Here’s my issue. I love Starbucks, but I’m ballin’ on a budget, so I don’t always have Starbucks money. Feel me? You may not want to admit it, but you probably feel me. It happens to the best of us. But I have a solution. I’m here to help you become your own barista, and pretty soon you’ll be able to make some of the most classic Starbucks drinks—hot OR iced—from the comfort of your own home! And if you buy all the ingredients up front, you’ll probably save money on coffee in the long run, which is a huge plus.
This is the perfect drink for a hot day (or a cheat day), and it’s the drink that got me hooked on Starbucks years before I discovered my need for pure shots of bitter espresso straight into my bloodstream. And this recipe was actually featured on Good Morning America, so you know it’s a good copycat!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup of large ice cubes
- 2 shots of espresso, OR 1/3 cup of cool, strongly brewed coffee. This is up to you!
- 1/2 cup of cold milk (any milk you prefer works just fine)
- 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce
- 3 tablespoons of caramel syrup (Most grocery stores actually sell multiple flavors of coffee syrups in pumps, just like at Starbucks, and they’re not that expensive at all. Check it out!)
- Optional: Xanthan gum. This is basically a thickening agent that you can use to get that frappe kind of texture, but adding more ice works just as well.
All you have to do is blend this together for about 30 seconds, or until it reaches the texture you want! And, because you’re the barista after all, feel free to get even more generous with the caramel. For authenticity, top it off with some whipped cream and a little more caramel sauce for good measure.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
The fall-time favorite that I admittedly have still never tried has quickly become synonymous with the Starbucks name, so I’d be certifiably insane to not teach you how to make it at home. That way, you could start every day with a PSL. And, you’re saving even more money because this recipe even teaches you how to make your own syrup! You’re so welcome.
For the syrup, you’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 ½ cup of sugar
- 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
And for the latte:
- 8 oz. of milk (whichever you prefer)
- 4 oz. of espresso OR a strongly brewed coffee
- 2 tablespoons of your pumpkin spice syrup (This is just a suggestion—use it to your taste!)
To actually make the latte, you should start off with the syrup. For that, you’ll want to simmer the water and sugar in a pan over medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves. After that, add your pumpkin puree and spices and stir for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain. When the syrup cools, refrigerate it in an airtight container.
For the latte, you’ll want to start by heating your milk for one minute and then frothing it a bit with a blender or whisk. Put your syrup at the bottom of your cup, then add your coffee and frothed milk. For that PSL effect, top with whipped cream and some pumpkin pie spice.
White Chocolate Mocha
This is actually one of Starbucks’ most popular drinks. It’s my go-to when I’m craving something very sweet, and it’s the everyday order of none other than Kim Kardashian West. Celebrities, they’re just like us. Now, this recipe calls for about 3 tablespoons of white chocolate chips rather than syrup, but if you like it much sweeter, just add more chocolate!
Here’s what you need:
- 1 ¼ cups of strong brewed coffee (You can replace this with a couple shots of your favorite espresso.)
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 3 tablespoons of white chocolate chips (Like I said, feel free to add more to taste!)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Optional: whipped cream, to make it picture-perfect
So, all you have to do is combine your coffee, milk, and white chocolate chips in a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat for one or two minutes. Make sure to stir or whisk often! Then, when it’s all combined, pour it and serve with some whipped cream and shaved white chocolate on top.
Hot or iced, the Starbucks vanilla latte is my thing. It’s so simple, yet so delicious. It’s even perfect with any kind of milk—regular, soy, coconut, you name it! And this one is so easy, you don’t even need a recipe. Froth your favorite milk with a whisk or blender, add your preferred espresso or strong coffee, and pick up some vanilla syrup from your local grocery store. With summer coming up, I strongly suggest making this over some ice.
Iced Caramel Macchiato
Perhaps the most Instagram-worthy drink on this list, the iced caramel macchiato looks difficult because the espresso is so beautifully layered on the milk, but I promise it’s super simple, thanks to this recipe.
