If you normally take your iced coffee with plain old cream and sugar, you'll find that Starbucks recently-introduced Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew will really hit the spot. It's icy, smooth, and perfectly sweetened with vanilla syrup.
Maybe you've tried this drink at Starbucks, or maybe you've just found yourself drooling over the mouthwatering window advertisements. Either way, you don't have to rely on Starbucks' baristas to make this drink for you: just follow these simple directions to make your own vanilla sweet cream cold brew at home.
Cold brew iced coffee is crafted by fully immersing coarsely ground coffee in cold water over a long period of time (usually 18 to 24 hours). The long brewing time is responsible for making cold brew extra sweet and much less acidic than hot drip coffee. The sweeter flavor of cold brew pairs excellently with cream, which is what makes vanilla sweet cream cold brew so genius.
Most coffee shops (and some home brewers) use a Toddy to make their cold-brewed iced coffee. If you don't want to invest in a Toddy and filters, you can just as easily make cold brew using a bowl and cheesecloth like I did.
To make this vanilla sweet cream cold brew, I recommend using a vanilla bean to make your own vanilla simple syrup (instructions below) for an outstandingly natural vanilla flavor. However, if you want to skip that step, feel free to use bottled vanilla syrup. In fact, you can purchase Starbucks' own vanilla syrup online.
For the cold brew:
- 1 c. good quality coarsely ground coffee
- 4 c. cold, filtered water
- 2 large bowls
For the vanilla sweet cream:
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- heavy cream to taste
To make the most flavorful cold brew, you will need freshly ground coffee that is ground on the coarsest grind setting. Feel free to ask your favorite coffee shop's barista to grind a bag of coffee for cold brew at purchase, or purchase and grind yourself at your grocery store.
Measure out a cup of the ground coffee into a large bowl. Then pour the cold, filtered water over the coffee.
Use a spoon to stir the grinds and water together. Stirring will fully immerse the grounds in water and ensure an even infusion of the coffee flavor into the liquid. Cover the bowl of cold brew coffee and let it sit at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours.
When the coffee is done steeping, place a piece of cheesecloth over another large bowl, then slowly pour the bowl of cold brew over the cheesecloth to catch the grinds. Carefully fold the cheesecloth ends together and lift up to reveal a clean batch of grind-free cold brew.
Store the coffee in the fridge until ready to use. Refrigerated cold brew will keep well for up to one week.
Simple syrup is made by heating equal parts sugar and water together in a pot until all of the sugar granules are dissolved.
To make a sweet, aromatic batch of vanilla simple syrup, before heating the sugar and water, simply scrape in the seeds and throw in the pod of a vanilla bean. When you make this vanilla simple syrup, or any infused simple syrup, you often add in the infusing ingredient as the sugar melts into the water so that the whole thing is fully infused.
Let your vanilla simple syrup cool for at least one hour before using. For an even more intense vanilla flavor, store the leftover syrup in the fridge with the vanilla bean pod; if you want your syrup less infused, just toss the pod.
Finally, it's time to caffeinate. Start by filling half your glass with cold brew, then add heavy cream until the coffee turns lighter in color. Obviously, you can add as much or as little as you prefer.
Add a tablespoon or two of the vanilla simple syrup depending on how sweet you like your coffee.
Lastly, stir it all together and sip a velvety smooth glass of ice cold vanilla sweet cream cold brew in your very own home.
Now that you know how to make cold brew like the professionals, you can skip the crazy coffee line in the morning and enjoy your caffeine in a glass (cold brew tastes so much better out of a glass than in a plastic cup). Before you know it, you'll be a master cold brewer and making this coffee will become a part of your weekly routine. Cheers to vanilla sweet cream cold brew!