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Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

As the green tapestry of summer folds away, unveiling the rustic hues of autumn, there’s a certain magic in the air that’s almost palpable. Trees, like artists, paint the skyline with bursts of amber, ruby, and gold. It’s that mystical time of year when every leaf becomes a flower and every coffee shop offers pumpkin spice!

What is Pumpkin Spice?

Pumpkin spice is a blend of ground spices commonly used in North American cuisine, particularly in the autumn and early winter months.

It’s named after the pumpkin pie, as the spice mix is often used to make this type of pie.

Pumpkin spice typically includes ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice. It doesn’t contain pumpkin itself but is meant to complement the flavour of pumpkin in various dishes.

According to my extensive search on Wikipedia, it seems that Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003, which means that it’s now 20 years old!

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, I’m not a coffee drinker so have never tried this myself, however, I do recall my daughter getting excited about trying it.

According to Wkipedia, Starbucks’ director of espresso Americas, Peter Dukes, said that:

developers realized there was something special around the pumpkin flavor, especially since there wasn’t anything around pumpkin at the time

History of the Pumpkin Spice Latte

This new latte went on to become Starbucks’ most popular seasonal drink, with an obscene amount of them sold each year which ended up spawning an entirely new category of goods: a pumpkin spice eco-system, if you like.

Hotel Chocolat Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

After my recent sampling of Hotel Chocolat’s Apple Pie Hot Chocolate, I thought I should probably give another of their autumnal offerings a go.

However, to my astonishment, I received my regular Hotel Chocolat email newsletter with the following devastating news:

Pumpkin Spice hot chocolate sold out

And, sure enough, when I checked out their website, they confirmed the news.

pumpkin spice hot chocolate out of stock

This is what Hotel Chocolat have to say about their pumpkin spice:

Limited edition – available while stocks last. The seasonal staple, as seen through a chocolatier’s lens. Warming notes of spiced pumpkin melt swiftly into smooth, deeply chocolatey caramel-milk. Curl up and enjoy the essence of autumn in every velvety-smooth sip. 

As autumnal as golden leaves, pumpkin spice is a delightfully comforting flavour combination. With a touch of chocolatier magic, we’ve melted the subtle flavours of authentic pumpkin and aromatic spices into smooth caramel-milk chocolate. As with all Hotel Chocolat drinking chocolates, you’ll find a high cacao content. Not only does this provide a decadently creamy texture, but it also lets those deep chocolate notes shine through.

Hotel Chocolat

Nutritional Values and Ingredients

Energy KJ / Energy Kcal2388 / 573
Fat (g)38.2
Of which saturates (g)24
Carbohydrate (g)48.4
Of which sugars (g)47.0
Protein (g)7.9
Fibre (g)1.9
Salt (g)0.2

Ingredients: cocoa solids (cocoa butter, cocoa mass), sugar, full cream MILK powder, ground cinnamon (2%), flavourings including pumpkin spice, skimmed MILK powder, ginger powder, caramelised sugar, emulsifiers (SOYA lecithin, sunflower lecithin), natural colour (paprika extract).

Milk chocolate contains minimum 40%  cocoa solids, minimum 20% milk solids. Caramel milk chocolate contains minimum 36% cocoa solids, min,imum 26% milk solids.

For allergens including cereals containing gluten, see ingredients in BOLD. May contain tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, wheat, egg, sesame. (Hotel Chocolat)

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate Recipe Made At Home Edition

Not to be deterred, I resolved to have a go at making my own at home.

After scanning through a number of recipes on the internet, I decided upon the following recipe from Knoops.

Key to the choice was the lack of pumpkin puree, which a number of recipes included.

I have nothing against pumpkin puree, it just sounds like a lot of effort.


  • 54% dark hot chocolate flakes
  • 200ml of dairy or plant-based milk
  • Cinnamon (ground)
  • Nutmeg (whole)
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Cloves (ground)
  • Allspice
  • A saucepan (if making on the hob)
  • Your favourite mug


  • Heat 200ml (about one large mug) of milk in a saucepan on the hob, or in a large mug in the microwave. Make sure it doesn’t boil as this will affect the taste
  • Add about 8 teaspoons (depending on your taste) of 54% dark hot chocolate flakes
  • Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of ginger, and stir
  • Then, sprinkle in a smidgen of cloves and allspice
  • Stir everything through and continue stirring until your flakes have fully melted
  • Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy your pumpkin spice hot chocolate

A Winning Hot Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Recipe?

Well, I fell at the first hurdle.

A quick scan of the spice draw revealed some ground cinnamon, some cinnamon sticks that might have been there for a while and some whole cloves.

No sign of nutmeg or allspice and only fresh ginger.

Also, I hate cloves and only tolerate them in my Christmas ham recipe.

Not someone to be put off, I resolved to make a trip to the local supermarket and, much like comic book heroes, they will be assembled!

Pumpkin Spices assembled

Unfortunately, I have no Knoops hot chocolate flakes at the moment but do have some Blendsmith Dark Choc Blend, which I picked up recently, so I used a couple of heaped teaspoons of that instead.

Blendsmith Dark Chock Blend

I put some oat milk in my Velvetiser, added the drinking chocolate and various spices and let the Velvetiser do its thing.

A couple of minutes later, I had my steaming mug of home-made, pumpkin spice hot chocolate.

Home made pumpkin spice hot chocolate

How Was it?

After all the effort of going to the supermarket to get the missing spices, I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed.

Despite following the pinch of this and a smidgen of that, I don’t think the blend was quite right. I’m not a fan of cloves and felt that they did dominate a little.

The drink was also a bit “gritty”.

I think there were just too many powders for the Velvetiser to comfortably handle.

I have some Kokoa Collection hot chocolate buttons, so I may try with those another time but I’m in no great hurry, to be honest.

Next time I’m passing a Hotel Chocolat, I may give their pumpkin spice hot chocolate a go because I know it’ll be better than my effort but am I convert to pumpkin spice? Not at this stage, no.

And Finally…

And finally, for those of you who are wondering what all the fuss is about with regard to pumpkin spice, Ryan Reynolds wants to share a few thoughts with you – and a recipe.

Just a quick heads-up, it’s not a pumpkin spice hot chocolate recipe.

Hot Chocolate World author
Andrew Lowry

Hi, I’m Andrew and I like hot chocolate. Given the nature of this blog, that’s probably not surprising though.

I don’t drink coffee or tea (except a bit of green tea occasionally) so my hot drink options are limited.

I’m a champion of good-quality hot chocolate and want to see and learn more about it, so join me and let’s learn together.

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