Forget Pumpkin Spice! We’re Making Sweet Potato Lattes Down South

Forget Pumpkin Spice! We’re Making Sweet Potato Lattes Down South

by Esme Addison

I’m from North Carolina. And currently, NC is the number one in producing sweet potatoes in the United State. I didn’t know this until I looked it up recently, but I do know that sweet potatoes have always been king in the south (or maybe just North Carolina?) Growing up pumpkins were for decorating at Halloween.

I never even HEARD of a pumpkin pie. It sounded gross and strange to my southern ears. Sweet Potatoes! Now that was the ticket. Sweet potatoes with brown sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, marshmallows… as a casserole. As a pie. A side. A dessert!

And then – it’s my hypothesis – that Starbucks brought the pumpkin spice latte and the concept of everything pumpkin to areas (the south) that didn’t traditionally use pumpkins as an ingredient in food during the fall.

That along with the migrations of Northerners streaming ot the southern states (especially North Carolina) brought along their deep abiding love for all things pumpkins. Starbucks and The North have colluded to kick my beloved sweet potato to the curb in lieu of the pumpkin.

And it’s not that I don’t love pumpkins. The colors are beautiful. I really like blue pumpkins. Orange for jack-o-lantern. But I’m not trying to eat pumpkin anything in the fall. I’m firmly #teamsweetpotato. 🙂

One of my favorite local bakeries Bestow Bakery in Holly Springs, NC specializes in baking with sweet potatoes. The owner, Heather has sweet potato donuts and cupcakes! And they are so good!

Local syrup company, Sweet Farm based in Greensboro, North Carolina recently debuted their sweet potato syrup. Perfect for making sweet potato lattes in case you don’t want to make your own simple sugar sweet potato like professed sweet potato aficionado like Texan, Vee The Baker (try her recipe, it’s super easy!).

Sweet Potato Syrup by Sweet Farm

But I enjoy sweet potato lattes in the fall.

Anyway, I want to share my sweet potato latte recipe – and I hope more coffee shops start making them. I remember when I added a lavender latte to my novel A Spell For Trouble. It was kind of new then – but now it’s stocked at almost every coffee shop. Which makes me happy because I love lavender lattes sweetened with honey. But anyway! The recipe…

Southern Sweet Potato Latte

Serving Size:
16 oz
5 minutes
Easy Peasy


  • 2 shots of espresso (or 1/4 cup of triple strength coffee)
  • 1 1/4 cup of frothed milk
  • 3 tablespoons of sweet potato syrup
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Splash of vanilla
  • Bit of clove


  1. Add sweet potato syrup and vanilla to the espresso or triple-strong coffee
  2. Froth the milk
  3. Mix espresso and foaming milk
  4. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove to taste
  5. Totally optional: Garnish with whipped cream or a marshmallow (sweet potato casserole, anyone?)
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