The marriage of pumpkin spice and coffee is a match made in autumnal heaven. The warm, aromatic combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger, blended with rich, robust coffee, was bound to become an instant classic. But did you know that people have used the spices that make up “pumpkin spice” for thousands of years? In the modern kitchen, we often take for granted the array of spices that adorn our shelves and infuse our dishes with flavor.
Many of these spices, now readily available and relatively affordable, were once considered precious commodities during the spice trade. The spices that make up the pumpkin spice blend were carried along the famed Silk Road, connecting the East and the West, making them some of the earliest globally traded goods. Cinnamon was highly sought after by ancient Egyptians for its exquisite fragrance, and even used it as its own form of currency in some cases! Archaeologists discovered remnants of ancient nutmeg on ceramic pottery fragments believed to date back approximately 3,500 years (Nearly 140 generations ago!) on Pulau Ay, one of the Banda Islands in Indonesia. During the 17th century, nutmeg was more valuable than gold!
Cloves, another central component of the pumpkin spice blend, were native to Indonesia before the spice trade led to their presence in diverse regions like China, Japan, India, and throughout Europe. The intricate and interconnected history of these spices adds delicious depth and richness to the delightful fall concoction that is pumpkin spice.
In the 20th century, McCormick & Company was the first to sell “Pumpkin Spice” as its own mixture in 1934, with other spice companies following suit. This innovative concept streamlined the process for achieving those iconic fall flavors. Instead of purchasing multiple spices, you only need one perfectly balanced mixture. This move revolutionized how we enjoy autumn's signature tastes, simplifying spice racks and adding convenience to every cook’s kitchen endeavors. Over the following years, pumpkin spice was used in many different desserts and even savory dishes.
However, in the early 2000s, the coffee landscape changed forever with the rising popularity of pumpkin spice lattes. While who started using pumpkin spice in coffee first has been heavily debated, it’s impossible not to find pumpkin spice-flavored drinks in every coffee shop (chain and artisan alike) during the autumn season. While cinnamon and nutmeg are no longer as valuable as gold, the flavors of pumpkin spice are still as rich as ever. Embrace the autumn spirit and indulge in the rich history of pumpkin spice by trying our pumpkin spice-flavored coffee beans and in-store syrup!