The Best Vanilla Iced Coffee | Starbucks Dupe Recipe Guide and Tips

Using Vanilla for Coffee Flavor + Vanilla Iced Coffee Recipes 

Love Coffee with Vanilla? Check Out These Delicious Vanilla Coffee Ideas! Plus, We've Added a Tasty At-Home Vanilla Iced Coffee Starbucks Dupe Recipe.

Nothing can uplift your day like a smooth, creamy, cold vanilla latte. The decadently creamy flavor medley of milk, sweet vanilla, fresh coffee, and ice simply can not be rivaled. Add some homemade whipped cream on top, and you've got the perfect energizing treat!

So which vanilla coffee combinations are the tastiest and how can you make the absolute best, iced vanilla latte, from home? In this guide, we will go over everything you could ever want to know! 

Vanilla and Coffee: A Match Made in Heaven

Coffee and vanilla can be a wonderful combination. The smooth and creamy nuances of vanilla perfectly complement the slightly bitter and bold taste of fresh coffee. By balancing coffee’s bitter undertones, vanilla can take your regular cup of Joe to new levels of velvety, creamy, coffee deliciousness. So, if you have been craving a little flavor in your coffee but aren't sure what to try, vanilla is a great place to start!

Tasty Drink Options for People Who Love Vanilla Coffee 

Vanilla and coffee are such a popular pairing, you can find all sorts of delicious vanilla coffee options at essentially any nearby coffee shop. From French vanilla coffee, vanilla iced coffee, and vanilla lattes, to coffee grounds roasted and flavored with vanilla extracts and sweetened vanilla syrups, there really are delicious options for everyone. Heck, we currently sell 15+ coffees flavored with vanilla on our website!

So what are the best vanilla coffee drink options? Well, we love vanilla iced lattes, hot vanilla bean cream lattes, and vanilla-infused coffee beans like these. But if you need more inspiration, here are some delicious vanilla coffee ideas to try: 

  • Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee

A regular cup of freshly brewed coffee with three drops of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top makes for a tasty hot drink with anti-inflammatory cinnamon benefits

  • Creamy, Hot Vanilla Coffee

A drop or two of vanilla extract and a splash of heavy whipping cream can make your fresh-brewed drip-grind coffee really stand out!

  • Vanilla-infused Cold Brew with Sweet Cream Cold Foam 

Making cold brew coffee at home is easy. When you use vanilla-flavored coffee grounds or add a few drops of vanilla to the mix, all the better. You can make cold-brew vanilla coffee at home by steeping coffee grounds and cold water in a glass jar in your fridge for about 12 hours. Just strain the grounds out and pour! For crafting flavored vanilla cold brew coffee at home, you can use pre-roasted and flavored vanilla coffee grounds, a few drops of pure vanilla extract, or sweetened vanilla simple syrup. 

  • Iced Vanilla Latte 

We'll go over how to make a tasty iced vanilla latte in just a moment so that you can save money at the drive-through on your favorite cold coffee drink. 


Making the Best Vanilla Flavored Coffee 

But what kind of vanilla coffee is best? Some people add vanilla to their java by using vanilla coffee syrup. For others, only pure vanilla extract will do the trick. It all depends on how much vanilla flavor you’re craving! This double vanilla cinnamon coffee is great if you have been looking for strong vanilla flavors with minimal prep time.

Trying a few different coffee and vanilla combinations and experimenting with flavor strengths until you get things just right can be very helpful. With that in mind, let's talk about one of the most popular ways to enjoy vanilla and coffee: the classic iced vanilla latte!

How to Make the Perfect Copycat Starbucks Iced Vanilla Latte (12-Oz “Tall” Vanilla Iced Coffee Dupe Recipe)

I have to start off this recipe by saying that I've personally practiced this method about 50 times. You see, one of my best friends is slightly addicted to Starbucks vanilla iced lattes. The thing is, her coffee habit has been costing her lots of cash as of late. As an ex-Starbucks barista myself, I thought that I would have no problem replicating this recipe for her at a fraction of the cost. So, I suggested making coffee at home together and hanging out in the kitchen instead of going out! The problem? She has quite a refined palette and wanted her coffee just right. So, we spent multiple hangouts attempting to replicate her favorite iced latte with my espresso maker. Ultimately, we tried out about 7 different recipes. Eventually, we got things just right! Here’s what to do.  