Hit up your local supermarket for:
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla syrup
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- 1 cup of cold milk
- 2 shots espresso
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of caramel sauce
- Optional: caramel syrup, depending on how sweet you want your drink.
First, put the vanilla syrup (and the additional caramel syrup, if you choose) and some caramel sauce at the bottom of your cup. Then add the milk and ice.
Over the ice, slowly pour your espresso. The coffee will layer naturally on top of the milk. I know a lot of people choose to mix that until they blend, but I actually enjoy it separated. Drizzle a little more caramel sauce on top for extra flavor.
Chai Tea Latte
This drink is one of Starbucks’ bestsellers, and I STILL haven’t tried it. There used to be a time when I would leave for Starbucks and my dad would always yell, “Get me a Chai Tea Latte,” so this is the first one on this list I’m dying to make for myself. While Starbucks sells Tazo tea cups for your Keurig, it’s a little more fun to run down the spice aisle at the store and get everything you need to follow this super authentic recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 cups of water
- 3 cups of milk
- 6 black tea bags
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
First, heat the water and milk in a saucepan, stirring occasionally over moderate heat until it starts to simmer. Then remove it from the heat and add your tea bags and spices.
Get it back on the heat and let it simmer for five minutes. That way you’ll get a really nice steep going. Finally, remove it from the heat and strain. Drink it immediately for a warm and cozy feeling.
Passion Tea Lemonade
In what is perhaps the most basic thing in the world, I stop in a Starbucks drive through once a week every summer on the way to beach volleyball for one of these things. The passion tea lemonade is as addicting as it is delicious, and I think it’s just as good unsweetened.
- 2 Tazo Passion Tea Bags
- 8 oz. of water
- Lemonade (Any brand you like. My favorites are Minute Maid and Simply.)
- Optional: Sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
You’ll need to boil water and steep the tea first and foremost, because tea just doesn’t dissolve to its fullest in cold water. You’ll also need to add the sugar in now (if you so choose) for the same reason; it’ll dissolve much better in hot tea. When you’ve boiled water and you’re satisfied with your tea, refrigerate it for a little while. When it’s ready, fill your cup with ice. The recommended ratio for the passion tea lemonade is one part tea, two parts lemonade. That way it’ll be naturally sweet.
Yeah, it’s a holiday drink, but I probably drink as many of these in a year as I do any other Starbucks drink, so I can’t imagine any kind of Starbucks article without the peppermint mocha. Shoutout to this recipe for making it possible for me to enjoy a piping hot peppermint mocha in the middle of July. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
Here are your ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1 cup of brewed coffee, OR 1-2 shots of espresso
- 2 tablespoons of chopped chocolate (milk, dark, or both!)
- Peppermint extract (NOT to be confused with mint extract. Peppermint is a strong flavor, so use to your taste, but the recommended amount is anywhere between 1/8 and 1/4 of a teaspoon)
- Optional: Sugar, honey, agave, or any other kind of sweetener you may want to add. Personally, I think the chocolate makes this drink plenty sweet, but feel free to experiment.
In a pan, heat the milk, coffee, sugar (if you use it), and chocolate, stirring frequently until the chocolate is completely melted. Then add in the peppermint extract and simmer the drink for another minute. To get really creative, top it with whipped cream and crushed candy canes (which, I’ll admit, may be hard to find in the middle of July. I won’t tell anyone if you use the peppermint candies from your grandma’s house).
The wildly popular flat white got me through midterms and finals week in college. I’m not kidding. Now you’ll know how to make something to get through all your stress and exhaustion!
- 2 shots of espresso
- 1 cup of milk
- Optional: sugar, to taste
The key to a successful flat white is a fine, frothy milk. If you actually have a frother, now is the time to use it! If not, you can blend or whisk the milk until it froths. All you need to do is pour the milk over the coffee when you’re satisfied with the froth. Stir in sugar to taste, but this is a drink that I think is actually better without the sweetener.
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.