Summer Sucks IV- Starbucks is Robbing You: Iced Coffee

I, unlike most of the country it seems, am not a huge coffee drinker. I don’t need it to wake up and/or be human in the morning. In fact, I don’t even own a coffee pot. BUT I do enjoy a cup of coffee on the super cold days of the year. Sitting in a comfortable chair and enjoying a cup of hot coffee while I knit, read or just watch the snow or rain fall is a fantastic way to relax and take a break. And in the summer I do so enjoy an iced coffee or frap. I love to sit and talk to a friend while sitting in the shade (or, even better, the air conditioning) and visiting over tall glasses of iced coffee or frosty fraps. So it’s not that I dislike coffee; I just don’t need it to function.

Given how vocal I’ve been on this blog and in my life about the quality and price of store bought and (most but not all) restaurant items, I couldn’t call myself the Humble Food Snob any longer if I didn’t make my own coffee drinks- hot, cold, or frozen- and beg you to try the same! And in all honesty, coffee shops (big chain AND locally owned) should be ashamed of themselves for charging what they do. It is, as my grandad used to say, highway robbery. For the cost of two (2) “grande”- which is what most people seem to order, the size I make at home, and the size on which I am basing this price comparision- iced coffees at Starbucks, I bought a large jar of instant coffee that will make at least two (2) DOZEN of the same!! That is a savings of nearly $100 from just one jar of coffee!! If you stop at the coffee shop more than occasionally (which would be about once a month or less) I beg you to let that sink in for a moment. What can you think of that you could spend an extra $100 on? Think about that the next time you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop. And this savings doesn’t apply to just coffee drinks. Try running the numbers on a plain ol’ cup of coffee sometime- they are even more staggering!

Ok, ok… I’m off my soapbox now. I don’t mean to brow beat. I really, truly, sincerely want to help you and yours enjoy life a little more! Anyway… Making your own iced coffee is super simple, especially if you think ahead a little bit and make the coffee the night before. I made mine a couple of days ago so I don’t have a picture of making the coffee. But it’s so easy you don’t really need an illustration. Just measure 10 ounces of water (you could go up to 12 to make things easier if you wanted to, just make the spoonfuls of coffee heaping instead of level) and heat it to boiling. Add 2 tablespoons of the instant coffee and transfer to a container. I use a mason jar with a lid & seal but anything you can easily pour out of will work. Let the coffee chill, up to about 3 days. After that the coffee will be bitter.

Here is what I use for my iced coffees. I LOVE caramel/vanilla iced coffee so that’s what I usually do. You can use any flavoring you want- which is one of the great things about doing this at home 🙂 You could use powdered creamer if you want. I’ve done it several times. But you have to REALLY stir the ingredients or put everything in a container big enough to shake and then pour it all into a glass.


Yes. That is purchased ice cream topping. I’m having a bit of trouble making my own caramel sauce. It’s frustrating, but I’ll get there eventually. And when I do I will no longer buy caramel sauce! Moving on… I use a 16 ounce reusable to go cup for this. If you use something smaller than 16 ounces you’ll need to adjust the quantities accordingly- and no, I don’t know what those would be. Sorry. Put 1/2 a cup of the cold coffee into your glass. This gives a nice, strong coffee flavor so try it once before you decide to make it with more.


Whoa! VERY close up, I know. But I thought I’d try to make it a little easier to do this without measuring everything. Now you can clearly see how far up the cup the ingredients go.

Next I add the caramel sauce- about 1 heaping tablespoon. This could easily be chocolate syrup instead to make a Caffe Mocha. Or you could just add sugar if you want plain coffee flavored coffee 🙂 Now is also when I add the creamer. I put about 3-4 tablespoons in but I like my coffee VERY light and VERY sweet.

IMG_0105.JPG (2)

As all of these ingredients are cold, you will need to give this a vigorous stirring. If you wanted to you could certainly just put all of the ingredients into a shaker jar and be done a little quicker. But as I’m the one who does the dishes, I prefer to just stir it with a spoon. Now add the milk of your choice until the glass is about 3/4 full.


Give it one more stir to make sure everything is mixed, add some ice cubes (I use 4), put the lid on, and enjoy!

Didn’t I mention that I enjoy fraps too? You can easily turn this into a frap by using adding a little more ice (up it to about 8-10 cubes) and putting everything into the blender. Give it a good whir & you’ve got a frap!

Oh! You could also make this an iced chai! An average hot cup of chai is 8 oz, so use whatever chai tea you normally use (concentrate, bags, or lose), add 2 more ounces of water, and make it double strength. (You can go triple like the coffee, but be careful; chai tea has peppercorns in it so it will have a kick. Definitely make sure you dilute it enough with milk!) You can use the flavored creamer or just sugar and milk if you prefer. There are so many variations on this concept that it staggers the mind! And every single one of them can easily be made at home, for FAR less money than the coffee shops want you to realize.

I almost forgot… Only 11 more weeks of summer! I can almost see the golden Autumn light at the end of the tunnel!! 🙂

The Recipe:

10 Oz Water

2 T Instant Coffee Granules

(The above will make enough for THREE iced coffees/fraps. You can divide this and freeze it if you don’t want iced coffee 3 days in a row. Just thaw gently- don’t get it hot- when you’re ready to use it, or let sit in the fridge overnight.)

Milk of your choice

Flavored Coffee Creamer, if desired

Sugar, if desired

Flavoring syrup of your choice, if desired


The Method:

*Boil the water.

*Add coffee granules and stir.

*Chill until cold, up to 3 days.

*In a tall glass, add 1/2 cup of the coffee, the flavorings, and sweeteners of your choice. This is entirely subjective. I have given the amounts that I use in the above but really it’s up to you and your tastes.

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