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How to Make Starbucks Cold Brew (Simple Steps)

Cold brew

Cold brew is smooth, mellow, and incredibly delicious. The version available at Starbucks is especially tasty — full of vanilla or caramel sweet cream. The good news? You don’t have to find a Starbucks and fork over a small fortune to enjoy it!

Here’s our easy recipe (complete with brewing tips) for how to make Starbucks cold brew at home. It’s so simple and affordable that you may want to skip coffee shops altogether!

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How to Make Starbucks Cold Brew:

For this guide, we’re putting together our favorite Starbucks cold brew version: vanilla sweet cream. If you prefer a different flavor or a version without sugar, take look at our brewing tips below! Now let’s get started:

Ingredients
  • Medium or dark roast coffee (Starbucks or other brands)
  • Filtered water
  • Whole vanilla bean
  • White sugar
  • Milk
  • Whipping cream
  • Ice
Equipment
  • Cold brew maker, French press, or mason jar
  • Filter
  • Large glass
  • Saucepan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk

1. Make the cold brew.

RJ3 brewing
The RJ3 is very easy to use.

Grind your coffee beans coarsely and add them to your cold brew maker (we like the Ovalware RJ3), French press, or mason jar. Then top with room temperature filtered water. We recommend starting with a coffee to water ratio of 1:5 (one part coffee, five parts water). If you’re making 30 ounces of cold brew, you’ll need 6 ounces of ground coffee. Now leave your cold brew to steep for 16 hours on the counter or 18 hours in the refrigerator.

SEE ALSO: How Long to Steep Cold Brew (Expert Tips)

2. Filter your cold brew.

Coffee Bros. cold brew

Once it finishes steeping, filter your cold brew concentrate to remove the coffee grounds. If you’re not using a French press or cold brew maker, you can pour the mixture through a paper filter in a pour-over coffee maker or a cheesecloth draped over a bowl.

3. Make the vanilla simple syrup.

vanilla syrup

While the cold brew is brewing, you can whip up a quick vanilla simple syrup. Bring sugar, water, and a whole vanilla bean to a boil in a small saucepan. Once it’s boiling, remove the pan from the heat and carefully take out the vanilla bean. Let the syrup cool.

4. Make the sweet cream.

Now it’s time to make that amazing sweet cream! Pour milk, whipping cream, and your vanilla simple syrup into a bowl. Whisk vigorously until you have a creamy, frothy consistency. You can also pour the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it well.

5. Put it all together and enjoy!

non dairy coffee creamer coconut milk

Fill a tall glass with ice (or coffee ice, if you have some on hand). Pour the cold brew concentrate into the glass, leaving room for a splash of water. Then pour the sweet cream on top. You’ll be amazed at how beautiful the cream is as it mixes with your cold brew! That’s it — time to start enjoying your treat.

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Starbucks Cold Brew Brewing Tips:

Now that you know how to make a classic vanilla sweet cream Starbucks cold brew, it’s time for our brewing tips! You can easily customize this drink to your taste buds and dietary needs. Here are some suggestions:

What kind of coffee beans should you use?

high-quality coffee beans

If you want to replicate the traditional Starbucks cold brew, you’ll of course want to use Starbucks coffee beans. Try the Pike Place medium roast or the French roast for a darker variety. You can also use any other brand of coffee beans, though we’d recommend avoiding light roasts. The complex floral notes will be overpowered by the sweet cream, and you may miss the caramelly dark flavors. One brand that works particularly well is Lifeboost — these beans are low-acid, single-origin, and oh-so-tasty.

Want to skip the sugar?

coffee sugar

The Starbucks cold brew in our recipe is undeniably delicious, but it does have more than a few calories (110, to be exact). Luckily, you can easily cut out the sugar by skipping the vanilla simple syrup. You can still make sweet cream — though of course, it won’t be particularly sweet — without the syrup.

What about a caramel version?

Many of us love caramel in coffee, especially dark roast coffee, since it plays up the caramel notes naturally present in the beans. If caramel is more your thing than vanilla, you can make a caramel simple syrup instead. Skip the vanilla bean and cook the water and sugar mixture until it turns — you guessed it — a nice caramel color.

RELATED READ: How to Make Coffee Syrups (Tasty & Affordable)

Can you use alternative types of milk?

oat milk almond milk
You can use non-dairy milk like oat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.

Starbucks offers a lot of alternative milk drinks, like their newest Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew. This tasty drink is made with almond milk instead of the regular sweet cream. Whisk almond milk with honey to make a tasty dairy-free creamer.


Cold brew

Easy Starbucks-Style Cold Brew

For this guide, we’re putting together our favorite Starbucks cold brew version: vanilla sweet cream. If you prefer a different flavor or a version without sugar, take look at our brewing tips below! Now let’s get started.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Steep Time 16 hrs
Total Time 16 hrs 15 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 3
Calories 70 kcal

Equipment

  • Cold brew maker, French press, or mason jar
  • Filter
  • Large glass
  • Saucepan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk

Ingredients
 

Cold Brew

Sweet Cream

  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

Instructions
 

  • Make the cold brew. Grind your coffee beans coarsely and add them to your cold brew maker (we like the Ovalware RJ3), French press, or mason jar. Then top with room temperature filtered water. We recommend starting with a coffee to water ratio of 1:5 (one part coffee, five parts water). If you’re making 30 ounces of cold brew, you’ll need 6 ounces of ground coffee. Now leave your cold brew to steep for 16 hours on the counter or 18 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Filter your cold brew. Once it finishes steeping, filter your cold brew concentrate to remove the coffee grounds. If you’re not using a French press or cold brew maker, you can pour the mixture through a paper filter in a pour-over coffee maker or a cheesecloth draped over a bowl.
  • Make the vanilla simple syrup. While the cold brew is brewing, you can whip up a quick vanilla simple syrup. Bring sugar, water, and a whole vanilla bean to a boil in a small saucepan. Once it’s boiling, remove the pan from the heat and carefully take out the vanilla bean. Let the syrup cool.
  • Make the sweet cream. Now it’s time to make that amazing sweet cream! Pour the milk, whipping cream, and 1 tablespoon of your vanilla simple syrup into a bowl. Whisk vigorously until you have a creamy, frothy consistency. You can also pour the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it well.
  • Put it all together and enjoy! Fill a tall glass with ice (or coffee ice, if you have some on hand). Pour the cold brew concentrate into the glass, leaving room for a splash of water. Then pour the sweet cream on top. You’ll be amazed at how beautiful the cream is as it mixes with your cold brew!

Nutrition

Calories: 70kcal
Keyword starbucks, Starbucks cold brew

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The Bottom Line

We hope you enjoyed this Starbucks cold brew recipe! Now it’s time to get out there and start brewing. Whip up a big batch of cold brew concentrate and sweet cream to enjoy this drink all week — without putting in any extra work! At that point, it’s practically as convenient as buying cold brew at Starbucks, and a whole lot cheaper.

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Featured Image: New Africa, Shutterstock

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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