I love coffee more than I love most things, and I rely on it to function each day, so this Test Kitchen is near and dear to my heart.
My first taste of coffee was at 13, when my aunt bought me a caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks while we were back-to-school shopping. I was thrilled. I thought it was a great treat, and I’d never felt more grown up.
Once I started journalism graduate school, however, I stopped viewing coffee as an occasional indulgence, and it became the primary thing keeping me alive.
Today, I pretty much drink whatever combination of hot coffee-plus-milk I can get my hands on each morning, and I’ll sometimes spring for a Starbucks drink if I’m feeling fancy.
For this Test Kitchen, I wanted to try making some of my favorite coffee-shop drinks at home. It’s summer, so I rounded up a few cold coffees that are easy to replicate. I’m pleased to report they’re all delicious.
My favorite of the bunch is the coffee sensation that took social media by storm this spring: whipped coffee. If you’ve seen the photos but haven’t tried it yourself, you’re missing out.
I own an immersion blender, and that made the whipping part really easy. (It still took probably at least five minutes.) I threw in some vanilla at the end and then whipped it for another minute or so.
The whipped coffee sits on top of the milk and slowly sinks into it. It’s the perfect combination of creamy and sweet.
The recipe I used says this makes enough for two servings, but I easily drank it all myself because I am wild like that.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, I’d suggest the at-home cold brew recipe I found.
Day one is super simple: Just dump the coffee grounds in water and walk away. Day two requires a lot more time, but it also yields a ton of coffee.
I cut this recipe in half since I am one person, so I put 16 cups of water in with a half-pound of coffee. (I used Café Bustelo.)
I don’t have any cheesecloth, so instead I strained my coffee concentrate through a double layer of paper towels over a bowl, which worked.
And, for research, I tried the coffee with the sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half like the recipe suggested. It’s great.
For my final recipe, I decided to return to my roots and attempt to recreate a Frappuccino.
The instant coffee in this recipe makes it much more coffee-forward than I expected and keeps the drink from getting too liquid.
The whole thing took maybe two minutes to whip up.
If you’re making this just for yourself, cut this recipe or else, you will have an entire blender full of mocha frappe.
Also, my chocolate chips I threw in at the end didn’t chop up thoroughly enough and just fell to the bottom of the blender, so I’d probably put them in at the beginning if I made this again.
3 tablespoons instant coffee
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons hot water
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Add the instant coffee, sugar and hot or boiling
water to large liquid measuring cup.
2. Whip with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture is completely fluffy and has lightened in color. We used one beater on the hand mixer so it would fit into the measuring cup well.
3. Whisk in the vanilla at the end, if you are adding.
4. Divide the milk among two glasses and top with ice.
5. Split the whipped coffee over the top of each glass and serve immediately.
Perfect Iced Coffee
1 pound ground coffee (good, rich roast)
8 quarts cold water
Half-and-half (healthy splash per serving)
Sweetened condensed milk (2 to 3 tablespoons per serving)
1. In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature 12 hours or overnight.
2. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.
3. Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.
4. To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.
Mocha Chip Frappe
1 1/2 cups milk of choice
2 heaping tablespoons instant coffee
1/4 cup chocolate fudge sauce
3 cups ice cubes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Whipped cream for topping, optional
Chocolate syrup for topping, optional
Mini chocolate chips for topping, optional
1. Add the milk, instant coffee, chocolate fudge sauce and ice cubes to a blender. Blend for 1 minute. Add the chocolate chips, and blend for 10 to 15 seconds to break up the chips a little but not completely blended.
2. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips and chocolate syrup, if desired. Serve immediately.