Strong cold brew coffee can literally give me the shakes, which is why I love the Starbucks sweet cream version. A Grande size only contains 185 milligrams of caffeine (as well as 110 calories) which is just enough to get rid of those bags under my eyes—but not too much that I feel like I’m in hyper-drive. I would argue it’s the perfect coffee drink. After all, it features dark, smooth coffee poured over ice, then topped with rich vanilla cream that slowly floats down, incorporating the whole cup with its sweet flavor. Yum.
The only problem is those daily trips to Starbucks are not easy on the wallet. Luckily I can whip up a batch of this tasty drink at home and still get my fix with just a few ingredients. Here’s how to make your own vanilla sweet cream cold brew.
How to Make Copycat Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
For the cold brew coffee:
1 cup coarsely ground coffee
6-7 cups cold water
For the vanilla sweet cream:
1 vanilla bean
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Step 1: Make the cold brew coffee
Place the coffee grounds in a clean glass container and pour in the cold water. Cover the container and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. The longer the coffee steeps, the stronger the flavor. When the coffee is done steeping, strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve, then again through a coffee filter. For more detailed instructions, check out our guide to making cold brew.
Editor’s Tip: If you have a French press, making cold brew is even easier! Simply mix the coffee and water in the French press chamber, but don’t press down the plunger. After steeping overnight, slowly press the plunger down. The built-in mesh filter separates the grounds for you in one easy step.
Step 2: Make the vanilla sweet cream
For the cream, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the center into a small saucepan; then add the bean. Add condensed milk, whipping cream and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Discard vanilla bean and let the mixture cool completely.
Editor’s Tip: Trying to cut back on sugar? Substitute the sweetened condensed milk with 1 1/2 cup of almond milk (or one of these other milk alternatives), then add 1/4 teaspoon of stevia powder to sweeten.
Step 3: Combine coffee and cream
Fill a serving glass with ice. Add cold brew, leaving a little room for cream at the top. Add your preferred amount of sweet vanilla cream and serve. You can store the vanilla sweet cream and cold brew coffee in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Make It Your Own
Want to switch up your cold brew game? Different flavored creamers will brighten up your day. Here’s a list of our favorite options:
Tipsy Cold Brew: Follow this recipe for a boozy iced coffee spiked with amaretto. Simply trade the hot coffee for cold brew.
Honey-Spice: Mix together milk, honey, molasses, sugar and spices for a cold brew to ring in fall. Get the recipe.
Cinnamon Mocha: Add a splash of half-and-half cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
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Get Our Recipe for Chai Tea Latte
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Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.