This Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is just like the version at Starbucks – it's so creamy & refreshing, and the cold brew coffee can be made easily at home!
Ingredients in vanilla sweet cream cold brew
For the cold brew coffee
- Filtered water – This will give you the best flavor, although you can use tap water.
- Ground coffee – For a taste as close as possible to the Starbucks cold brew, use a medium or dark roast blend of coffee.
For the vanilla syrup
- Sugar – regular granulated white
- Whole vanilla bean – You can usually find whole beans in the baking aisle of the grocery store. You can also use vanilla extract instead
For the sweet cream
- Whipping cream
- Vanilla syrup
How to make cold brew coffee
The process of brewing the coffee is very simple, but you will definitely want to plan ahead. This is because cold brew needs to steep in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- Mix the filtered water and coffee grounds together in a large pitcher. Place in the fridge overnight or up to 48 hours, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
- Place a piece of cheesecloth into a fine mesh strainer, then set it on top of a large pitcher. Slowly pour the coffee through the cheesecloth, taking your time so that no coffee grounds end up in the pitcher.
- Make the vanilla syrup (instructions below).
- Make the sweet cream (instructions below).
- Add a handful of ice to a large glass or mason jar, then add 2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup over the ice.
- Top with 2 cups of cold coffee, then add 1/4 cup of sweet cream on top.
How to make the vanilla syrup
- Add water to a saucepan over high heat. When it comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Alternatively, you can boil water in a kettle and mix with the sugar.
- Next, add the bean to the sugar syrup.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely, then discard the vanilla bean and store the sugar syrup in the refrigerator.
How to make the sweet cream
- Place the milk, heavy cream and vanilla extract into a large glass measuring cup or mason jar. Whisk to combine, or place the lid on the mason jar and shake vigorously.
- You can also blend or froth the sweet cream to make it foamier. If you do this, add it to your cold brew right away, before it collapses.
- Vanilla bean – If you can’t find whole vanilla beans, substitute with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Milk – The Starbucks cold brew is made with 2% milk, but whole milk makes for a creamier drink and you can sub it for the whipping cream altogether in a pinch. Nonfat milk may also work, but the sweet cream will have a looser texture.
- Sweet cream – If you need a dairy free or vegan version, use plant-based milk and a vegan whipping cream substitute.
Additionally, coconut cream can also be used in place of the whipping cream. However, it may affect the overall flavour.
- Sugar – To cut the calories and carbs in your drink, you can swap out traditional granulated sugar for any cup-for-cup sugar substitute.
Is this drink healthy?
On its own, cold brew coffee is low in calories and it’s also fat free. Enjoying the sweet cream version will add fat, calories, and carbs, but the good news is that you can control the amount of sugar and sweet cream that you add.
Plus, if you substitute the sugar with a sugar alternative, it will become a low carb coffee drink!
Is this this cold brew super sweet?
While there is some sugar in the vanilla syrup, this isn’t a super sweet drink at all. If you want to make it less sweet, you can make it with less vanilla syrup.
How much caffeine?
The amount of caffeine in the drink varies depending on the type and strength of the coffee you use.
Generally speaking, the stronger a blend of coffee is, the more caffeine it will have (depending on how you measure it, of course). Dark roast coffee and espresso have the most caffeine while blonde roasts have the lowest.
Obviously, using decaf coffee is the only way to make an actual caffeine free version of this recipe. Allowing the coffee to steep for a longer time will also increase the amount of caffeine in the drink.
Storing ingredients for later
All of the individual components to make the vanilla sweet cream cold brew should be kept in the refrigerator.
For the best flavour, you may want to brew fresh coffee every time. Although, doing this requires a lot of time, as the coffee steeping time is at least 12 hours.
This being said, keep in mind that cold brew coffee has a different taste than hot coffee. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with steeping the coffee longer, for up to 48 hours.
I typically will enjoy a pitcher of cold brew coffee for up to 5 days from the time I make it and I find the flavour doesn't change too much as long as the pitcher is covered but it all depends on how you like your coffee.
So, the short answer is that one batch of coffee for the vanilla sweet cream cold brew will keep its flavour well in the refrigerator for a few days.
More iced coffee recipes
Tools for this recipe
- I use 16oz mason jars as cups and storage containers for these cold brew drinks
- Get some cheesecloth to strain the coffee
- I use smaller 4oz jars for storing the vanilla syrup
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
- 8 cups filtered water
- 2 cups ground coffee
- 1 cup sweet cream (see below)
- 1/2 cup vanilla syrup (see below)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla syrup
Cold brew coffee
- Make the cold brew coffee by mixing water and coffee grinds together in a large pitcher. Let sit overnight in the fridge for at least 12 hours (or up to 48 hours if desired).
- When ready to serve, slowly pour coffee through cheesecloth that is sitting in a fine mesh sieve into another large pitcher. Make sure you pour slowly and with precision to ensure there are no coffee grounds in the cold brew.
- Add one cup boiling water and 1 cup sugar to a mason jar, stirring well. Add vanilla bean, then let cool to room temperature. Remove vanilla bean, then store in the fridge up to 2 months. Alternatively, use vanilla extract.
- Mix all ingredients together well in a large mixing cup. If you'd like the frothy texture, use an immersion blender or milk frother to mix up ingredients - if choosing this method, be sure to add to your cold brew ASAP!
Putting it all together
- Add a handful of ice to a large glass or mason jar, then mix in 2 tbsp of vanilla syrup. Top with 2 cups of coffee, then add 1/4 cup of sweet cream on top. Serve and enjoy!