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If there’s a craze that’s officially jumped the shark, it’s pumpkin spice (flavored margarine or potato chips, anyone?). But don’t let the hysteria stop you from enjoying a truly special seasonal taste at Stella’s Coffee Haus on South Pearl Street.
The neighborhood landmark delivers a homemade pumpkin spice latte that marries excellent espresso with the key flavors of mom’s pumpkin pie. And now that sweater weather has arrived, this treat is not to be missed.
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Wes Hediger, Stella’s general manager, concocts his recipe from scratch weekly. The aptly spiced flavor was a response to the cloyingly sweet syrups found in other coffee shops this time of year. The heavy marketing push from Starbucks for its pumpkin spice latte had Stella’s customers clamoring for an option.
“Our customers asked ‘can you do something like that,” Hediger says. “I was inspired to create an actual drink and not just throw flavored syrup in a cup. So I researched classic pumpkin pie recipes and also some cider recipes and came up with a recipe that used the reoccurring flavors.”
Think cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper combined with actual pumpkin purée. The spices are mixed into the pumpkin puree, which gets cooked during the milk-steaming process by the barista.
“The mix is purposefully not sweet so you can really taste those flavors,” says Hediger. “I figure people can sweeten it to taste.” (Full disclosure: We love it with a single sugar cube.)
Stella’s will go through two to three 10-pound cans of pumpkin weekly through New Year’s. The drink will stay on the menu throughout the holiday season.
“I like to stretch it out, I like to think of it as ‘pumpkin pie season,’” Hediger says. “And our customers are happy to have it back.”
1476 S. Pearl St., 303-777-1031, stellascoffee.com