Be Your Own Barista: How to Make Three Fancy Coffee Drinks at Home

If you’re tired of spending $17.50 a day on that Triple Soy Mocha Frappe Swilydoo, but you just can’t get through the day without your favorite coffee beverage, then you’ve come to the right place. You don’t need that uppity barista with his or her fancy machinery and stylish haircut to enjoy a great coffee drink, you just need a few fine ingredients, some basic kitchen tools you probably have already, and the patience to learn how to make Starbucks-style coffee drinks at home.

Here’s how you can ditch the coffee shop but keep on enjoying the taste and the buzz with great homemade fancy coffee drinks. If you’re looking for coffee cocktails, you’ll find those here, but if you want something without an ABV, you’ll find recipes for homemade versions of the following below:

  • Chai Tea Latte
  • Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte (think of the bonus points you’ll get if you can whip one of these up for the girl that stays over)

Now without further ado, the recipes.

Chai Tea Latte (Hot or Iced)

how to make coffee drinks at home chai tea

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is a tea drink, not a coffee drink — I get it. But it’s one of the most popular beverages that Starbucks sells, and as it’s really nothing more than spiced black tea with lots of milk, you really should learn to make it at home and not give those fat cats all your fat stacks. Here’s the 4-1-1 on the CTL:


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk (2 percent or whole)
  • 2 bags black tea
  • 3.25 tbsp honey
  • .5 tsp cardamom
  • .25 tsp nutmeg
  • .25 tsp ground ginger
  • .25 tsp cloves

Method: Mix 1 cup of water, 1 cup of milk and heat the blend over medium heat until it simmers (you don’t want to go too high and scald the milk). Cut the heat and add honey. Stir to incorporate, then add tea bags. Next, add cardamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Bring the milk, water, honey, tea, and spice blend back to a low simmer and stir for 3 more minutes.

And you’re done! Get the tea bags out, pour and enjoy. Or let it cool a bit, then pour over ice and enjoy. Oh, and consider topping with a bit of cinnamon for looks, too.

Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino

how to make coffee drinks at home cafe frappucino

More milkshake than coffee drink, the Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino is nonetheless delicious, and it does pack a bit of caffeine punch. And calories. Like 500+, FYI, so keep that in mind.


  • 1.5 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 oz espresso or 3-4 oz black coffee
  • .25 tsp vanilla extract
  • whipped cream (optional)

Method: Combine ice with vanilla ice cream and blend until they’re completely mixed. Pour in espresso (or coffee) and vanilla extract. Blend again for a few seconds.

Yeah, that’s it. It’s ice cream blended with ice and coffee, and a dash of vanilla because vanilla. Oh, and feel free to top with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

how to make coffee drinks at home pumpkin spice latte

This one is all about the syrup — once you have a batch of that made, you can make a pumpkin spice latte at home in a matter of minutes. So let’s start there.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup*


  • 2 cups simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water ratio)
  • .5 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • .5 tsp ground clove
  • .5 tsp ginger

Method:Mix all the stuff and simmer it for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain it, cool it, and store it.

Pumpkin Spice Latte


  • 6 oz milk
  • 5 oz espresso
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin spice syrup*
  • Whipped cream, optional

Method: Heat and then froth milk (you can use a dedicated frother, a blender, or you can do some serious whisking). Brew five ounces of espresso or five or six ounces of strong coffee. Blend the coffee with two tablespoons of the pumpkin spice syrup*. Pour in milk. Top with whipped cream and another dash of syrup if you’d like. And you’d like, wouldn’t you?

There, the fall “classic,” demystified!

Bonus! Homemade Iced Coffee

how to make coffee drinks at home iced

Iced coffee is just so refreshing on a warm day or after a hard workout in any season, but how to make yourself the perfect cup? Bear with me…


  • Brewed black coffee
  • Ice

Method: Brew your favorite black coffee. Pour it over a lot of ice.

(OK, flippancy aside, here’s one real tip: be sure to brew a pot that’s a bit stronger than usual if you’re going to ice it.)

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