Gourmet Coffee Recipes: Make Your Own Starbucks Coffee Drink

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-01-1742

I am a Starbucks addict. I will openly admit it. Starbucks is an indulgence for me, on days when I am having difficulties at work, a relationship crisis, or when I just feel like procrastinating. If you are like me, and you are attempting to stick to a budget every month and trying to be diligent about paying down your debt, then Starbucks does not fit into that equation very well. Especially, when your habit turns into a twice a week or every other day experience!

So, I decided there had to be a way for me to enjoy a gratifying, extra sugary coffee treat without paying $4.65 for it. I always get the Grande and pretty much have the prices memorized. The medium cup sizes work well if you’re under stress. The Venti is for those days when you feel like you are going to have a nervous breakdown, and the Tall is for those days when you fall for the temptation of the impulse buy: when your subconscious mind makes you head for a Starbucks in the middle of a busy day. In my efforts to curb my $15 a week habit (let’s be honest here) as my money management software encourages me to do, I’ve decided to search the web for coffee recipes. I am not a barista and have never played one on TV, but I can sure come close: how? Well let me tell you that Google is a wonderful thing!

So how can you have your cake and eat it too? You don’t have to spend money on that $4 latte if you’re fine with the DIY approach. I realized that I wanted to save money but still continue to enjoy my Starbucks fix. So here’s what I did.

Starbucks coffee, gourmet coffeeImage from WomansDay

Try Gourmet Coffee Recipes: Make Your Own Starbucks Coffee Drink!

I did a search on Google.com and typed in my favorite Starbucks coffee drink, Cinnamon Dolce Latte. To my delight, I found recipe after recipe of my favorite drink. There are even baristas that work for Starbucks that are posting recipes. I found one that I liked (from bfeedme):

Make a Cinnamon Dolce Latte!

  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk

What’s Next:

  1. In a large pan, mix the cinnamon and sugar with a bit of milk.
  2. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a boil.
  3. Just as the mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat.
  4. Pour your coffee into your favorite mug.
  5. Pour in the milk and serve immediately.

Earnestly, I ran to my kitchen and began heating milk on the stove and brewing an EXTRA strong, half cup of coffee. After the milk heated, I added in the cinnamon and sugar amounts that were suggested on my recipe. Then, I mixed the milk with the half cup of brewed coffee. Wow! It tastes just like Starbucks minus the cute cup and the smiling barista that hands it to me.

So, why am I paying $4.65 for a cup of this, when I can make 20 cups or more for $10? I don’t know! However, since I have made this discovery, I can tell you that when my subconscious mind prompts me to go to Starbucks, I stop myself. I look at my food budget envelope (working on a cash system here using an envelope budgeting system), and say, I think I can make this here today. I brew my cup of coffee and enjoy it just as I would at Starbucks.

Tip: Other ways to save money on coffee other than making it yourself? If you’re a coffee lover, then here are a few other ideas: check for savings at coffee sites like Coffee For Less where you can get discounts (try coupon code CFL) or pick up a debit card that specifically offers perks for coffee drinkers (e.g. get $50 and coffee perks when you sign up for a PerkStreet Financial checking account).

The point I am making is that often, in order to get out of debt, we have to find ways to appease our impulses and control the desire to get instant gratification. We need to prioritize our finances and maintain control of our money. In many ways, this can be achieved by doing the simple things ourselves rather than seeking the convenience of buying those things we want elsewhere, for a premium price. Remember that service has a cost! I have determined that if I do my own gourmet coffee drinks, I will save $4.65 a pop and I can potentially save $725 in the coming year — quite a good amount to add to my high interest savings account.

Do you have a habit that costs money and that isn’t something you need but rather, something you want — which is triggered by an impulse? Why not try to find a suitable substitute that costs substantially less? I encourage you to evaluate where you are spending your money. Weigh the rewards and the consequences of your spending. Is this cup of coffee worth staying in debt for a while longer? No, certainly not for me, and I would think your answer would be the same. Now, I did not completely cut out my Starbucks visits. I still like to meet friends there for a cup of coffee. However, my new strategy now allows me to save a substantial amount of money (over time) and to maintain the pleasure of the experience as well.

Contributing Writer: Selena

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Single Guy Money January 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I used to be a serious Starbucks addict. Paying $4-5 every day for a cup of coffee is crazy and certainly adds up quickly. I now brew my own coffee at home and use several flavored creamers from “International Delight”. My favorite flavor is the Southern Butter Pecan.

