Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Recipe: So Easy To Make At Home!
Starbucks’ vanilla sweet cream cold brew recipe is a refreshing take on the smooth, chocolatey plain cold brew coffee. Topped by a pillow of homemade vanilla sweet cream, this slightly sweetened cold brew coffee is dangerously addictive.
But you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy it. With a little patience and time, you can make this delicious Starbucks copycat recipe at home.
Read on for Home Grounds’ take on this recipe.
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Ingredients
- Ice cubes, optional
- 175 ml cold brew concentrate
- 175 ml cold water
- 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup, or to taste
- Generous dollop of vanilla cold foam
- Chocolate covered espresso beans, optional
- Cocoa powder, optional
AT A GLANCE:
Now, if you plan to DIY some of the ingredients, here’s a detailed list of what you’ll need.
For the cold brew concentrate:
- ½ cup dark roast, coarsely ground coffee beans
- ½ cup medium roast, coarsely ground coffee beans
- 950 ml room-temperature water
- 1-litre French press or 1-litre mason jar
- Coffee filters, optional
For the vanilla syrup:
- 2 cups room-temperature water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract, or ⅛ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Cheesecloth, paper coffee filters, or fine mesh sieve
For the DIY vanilla cold foam:
- 120 ml heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 teaspoons icing sugar, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla syrup
- 1-litre French press, chilled
- Milk frother, optional
The Science Behind Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is a fundamentally different drink than conventional, filter coffee. Everything — from the acidity to the balance of the cup profile — is drastically changed by the simple process of steeping coarsely ground coffee beans at room temperature for several hours.
Why? This is because the contact between hot water and coffee grounds extracts certain aromatic compounds at a faster rate. Some of these compounds are responsible for the bitter, astringent flavours we often associate with burned coffee (1).
In 2015, Starbucks wanted to develop a smoother cold coffee beverage. While it already had iced coffee on the menu, cold brew offered a unique, naturally sweet cup profile that could be combined with milder flavours (2).
How to Make Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
To make cold brew at home, you’ll just need a few simple tools: a 1-litre French press, some cheesecloth or paper coffee filters, and a half-and-half blend of dark roast and medium roast coffee beans.
Why the blend? Combining these two roast levels yields a full-bodied cup with brighter, citrus notes and darker, more complex chocolatey and nutty notes.
While you can let your coffee beans steep in the fridge, we’ve found that letting our cold brew steep at room temperature produces a more balanced cup. Finally, once the cold brew is ready, you can refine the cup even more by passing the cold brew coffee through paper filters or cheesecloth.
How to make vanilla sweet cream cold brew
Finally, as in our vanilla iced coffee and Irish cream cold brew recipes, we’ll need to put together a simple homemade vanilla sweet cream. But before you make this vanilla sweet cream, be sure you’ve made and chilled your vanilla syrup first.
What Is in Starbucks Sweet Cream?
Starbucks adds heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla syrup to their vanilla sweet cream recipe. Yet, to make this a sugar-free vanilla sweet cream cold brew coffee, you’ll need to replace the granulated and brown sugars with a sugar substitute, like monkfruit, in both the syrup and cold foam.
And with that, let’s make this Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew.
How to Make the Starbucks’ Vanilla Cream Cold Brew at Home (Copycat Recipe)
Cold brew coffee is among the most popular coffee drinks to order in Starbucks on a hot, summer day. Aromatic, full-bodied, and naturally sweet, this cold brew coffee is a great low-calorie way to get your caffeine fix.
So, while Starbucks’ plain cold brew coffee is great, sometimes, an especially stressful week demands a treat: the Starbucks Vanilla Cream Cold Brew.
1. Make Your Batch of Cold Brew
In a 1-litre French press or mason jar, combine ½ cup of dark roast, coarsely ground coffee beans and ½ cup of medium roast, coarsely ground coffee beans. Add 950 ml of room-temperature water and let it sit on your countertop for at least 16 hours —though 20 hours is better.
Pro Tip: Once your homemade cold brew coffee concentrate is done steeping, you can strain it through cheesecloth or two stacked coffee filters to further refine the taste.
2. Make the Vanilla Syrup
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of room-temperature water, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup packed brown sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer on medium heat.
Once the simple syrup is at a low simmer, add 1 scraped vanilla bean, ⅛ teaspoon of vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste. Let this simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it’s thoroughly combined.
Once 20 minutes have elapsed, take the vanilla syrup off the heat, and let it cool completely before straining. This vanilla syrup will be good for at least six months if you store it in a sealed jar or airtight container.
Pro Tip: If you want a vanilla syrup with an even smoother texture, strain the cooled vanilla syrup through paper coffee filters, a fine mesh sieve, or cheesecloth.
3. Make the homemade vanilla sweet cream
In a 1-litre chilled French press, add 120 ml of cold, heavy whipping cream, 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup, and 2-3 teaspoons of icing sugar. Stir to combine.
Then, gently place the lid on top and start incorporating air using the French press’s plunger until it almost doubles in volume. This can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes, but if your French press is sufficiently chilled, this process will take less time.
Pro Tip: Alternatively, you can use a handheld milk frother to make the task go faster. Be sure to use a chilled, metal bowl, as it will help the sweet cream hold its shape.
4. Assemble the Vanilla Cream Cold Brew
In a chilled 475-ml glass, start by adding your ice cubes, then 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup, 175 ml of cold brew coffee concentrate, and 175 ml of cold water. Stir to combine.
Finish your drink off with a generous dollop of vanilla sweet cream. And if you’re entertaining guests, garnish the vanilla sweet cream cold brew with 2-3 dark chocolate-covered espresso beans and a light dusting of cocoa powder.
This Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is an easy way to elevate your plain, cold brew coffee to a decadent, afternoon treat. Pair this Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Starbucks copycat recipe with a slice of pound cake or a refreshing fruit parfait.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy this Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew? Drop us a comment below, tag and follow us on Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or chat with us in our Home Grounds Facebook group.
There are approximately 110 calories in a grande Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. As per the Starbucks US website, one 475-ml serving of this cold brew also contains 14 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat (3).
Yes, you can use non-dairy milk in this Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. Though almost any non-dairy milk will work for this cold brew coffee, Home Grounds suggests using oat milk for the creamiest flavour.
You can incorporate the leftover vanilla sweet cream into desserts, other cold brew coffee drinks, hot coffee drinks, and even desserts.
Yes, you can make this homemade sweet cream sugar-free. To do this, substitute the powdered sugar and the brown and granulated sugars in the vanilla syrup with either erythritol or monkfruit sweetener. Following these instructions will let you make a sugar-free vanilla sweet cream cold brew.
Yes, you can make cold brew with decaf coffee. Simply use a 50-50 blend of dark and medium roast decaf coffee beans and follow the cold brew instructions above.
- Ouellette, J. (2020, April 9). The chemistry of cold-brew coffee is so hot right now. Ars Technica; Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/the-chemistry-of-cold-brew-coffee-is-so-hot-right-now/
- Starbucks to Launch New Cold Brew Iced Coffee in Over 2,600 U.S. Stores. (2015). Starbucks Stories. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2015/starbucks-cold-brew/
- Starbucks®. (2023). @Starbucks; Starbucks. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2121859/iced