What You Will Need: 

  • Espresso Maker
  • Bold-Tasting Coffee Beans
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Glass, Straw, Good Ice (By good, I mean the kind that does not taste like "fridge ice maker")
  • French Vanilla Simple Syrup
  • 2% Milk

Step 1: You've Got to Get the Right Coffee

First and foremost, you've got to have the right kind of espresso on hand. Sometimes, I like to use regular coffee grinds and put them in my coffee grinder to create a DIY espresso powder at home. If you don’t mind mild coffee flavors, this is totally fine. However, if you are trying to get the flavor of a dupe Starbucks iced latte just right, not just any coffee is going to do the trick. 

Starbucks uses a very strong blend of coffee beans. Many people suspect that this isn't actually pure Arabica coffee and there are some Robusta beans in the mix. While I can't speak to this, I can say that you are going to need fresh coffee beans that have plenty of punchy flavors if you want a flavorful iced coffee. I personally recommend the strong and bold flavors of these fresh-roasted Espresso Verdi beans. 

Step 2: Grind Espresso and Pull 2 Shots, Pour in a Glass

Now, use your coffee grinder to pulverize your espresso beans to a fine powder. The big difference between espresso and coffee grounds is in the coarseness and texture. Espresso is more finely ground to make the coffee flavors distinctive and easily extractable in your espresso maker. 

Once your espresso maker is heated up and your espresso is freshly ground, it is time to pull the perfect coffee shot. to do this, make sure that you're espresso maker is heated to the proper temperature. Then, pack your portafilter (the handle mechanism) with coffee grounds. If you need tips on pulling espresso shots, click here. Prepare two shots of fresh espresso for your iced latte. Then, pour this hot espresso in a large glass that can hold at least 12 ounces of fluid. 

Step 3: Add Vanilla Syrup to the Glass, Stir

The vanilla simple syrup in this recipe is pretty important. Vanilla can be a very mild flavor. However, in order for this taste to be detectable in your latte, you are going to have to use a good, strong vanilla syrup. Many people prefer to use French vanilla syrup when trying to mimic a Starbys latte. However, you can also buy the exact syrup used at Starbucks online. Regardless, I recommend using your favorite vanilla simple syrup because after all, this is YOUR drink.

If you don't have vanilla simple syrup, you can mix vanilla extract, sugar, and a little bit of water to create simple syrup at home. However, this will not give you that “copycat latte” flavor. (It's good, it just isn't a dupe recipe.)

So, you are going to add two full pumps of vanilla syrup into the hot coffee shots that you have already poured into your glass. The heat helps all of that syrup mix better. If you do not have a pump mechanism, this equates to about two and a half tablespoons. Then, using a coffee stirring spoon or a straw, mix the espresso and the sweetened syrup together. 

Step 4. Add About a Cup and a Half of Good Ice Cubes

Now, add ice. You will need about one and a half cups of ice for a 12-ounce latte. I highly recommend using spring water or filtered water to create your ice cubes. Why? Well, sometimes, tap water can have a chlorinated taste. (We even have an article about it in our coffee blog section.) This can detract from the flavor of your coffee. The fact is, a bit of this ice will melt immediately when you dump it in to the sweet espresso mixture, making any bad flavors in the ice melt water really easy to spot. That is why you will want some "good" ice cubes if you are trying to enjoy the perfect vanilla iced latte at home. 

Step 5: Fill the Rest of the Glass with Milk, Stir Gently

Finally, you are going to fill your coffee glass (containing the shots of espresso, simple syrup, and ice) the rest of the way up with 2% milk. Although many people think that Starbucks uses whole milk, they in fact, use 2% milk in their regular iced lattes.

That being said, you can use whatever kind of milk you want, obviously. Whole, oat, almond, soy, whatever. Once you have filled your glass to the top with milk, gently stir everything together using a long drink stirring spoon or straw.

Sip, and enjoy! 

Final Thoughts on Making a Vanilla Iced Coffee Starbucks Drink From Home

So there you have it! I hope that these vanilla and coffee tips have been helpful. Honestly, I love to save money on delicious coffee. If I can enjoy vanilla in my coffee from home with delicious flavors and fresh coffee grounds, it's always a good day. Hopefully, this delicious dupe recipe is just what you have been searching for. What are your favorite ways to enjoy vanilla and coffee? Feel free to leave your secret tips and tricks below! We'd love to hear them. 

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