I still go to the ‘Bucks every now and then for an occasional treat.

frugalscholar January 18, 2010 at 6:35 am

Poor Starbucks! It’s always the example of what not to do for the frugal. My children are in college and I recently had a frugal talk with my daughter. For when you want to sit and talk to friends for hours–Starbucks is fine. Ditto when you want to sit and study for several hours.

But when you need a bit of caffeine to finish a paper–make a cup in your room. And add some good hot chocolate if you want.

Moral of the story: separate the experience from the product. Then decide.

Bucksome January 18, 2010 at 6:39 am

My post today is about Starbucks’ new rewards program so your article definitely caught my eye. Cinnamon Dolce latte is my favorite as well so I appreciate the recipe and can’t wait to try it.

Another way to save on Starbucks coffee is to buy the beans at Costco that are roasted by Starbucks under the Kirkland brand name. This is what we brew the six days a week I don’t visit a barista!

20smoney January 18, 2010 at 6:50 am

I too am a Starbucks addict. I drink lots of their coffee types. I also drink the Chai Tea Latte’s sometimes and I recently noticed that Starbucks sells there Chai Tea concentrate which allows you to make them at home. Much cheaper!

Srinivas Rao January 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

I calculated how much money I spent on Starbucks over the course of 3 years. It added up to about 5,000 dollars. That’s disgusting when you think about it. Brewing your coffee at Home, even if it is Starbucks, will save you a small fortune.

John @ TheChristianDollar.com January 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm

My wife would love this article! I’m going to forward it to her. She’s been amazing at only using gifted Starbucks gift cards to buy drinks, and I’m sure she’ll now enjoy the recipe above. Great money saving tactic!

Evan January 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Where did you get the receipe? I’d love one for a mocha or java chip frappachino !!!

notre dame January 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I did last December what Mr Rao did. Was keeping a food diary last 2009 and the money I spent at Starbucks blew me away! Yikes! That would have been a substantial amount.

WPBonds January 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

That is a great idea. I think I’ll have to do some searching for coffee recipes.

harriet January 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Prepare to have your mind blown. I hope you’re sitting down. Ready? Here we go:

1. Purchase a 3 c Bialetti Moka pot. Cost: $25.00

2. Purchase a tin of Illy Medium Roast coffee, pre-ground for the Moka. Cost: $14

3. Purchase gallon of skim milk (or whatever you prefer). Cost: $5

Result: Two weeks worth of triple grande lattes.

Seriously, the Bialetti Moka will blow your mind. It is SO easy to use, costs almost nothing and pays for itself in a month. The tin of Illy will last you a month, and you’ll likely through about two gallons of milk of a month, so for $24, you’re making 30+ lattes.

If you don’t have a stove or a hot plate, you can splurge on a Moka with a built-in heating element. It will take you a little longer to make back your investment, but you’ll still be ahead in no time.

You’re welcome!

Silicon Valley Blogger January 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

@Harriet. Thanks for the money saving idea! That’s something I’m raring to try out. We usually buy the beans from Peets and Starbucks, but would like to try something beyond the regular stuff. 🙂 A latte for under a dollar is sweet!

alster January 22, 2010 at 4:08 am

Thanks for the money saving idea! That’s something I’m raring to try out. We usually buy the beans from Peets and Starbucks, but would like to try something beyond the regular stuff.

Peter January 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

I love Starbucks coffee but find it a bit overpriced.

Mike January 25, 2010 at 8:21 am

OK, I tried this recipe last night, It was OK, I have to say next time I try it I will use full milk not 1%, it tasted a bit bland to me. Otherwise, good idea and easy to make.

FFB January 27, 2010 at 6:34 am

Mmmm, Starbucks!!! We’ve been brewing our own regular Starbucks coffee at home to save money but still get sucked into the specialty drinks when we’re out. I think our next step is to try making the specialty drinks at home. Thanks for the recipe (and motivation)!

Carsten February 5, 2010 at 9:05 am

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I really feel hungry!



Recipe Guy February 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Honestly, I didn’t know it would be this simple – I’ve made lots of Indian chai so naturally thought the Starbucks offering would be more comples – I’ll be trying this out right now! Many thanks for the recipe.

Michael Cavinta February 15, 2010 at 6:26 am

Wow! I too am a Starbucks addict and I am certainly using up a part of my budget to be able to have coffee at Starbucks. I admit it but, without Starbucks coffee, most of my day becomes sluggish. Thanks for sharing your coffee recipe; now I can have gourmet coffee in the comfort of my own home.

