pumpkin latte on wooden table
(Photo: Roberto Caruso)

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Aaron Owens Mayhew

from Backpacker

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PSLs are synonymous with fall…and sugar crashes. Not good when you need long-lasting energy to hike all day. This recipe’s nutrition profile has more protein and fat than the classic drink to offset the sugar, making it so balanced that recipe creator and thru-hiker dietician Aaron Owens Mayhew of Backcountry Foodie says you could use it as a meal replacement on your next trip. (For a lower-calorie beverage, you can also use nonfat milk powder.) And at 3.6 ounces per serving, you can bring a taste of fall into the backcountry without bringing the whole kitchen with you. You’ll want to make it year-round, even after the coffee shops take it off the menu.

Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min


  • 1 Tbsp. instant coffee (3 g)
  • ½ cup whole milk powder (64 g)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla powder, like Cook's (12 g)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (14 g)
  • 2 tsp. dehydrated pumpkin purée, powdered (8 g)
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (0.9 g)


At Home

1. Dehydrate pumpkin purée: spread puree onto dehydrator trays using solid “fruit roll” sheet liners or parchment paper. Spread evenly about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick and dehydrate at 135℉ (57℃). After 6 to 8 hours, peel the bark off the tray and turn it over, so the other side gets exposed to the airflow. The bark is done when the sheet is dry and brittle, which may take 8 to 10 hours or longer. Before it gets brittle, it will bend like leather. Leather is OK to use within a couple of weeks but for long-term storage, keep drying until dry and brittle.

2. Allow the bark to cool for 30 to 60 minutes, then break into pieces and grind it into a fine powder using a coffee or spice grinder. It has to be a fine powder; you can’t add it to the mix in the bark form. Put the powder and the rest of the recipe ingredients in an air-tight, heat-proof bag or container to be used in the backcountry.

At Camp

1. Add 8 ounces (240 mL) of boiling water to the bag or container. Additional water may be added to reach the desired flavor. Stir to mix well.

2. Let stand for up to 3 minutes, allowing the pumpkin to rehydrate fully. The water must be boiling and remain hot if the pumpkin powder is going to rehydrate. Otherwise, it can be clumpy. We recommend putting the bag or container in an insulated cozy to keep the beverage hot while the pumpkin rehydrates.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1 cup
  • Calories 429
  • Carbohydrate Content 52 g
  • Fat Content 17 g
  • Fiber Content 0.3 g
  • Protein Content 17 g
  • Sugar Content 24 g
Lead Photo: Roberto Caruso

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