How to make a Brown Sugar Cardamom Latte at home without any fancy equipment. Try an alternative to the Pumpkin Spice Latte for fall!
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Well would you look at that, it’s September. How did that happen? Even though the official first day of fall is still a few weeks away, most people can’t help but start to celebrate autumn when September starts. And I heard a rumor that everyone’s favorite coffee chain started selling their Pumpkin Spice Lattes even earlier this year.
Personally, I like to squeeze every last drop out of summer, but when the time comes I am with every other fall loving girl, wearing boots and plaid shirts, leaf peeping and forcing my husband to go apple picking. I’ll probably even drink a pumpkin spice latte. What can I say, call me basic. But I’ll tell you what’s not your basic pumpkin spice latte – this Brown Sugar Cardamom Latte.
How do you feel about cardamom? It seems to be an under used spice in the U.S. But it’s so fragrant and unique, I love using it anywhere that other autumn spices are used – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves all play well with cardamom. It is commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern recipes.
I made an easy cardamom syrup for this brown sugar cardamom latte. I like to make my own syrups for different lattes at home, like I did with my Lavender Latte.
What is cardamom?
Cardamom is a spice made from seeds of a plant in the ginger family. Sometimes it is also spelled cardamon or cardamum. It is often sold as a powder, or as whole seeds in a green pod. Cardamom is very aromatic, citrusy and herbal. It is often combined with cinnamon, clove, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Look for the whole cardamom pods for the best flavor.
Is there a cardamom substitute?
Cardamom has a very unique flavor that can’t really be replicated with anything else. For this recipe I don’t recommend using a substitute for the cardamom, since it is the main flavor in the latte. However, in recipes where the cardamom is not the main flavor, you can use equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger or cloves. The flavor will not be the same but it will work as a stand in.
How to make a latte at home
I have written before about how to make a latte at home without any fancy equipment. All you need to do is brew strong coffee and mix it with steamed milk. A latte at a coffee shop will be made with espresso. However, if you don’t have an espresso machine at home, you can substitute strong coffee. I like to use french press coffee. Want foamy milk but don’t have a milk foamer? Pour the milk into a mason jar, warm up in the microwave for 30 seconds. Screw on the lid and shake it until foamy.
Brown Sugar Cardamom Latte
- 8 ounces strong coffee
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar Cardamom Syrup see recipe below
For The Brown Sugar Cardamom Syrup
- 1 ounces whole cardamom pods
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- Place milk into a microwave safe jar and heat for about 30 seconds, until warm. Tightly screw lid onto jar and shake for a few seconds, until milk is foamy. Use caution when unscrewing lid as pressure may build up.
- Place 2 tablespoons of brown sugar cardamom syrup in a mug. Pour hot, strong coffee over syrup. Top with foamy milk.
For the Brown Sugar Cardamom Syrup
- In a small pan over low heat, toast the cardamom pods until fragrant, stirring often. Watch closely to avoid burning them.
- Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the cardamom pods. Pour the pods and any exposed seeds into a medium sauce pan.
- Add the water and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain solids through a fine mesh sieve. Store syrup in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Other Recipes That Use Cardamom
How to Make Chai Concentrate – Fox and Briar
Oven Baked bacon with cardamom maple glaze– Mid-Life Croissant
Swedish Cardamom Buns – Girl Versus Dough
Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake – Giraffes Can Bake
CARDAMOM PEAR MARTINI – Little Sugar Snaps
Thank you!!! The flavor is excellent!! And, so very simple to make the syrup. I have to admit with the cardamom I just “dumped” some in! I might love my cardamom flavor just a wee bit!!!
So glad you loved it!
Rachel W. says
I didn’t make the drink, but I did make the syrup (we have a small espresso machine at home). And boy oh boy, the syrup is DEEEELICIOUS! 1 ounce cardamom pods is a terrific ratio to the amount of simple syrup. I got an ounce of good quality cardamom pods at a local herbal/tea type shop. She orders them in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs online. They’re pricy, but 1 oz is totally worth it to have this delicious syrup (I’ve bought various brands on Amazon and imo the quality is usually lacking). Thanks so much for sharing, you made my mornings that much cheerier! 🙂
So glad you loved it!
I’ve never made cardamom syrup before today and I’ll be keeping it as one of my staples! This is such a delicious recipe. This drink is hit the spot.
miranda cunningham says
Never heard of one of these. I was however telling my husband yesterday we need to use more cardamom in our cooking. I ground some for a ribs recipe and the smell was heavenly. I keep the essential oil and use it for cleaning sprays I make. the citrus reminds me of summer. And we make london fog lates here. I will absolutely have to try this one too.
I hope you love it!
For anyone wanting a low carb option, I made the cardamom syrup using Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener in place of the brown sugar. This turned out so delicious! And really a nice change from PSL, such a subtle, warm flavor!
So glad to hear that Pam, thanks for sharing!
Francine Goitz says
I followed the recipe, but mine came out bitter and didn’t taste at all like the delicious cardamom lattes I get at my local coffee house. Any idea why it could turn out bitter? I was very careful to not burn the pods when heating them.
Hi Francine – Hmm, that is odd. Did you taste the syrup by itself? Is it the syrup that is bitter, or the coffee?
I recently had a vanilla cardamom latte at my local coffeehouse. When I went back for another, they told me it was one of their seasonal specialties which was no longer available. I was so excited to find this recipe! I added a little bit of vanilla bean paste and it’s simmering away. The house smells heavenly, and I’m reminiscing of days spent in Israel with my husband at our host family’s house, sipping wonderful Arabic coffee. In a world of Covid and travel restrictions, this lifted my spirits. So glad to have found it.
So happy to hear that Natalie!
I used 1/2 tsp ground cardamom instead of cardamom pods and it made a delicious latte. Not sure how it compares to the latte made with cardamom pods, but just thought I’d share in case anyone else is wondering about that substitution.
Thank you for sharing Jill!
Delightful recipe! I had a cardamom latte at a coffee shop recently and was craving it at home. Now, with this recipe, I can enjoy it much more easily. Thank you, 🦊 & Briar!
About how many cardomom pods is an ounce? I am unable to find a tablespoon/cup equivalent measure.
Hi Rebecca – I’m currently missing my food scale, but I think 2-3 TBSP would be fine.
Antonia Campbell-Nelson says
Is it safe for me to assume that I can replicate this recipe, but with tea instead of coffee?
I don’t see why that wouldn’t work 🙂
Cheryl Kohan says
I just know I’d love this. Just printed the recipe to have handy! I wonder if you could use cardamom extract?
Hi Cheryl – I bet it would work! It might not have the exact same flavor, but probably close. I’ve never used cardamom extract, so I am not sure what the best measurement would be. I would probably start with a teaspoon.
Juli Steinhouse says
How long can the syrup keep, and is there a way to make this with ground cardamon?
Hi Julie, I would say the syrup could keep up to two weeks. I haven’t tried it with ground cardamom. I think it would be OK, but you would need to strain it with a finer strainer (maybe with a coffee filter?). I’m not sure if the flavor would be as good.
Happy September! I had my first PSL yesterday – no shame haha! I just adore all autumn spices and flavours. Cardamom is definitely one of my faves, so I need to try this latte for sure!
Yes! I hope you do! Thanks Michelle!