!

  • Bizou 11 years ago Reply

    Very beautiful, & brilliant idea to creat such a site where we all can share, enjoy, and be educated.
    Love your poetic, and romantic way of writing.

  • Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    How sweet. I’m so glad. Merci Bizou! 🙂 Qui etes vous? I wish I knew!

  • apuginthekitchen 11 years ago Reply

    I definitely have to make this, I’ve never had one. You had me going for a minute LOL, imaging the ancient Persians sipping their pumpkin spice latte’s, but of course!! I have a can of pumpkin going to try this. Like the cardamom in it!!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    ha ha, glad I made you laugh! 😉

  • lizzygoodthings 11 years ago Reply

    Oh my goodness, this sounds divine! I did actually try a pumpkin latte at the Pumpkin Festival this year, it was delish! Great recipe. Great post. Thanks for sharing. xox

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    So glad to hear that, Liz. Pumpkin festival sounds like fun! Do give it a try when it’s cool weather again in Australia

  • Francesca 11 years ago Reply

    Sorry, Azita but I’m a purist and I’ll stick to the original caffe’ e latte: just milk and coffee. I don’t even put sugar in it. 😉
    Your shots are really lovely and you totally got me for a minute or two. Your story was incredibly believable. 😉

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    tickled that I gotcha there for a bit with the story, ha ha! 😉 Oh I hear you re being a coffee purist. I take my coffee same as you 360 days out of the year & that’s how I like it. The remaining days, I enjoy this and kind of drink it like it’s a sweet coffee soup!

  • Ross 11 years ago Reply

    Just the thing for a steamy summer in the Southern Hemisphere, I’ve saved it for a few months.
    Re Coffee history and culture, I recommend “Coffee and Coffeehouses, The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East” Ralph S. Hattox. ISBN 0-295-96231-3
    He tells some great stories about the turmoils and fatwas surrounding the introduction of coffee due to its powers of intoxication as perceived in Muslim lands

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Wow, thank you for the book recommendation, Ross – it sounds fascinating, just put it on my Amazon list.
    The recipe will keep till your cold weather season!

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 11 years ago Reply

    Ai sheitun! For a while there I was reading and wondering/doubting with one of my eyebrows lifted! You are so cute, Azita. 😀 )))
    I don’t like traditional pumpkin spices either. Making this latte with pureed pumpkin is brilliant. I shall give it a try.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    ha ha, I have to admit I enjoyed my little joke! Fae, have you had the official Starbucks version of the drink? Anyway, glad you like the idea/recipe and if you make this, do show and tell lotfan, would love that!

    Fae's Twist & Tango 11 years ago

    Yes, I had it at Starbucks. But I’m sure, I like yours better. 😀

  • Gather and Graze 11 years ago Reply

    Such wonderful writing Azita – always a joy to read! I’m still not sure about adding pumpkin to coffee, even after living in the USA for a couple of years… though I should be a brave girl and try everything once! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I’m with you – the idea of adding pumpkin puree in a coffee beverage sounds weird BUT in combination with everything, it really works. Mostly, it ends up just giving a hint of pleasant flavor and subtle color to the steamed milk.
    Be Brave! 🙂

  • Ahu 11 years ago Reply

    Haha I almost believed you for a second! I love this idea!!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    😉 thank you Ahu jan!

  • Johnny Hepburn 11 years ago Reply

    Normally I drink black coffee with only a little sugar. Do like cafe con leche, though. These days I don’t have a steamer, and can’t be faffed with buying in UHT milk. Love the idea of anything spiced pumpkin. Shame it’s not available after Hallowe’en. As I bet it tastes great with coffee. And I can’t/won’t imagine using butternut squash as a sub! Yucks.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    oh yeah, don’t think butternut squash would work. It’s funny, I thought of your taste for black coffee (which I can not drink at all) when writing this post and was wondering what you’d make of this.

  • I MUST try this!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    You really must! 🙂

  • Love the idea of the spices but I can’t get my head around the pumpkin puree. France is full of pumpkins at the moment so it looks like I’ll try it. Nice post;)

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you!
    It does seem like a counter-intuitive borderline gross ingredient for a coffee beverage but when steamed with milk it just melts and adds a nice flavor and color. As a very infrequent indulgence, I think it’s definitely worth a try.

  • diary of a tomato 11 years ago Reply

    I may be biased by your wonderful creations, but it seems everything could benefit from a little Persianizing! 😉

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    ha ha, yes, indeed, and so charming of you to think so as well! 🙂

  • celestedimilla 11 years ago Reply

    Haha – you had me going for a second with your ancient pumpkin pie latte history (I’m so gullible!). Anyway, this looks delish! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply


  • laurasmess 11 years ago Reply

    Oh my gosh Azita, this looks delicious!!! I love every element of this post… your amazing writing, the photos, the idea of that delicious latte on a cool autumn evening… yum. You write so, so well xxx

  • Stefano 11 years ago Reply

    Very nice beverage recipe, Azita, and I loved the historical info regarding the origins of coffee: Mocha, eh?
    Now that you mention, I’d love to have my own Persian Griffin-shaped silver drinking cup. It would be a very civilized way to have a cup of tea… 😉

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Me too Stefano, totally agree, I’d love to have one! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    ps come to think of it, the griffin goblet would be perfect for drinking wine, don’t you think?

    Stefano 11 years ago

    Hmmm, I think that for wine I would stick to crystal. Perhaps a Persian griffin-shaped crystal goblet? 😉

  • The Novice Gardener 11 years ago Reply

    You ARE too much!! I was going along with the story, only to find out you had tricked us! Enjoyed this piece so, so much, Azita! Great writing and excellent photos. And of course I can’t not have pumpkin spice latte when the cool weather arrives. (That happens to be one of the reasons I like fall, but like you I’m already missing the sun.) But I found it has nearly 400 cal. Good thing you give us this recipe. I can now make my own, lower cal if I want to, thanks! xoxo

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Ha ha, it was too fun to resist, glad you appreciated it! And the recipe is really thanks to the lovely anonymous soul who posted it to allrecipes.com … so don’t want to take too much credit for that. But thank you! And I hear you, 400 cal is somewhat too much for a beverage, no matter how sinfully good it may be. Not to mention all the artificial stuff that may be going on. Pumpkin puree is totally low cal and I guess if you forego whipped cream and use 2% milk and use sugar sparingly, it’s possible to reduce the cal by half or even more! ENJOY!!! xoxo

  • radhika25 11 years ago Reply

    Azita, I read this a few days ago, but on my phone…and there was no way I could have left a comment thru that. But I’ve been thinking about this post non-stop….you are such a talented weaver of words. Love your descriptions! When are you starting on your first book?

  • Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    What a comment. I treasure it Radhika.
    Re the book: as of now there are no literary agents knocking on my door! 😉

  • […] your pumpkin is not royalty, you can use it to make a Persianized pumpkin pie cafe latte, or, a Persian pumpkin Halloween kookoo. […]

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