Coffee Break DIY!

Baristas of the world, cover your eyes for a minute. The coffee snob in you will undoubtedly writhe and gasp and cringe uncomfortably at what I am about to say, as I know my former barista self would have. I'm about to share with you my glorious achievement of this year: A make-your-own Starbucks Iced Via Recipe!!

I better back up here while you baristas recover from my excitement over instant coffee. Okay. So, yes, I too used to balk and gag at the idea of instant coffee. I mean.... gross. Right? That was.... until certain friends (Josh + Amber Ulmer) insisted I try an iced Via packet. And okay... wow. It truly tastes like an iced latte when you mix it with milk. I was instantly hooked. For a lady that works from home without a car on most days, this newfound iced latte drink felt like a gift from Heaven. But at $6-7 for a pack of FIVE, it still adds up.

I searched for a knockoff recipe but the internet / Pinterest let me down. Then I realized I could use my brain and figure it out! (Should have tried the whole "brain" thing a lot sooner.) So in the end, I came up with something identically if not more delicious, and for how much? Oh... about ELEVEN CENTS A GLASS.

Oh. You might be wondering, "What does this have to do with photography? I don't read your smelly old blog for recipes." The reasons are threefold my friends. Firstly, I get to do something fun and take photos along the way. Secondly, caffeine fuels what I do... so... totally relevant. Lastly, DIYs and figuring things out are all a part of this crazy and wonderful creative process! I don't think I could call myself a creative if I didn't apply creativity to other aspects of my life. :) And so let's get to it!


You will need:

A coffee grinder

A container for mixing

Sugar (maybe around 1 cup or more)

Instant Coffee (I used Trader Joe's brand because it is actually AMAZING. They also carry a decaffeinated variety, each is $3.99).

The coffee comes ground, but since we're making iced coffee, we need the coffee to be soluable in cold water, so it has to be ground even finer, as well as the sugar.

1. Make sure your coffee grinder is totally clean! Regular coffee grounds are not soluable in water, so unless you want little grounds floating in your mix... clean that sucker out.

2. Start by pouring your instant coffee grounds into your grinder. If you have a home grinder (like I do), you will have to do this step a few times. Grind for three seconds. Really... 3 seconds, that's all it needs.

3. Pour your fine grounds into your mixing container. It helps if your container has measurements on the side. :)

4. Once you're done with all of your coffee grinding, don't worry about cleaning out the grinder, but start with your sugar next. Pour your sugar in, and grind it for five seconds.

5. I don't include measurements with these directions because there are so many variables - what type of coffee you're using, or how much you want to make at one time. Just make sure that after you grind your coffee, when you're trying to figure out how much sugar to grind, measure your coffee grounds (AFTER you grind them!!) and measure 2 parts sugar to 1 part coffee. So... not to insult your intelligence, but if you have 1/2 a cup of fine coffee grounds, then you will want to grind 1 cup of sugar. :)

6. Once you're done with your sugar grinding, pour it into the same mixing container and mix it thoroughly! It should look something like the second photo.

Ok, so guess what. That's it! Now you're ready to make an iced latte. This is how I did it:

1. Measure in 1 spoonful of your mixture into a tall drinking glass.

Pour some water (about 1/4 of your glass) and stir vigorously. Add some milk and ice! That's it.

Enjoy your delicious drink now, and feel super proud of yourself for saving like $1.15 every time you drink some. 

Since we used the Trader Joe's instant coffee ($3.99), we found that our measurements yield between 35-40 servings, depending on how liberal you're feeling with the caffeine! That equals around 11 cents a class.

And best of all, it stores nicely for those crazy road trips you might find yourself on.

Another variation is to mix a little cocoa powder in with your coffee mix for a mocha kick! You could also try a cinnamon and nutmeg dash as well. I mean.. you can do whatever you want with it! Be creative. :) This would also be SO good as a blended drink (but we haven't tried it yet).

If you make this for yourself, leave a comment and let me know how it turned out for you!

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