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The perfect PSL

One of the best things about fall for coffee lovers is the return of pumpkin spice lattes. There’s just something about the smell and taste of a pumpkin pie added to coffee that makes fall mornings extra special.

Most drinks with ‘pumpkin spice’ in their name include cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves — or some variation of those spices traditionally used in making a pumpkin pie. LaMo Café in Turlock takes the traditional PSL to the next level with all natural ingredients and locally brewed coffee.

“What makes our coffee shop I think so special is that every syrup that you get here and you add to any of your beverages is all made from scratch. Nothing is made with anything weird in it — no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup; everything’s made with pure cane sugar, real milk, real whatever it is,” said LaMo owner Hillary Smith.

The LaMo staff makes up the specialty drink mixes several times every week so that they are fresh, said Smith. Their PSL features pumpkin puree that is simmered with pumpkin pie spices, real vanilla (from the bean), real brown sugar and water.

“We simmer and simmer and it gets this really nice deep flavor and you can add that to espresso to make it a latte or you can add it to cold brew or you can add it to chai to make a pumpkin chai latte,” said Smith.

Their specialty drink recipes are created in their home kitchens by trial and error. 

“Most of our recipes, actually all of them, are just by taste because we cook so much. My sister and I and our manager Bree kind of know what’s going to go into something even without looking at a recipe so we just with trial and error created this,” said Smith.

Along with their handcrafted mixes, LaMo Café uses locally brewed coffee from El Camino Coffee Roasters in Oakdale and Mast Coffee in Sacramento.

The founder of El Camino Coffee Roasters is a former LaMo barista, said Smith.

“All of our coffee is fresh. If you go to most big-name corporate coffee shops, they roast who knows how old beans; they could be six months old. All of our beans, we like to sell and serve them within a few weeks so they’re really fresh and so the oils are still on the coffee. Nothing has a rancid taste, which you don’t realize that we get so used to that taste at all these big coffee shops here, you’re never going to have that flavor. It’s all really fresh, the oils are fresh everything and we do not serve coffee past several weeks old,” said Smith.

To go along with their freshly-made coffee and tea drinks, LaMo also has an in-house baker. Smith highly recommends the pumpkin loaf, apple spice cupcakes and the shop’s signature macaroons (when available).

A fall trip to LaMo for a PSL and a sweet treat can be enjoyed on the café’s outdoor covered patio, which features heat lamps for comfort during chilly days.