All expats experience it one day or another, this craving for a taste from home. They miss Moroccan tajine when they are abroad, and they miss home flavours in Morocco. That’s because most of these tastes call back happy childhood experiences. Food in general is a wonderful comforter, and childhood food the best one in the world.

There are many things an expat can find in large cities like Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir… and many things that are really difficult to find, nearly impossible.

Pumpkin spice seems to be one of them.

This American treat is hard to find in Morocco. Pumpkin season is much longer in Morocco than in the US, actually you find pumpkins in the markets nearly through the whole year.

The Starbucks’ “pumpkin spice latte” launch date this year was 24th of August for Canada and US, but it’s not available here in Casablanca.

But you know what ? I have a very easy solution for you : make you mix yourself !

How to make your own Pumpkin Spice in Morocco

Unlike other stuff (like marmite), Pumpkin Spice is just a mix of different spices you can find very easily, in any hanout or suk, for a very low cost (much cheaper than any imported mix).

Which means :

  • you can enjoy it through the whole year if you want
  • you can taste your own variations
  • you don’t need to empty your account for a Pumpkin Spiced cup in Starbucks

Spices for Pumpkin Spice mix

You need four or fives different spices to make your own Pumpkin Spice. The last one (“All Spices”) is optional. If you are a little bit adventurous, I can suggest some very special Moroccan replacement that will give a slightly oriental twist to your Pumpkin Spice.

Ground nutmeg in a bowl front of a pumpkin

Ground nutmeg, one of the spices

You need to have :

  1. Cinnamon, in Darija it’s called “Qarfa” (and in French: canelle).
  2. Nutmeg (or mace), in Darija it’s called “Gouza el bloutia” or Bsibsa (and in French: noix de muscade or macis). Nutmeg and mace come from the same nut, mace is the external envelop and it has a slightly stronger taste, not so sweet.
  3. Ginger : in Darija it’s called “Skenjbir ” (and in French: gingembre).
  4. Cloves: in Darija it’s called “3oud e’nouar” (and in French: clous de girofle).

and, optionally, all spices. In Darija it’s called “Nouioura” (and in French: quatre épices).

Be sure to have your spices freshly ground, if possible in front of you (I do buy them whole and ground them myself, a dedicated coffee grinder makes the job), buy them in small quantities, you’ll always get the full flavour.

Spices Variations

If you have difficulties to find all spices, or just want something a little bit different you can try to replace all spices by Sechuan Pepper of Felfel Al Halabi (Aleppo Chili, piment d’Alep in French). Allspices is actually a chili, from Jamaïca, it can be substituted by other mild chilis, or by “false peppers”.

The classical recipe uses nutmeg, but you find old recipes of the XVIII° century with mace. Try both, as the flavor is not the same.

Proportions for Pumpkin Spice

Proportions varies depending on the recipe, but the “structure” is always the same :

  • a large quantity of cinnamon
  • a smaller (and identical) quantity of nutmeg and ginger
  • a smaller (and identical) quantity of cloves and all spices, usually half of nutmeg and ginger

Here are the different proportions I found (in tea spoons)

Source Wikipedia Pioneer Woman All Recipes Starbucks
Cinnamon 6 3 1 6 sticks
Nutmeg 2 2 1/4 2
Ginger 2 2 1/4 2
All Spices 1 1,5 0 0
Cloves 1 1,5 1/8 2


I tries all four, and I preferred the Pioneer Woman’s mix. Wikipedia’s recipe is much too heavy on cinnamon, and the last one misses the All Spices.

I found very different versions of the “Starbucks”. One was very heavy on ginger (as much ginger as cinnamon), which was definitively too strong.One was without cloves, the other without all spices, the third one used only cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

But there is an official Starbucks recipe and it’s slightly different from others, because it uses cinnamon sticks.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte home made

Actually, Pumpkin Spice can be used in any cake, cookies etc. recipe. Just use your usual recipe and add pumpkin spice in moderate quantities.

Woman's hand around a pumpkin spice latte, with spices, nuts, leaves and pumpkin

Your own pumpkin spice latte, just like “at home” (but without the warn pullover)

But here is how to do at home your own “Starbucks Latte”.  You have to prepare the pumpkin syrup, once you have it done, you can made your own latte.

The Pumpkin Spice Syrup ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp pumpkin puree ( from cooked pumpkin without spices nor salt, the pumpkin volume reduces by half during the cooking)

Syrup preparation

Start by bringing the sugar and water in a pan. Once the sugar is melted, bring all the other ingredients and mix well. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, checking regularly the temperature is not too hot and the mix does not start to roast. Once it’s done, strain the mix through a very fine mesh and reserve.

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 oz brewed arabica coffee (in Morocco, I recommend Grano de Oro by Carrion, that you can order online here, it’s one of the best, and really economical)
  • 3 Tbsp of your Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice (use the same mix as for the syrup, but replace the cinnamon sticks by 3 tea spoons of ground cinnamon)

How to prepare the Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • Heat and froth milk, which I do with my espresso machine
  •  Brew your coffee, either with an espresso machine or with an Italian moka pot
  • Pour your syrup in a mug, then the hot coffee and stir together
  • Add the frothed milk, then top with whipped cream.
  • Sprinkle some pumpkin spice on top of the whipped cream.

Thanks a lot to Starbucks for sharing its recipe !


Please tell me in the comments if you use this recipe, and what you do with Pumpkin spice