Featured Image

Crafting Your Own Caffeinated Beverages in 5 Easy Steps

Don't have money to go to Starbucks every day? (What student does?!) Become your own barista, get your caffeine fix, and save money with this five-step process.

As a full-time dual-enrollment student, it’s a rare occurrence that I’m able to make it through the day without caffeine. But unfortunately, I don't have the time or finances to take a trip to my local Starbucks to get my coffee fix every morning. That’s why I taught myself how to make my own delicious, customized, caffeinated beverages. Stay tuned and I’ll be extending my knowledge to you in an easy, five-step process!

Step 1: Power up the right equipment

Here’s where it all begins—the method of bringing your drink into existence. If you already have a coffeemaker in possession, congratulations! You can skip this part. But for those of you in the market for a beginner coffeemaker on a budget, I recommend this single-serve Vimukun. It’s compatible with ready-to-go coffee pods for ease of use, but you could also opt for reusable K Cups to use with your own grinds. If you’re looking for a more professional machine to turn all your caffeinated dreams into realities, set your sights on the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, fully equipped with six sizing options, four brewing modes, and a built-in frother. Finally, for the least expensive and least hassle option, I propose a simple electric kettle that you can use to quickly boil up some water and pour right into your coffee or tea.

Related: 6 Smart Coffee Hacks for College Students

Step 2: Choose your wake-up factor

The next thing to consider is the base of your drink: the coffee or tea that will balance everything else you add in with a strong, steady flavor. Your options are boundless in this category and there’s no wrong choice, but just in case you aren’t sure where to start, I’ll let you in on a couple of my top picks. I switch out my collection often, but one staple I always keep stocked is Trader Joe’s Shade Grown Ground Espresso Blend, which you can get in-store or on Amazon. If you’re looking to keep it more simple, try Starbucks’ Premium Instant Medium Roast Coffee: same great flavor without the bother of waiting for it to brew. Additionally, if you’re interested in supporting a fan-favorite influencer, be sure to check out Chamberlain Coffee, founded by California’s own Emma Chamberlain. As for tea, my go-to for a high-quality, organic brand with a myriad of specialty flavors is The Republic of Tea (make sure to check out their Daily Matcha and Ginger Peach especially).

Step 3: Fly through the Milky Way

Some opt to skip this step and move right on to sweetener, but in my opinion, a splash of milk (or dairy-free substitute) is essential for balancing the richness of your caffeine and the denseness of your creamer. Personally, I love a good oat milk more than anything else (this Chobani one is perfect), but whatever you keep in your fridge will work! 

Related: What to Know About Your Favorite Starbucks Drinks

Step 4: Satisfy your sweet tooth

This is my favorite part of the drink-making process because there are so many different ways to do it. For the most hands-off option, scour your local grocery store for creamers and syrups that you can mix and match until you find the perfect combination. If you’re willing to do some stovetop work, my go-to handmade creamer is a quarter cup of both coconut sugar and brown sugar (plus a dash of vanilla extract to your liking) boiled together into a light syrup. Make sure to let it cool completely before use to let it thicken up. For cooled sweet tea, I like to blend a bit of granulated sugar with a handful of frozen strawberries and a cup of milk. Or, in honor of spooky season, you could forget all the fancy combinations and just use a dash of this Pumpkin Spice Flavoring Syrup to give your drink a cozy, fall feel. Overall, the most important part of this step is to be creative and have fun. Don’t despair if your first attempt doesn’t match up to your expectations—it’s all part of the process!

Step 5: Bring it all together

The portions of your drink ultimately depend on your personal preference, but for a basic frame of reference, I recommend using a cup of coffee/tea (or two shots of espresso), a half cup of milk, and two tablespoons of sweetener. To make it an iced beverage, throw in an extra cup of ice and you’ll be good to go. If you’re interested in pretty layering techniques, take care to add the elements of your drink in the order of sweetener, milk, and caffeine and use an extra tablespoon of your sweet component to keep the layers neatly separated.

Related: 9 of the Best Colleges for Coffee Lovers

With this quick guide, I’m confident you’ll be able to craft your very own caffeinated beverages just as well as any Starbucks barista. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques and products until you find exactly what you’re looking for. Not only will you have a handful of fun drinks to try along the way, but you’ll also develop a brand-new hobby to impress your coffee-obsessed friends with. (And yes, I wrote this while drinking coffee.)

Find the perfect snack to accompany your homemade beverage with our College Cooking playlist on YouTube.  

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
coffee cooking life skills saving money student life

About Hailey Myers

Hailey Myers is a homeschooled high school student from California. She's been drawn to literature and creative activities from a young age and is ecstatic to share what she knows with fellow students. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Chris Bell

Chris Bell

Bell College Consulting

The college lists on CollegeXpress are indispensable for sussing out creative additions to a student’s list, and the college-specific pages provide terrific commentary and suggestions for related schools. CollegeXpress is among the most trusted sources I use for information for my students.

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

None

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Ruth Aguilar

Ruth Aguilar

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me by providing me with many scholarship opportunities and information about universities I want to attend. What I love about CollgeXpress is how it provides a variety of information, and as the first child attending a university next year, it has been very essential and helpful. I’m so grateful for this because the information provided by CollegeXpress has also helped me see that there are so many college opportunities, and it always informs me by email. In other words, CollegeXpress has been like a guide for me as a future college student.

Joseph Johnsly

Joseph Johnsly

High School Class of 2021

It's an honor for me to be writing to share a little about my experience with CollegeXpress. I've been using CollegeXpress for about a year now, and the reason why I chose it is because it provides astonishing scholarships for every student around the globe. Besides that, this organization dispenses all the information necessary to help students get to college. CollegeXpress has helped me have an easier experience with applying to colleges and choosing the best fit for myself.

Fernando Ponce

Fernando Ponce

High School Junior

College is a way of life that helps us find out who we are as a person, and CollegeXpress is a great way to stay connected with our future, even for students with little time on their hands due to the challenges of high school we face.

College Matches