Ted February 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

I’ve been to Starbucks twice today, seriously, and as you can probably tell I’m a big coffee fan. I’ve also never played a barista on TV or anywhere else, but have been exploring making coffee at home lately.

I’ll try the cinnamon dolce latte soon, although I may like it with cinnamon better – we’ll see!

I’ll still be going to Starbucks though when I want somewhere to hang out and get some work done while relaxing, regardless of how good your recipe may be:)

Stephen February 24, 2010 at 5:34 am

As a huge Starbucks fan and even bigger coffee fan, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your discovery of how to save money while still finding a delicious coffee drink. I was intrigued why you said you still found your subconscious mind telling you to go to Starbucks. While I agree that it can become a little much, especially if on a budget, to pay $5 for a drink, I do believe that much of what I pay for is the experience. Not only does Starbucks put a smile on my face with it’s drinks, but it also puts a smile on my face with the service and atmosphere. Great post!

Paul March 3, 2010 at 10:44 am

Wow, I think I need a cup right now. (-:

Jane March 10, 2010 at 5:12 am

I only go to Starbucks just to hang out with my friends and de-stress. I guess we can do that at home with the recipe you got here. I’m excited to share it with my friends. Few bucks save is really worth a try.

The panda image is really cute..^^

Steve March 16, 2010 at 7:04 am

I’m going to try that recipe. Another interesting way to save money and do it yourself is to roast your own beans in a popcorn maker. A search will reveal many recipes for roasting coffee beans and finding the right popper. I happened to have just the right kind of popcorn maker stashed away since we seem to always use the microwave for popcorn. It works well if you don’t try to roast too many at one time. It’s about as fresh as you can get going from green beans to roasted to ground all in your kitchen.

Nicherboy March 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I think we mostly pay the price for the convenience. I am also a coffeeholic, but it is much easier for me to pay Starbucks or Booksmillion the 5 plus dollars instead of doing it myself. It does sound good though.

Joshua nichols April 10, 2010 at 7:10 am

This sounds like a yummy recipe, Starbucks is one of my favorite coffee. I will love to share this with my wife indeed!


espresso April 17, 2010 at 5:28 am

The thing is that it can really be a “treat” to go out for coffee. It’s about the experience, the aromas, the people and so on…. But much more wallet friendly to make it at home!

Tried the Cinnamon Dolce Latte – it’s delicious!

Claire Sanchez June 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

A timely post i think this coffee recipe is delightful.. It’s perfect for me because I’m having overtime in my work this past few days. This recipe makes coffee a lot better.. Thanks for the heads up!

Applebees June 14, 2010 at 11:00 am

I tried the Cinnamon Dolce Latte – it tasted great – just like the original Starbucks recipe!

Joan June 22, 2010 at 3:09 am

Now all I need is a recipe for a mocha frap. The only Starbucks in my small town in England just closed. At least I can still get Starbucks coffee at the grocery store but every time I go shopping I am in fear that they will suddenly stop stocking it.

kinds of coffee July 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Since Starbucks will soon be opened by our place, I am looking forward to the opening 🙂 I also love Starbucks and I have this Starbucks tumbler that I bought on my Cebu visit. Now I wonder if I will be getting the yearly organizer since I will be a frequent visitor to their place.. hmmm…

Darren August 24, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for the recipe! I found I was spending WAY too much on coffee, so invested in infrastructure. My rule: Only drink coffee I roasted and brewed myself. BTW, that panda coffee pour is amazing.

Jill August 31, 2010 at 10:14 am

You’re recipe is absolutely convenient and incredible! Thanks!

Joe Grinder October 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I believe we can make tastier coffee at home than at Starbucks. They tend to roast coffee too much and that sometimes results in a cup of bitter taste coffee.

Coffee Machines For Sale January 4, 2011 at 3:10 am

Have to agree firstly with the comment by frugalscholar – it is wise to separate the experience from the product. Once you do the savings will quickly add up.

I used to spend upwards of $50 a week on coffee and eventually picked up a coffee machine because it just was a waste of money.

Although the coffee machine itself was expensive, the costs I imagine will quickly be recouped over time.

Financial Planning Budgeting January 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I used to spend so much money at Starbucks. One huge thing that helped me was signing up for Mint and looking at that pie chart with the huge chunk that said: COFFEE. Okay, it probably didn’t say coffee, but it let me know how much money I was spending at coffee shops… and I go to but one coffee shop.

Making coffee at home has really helped me save money. Thanks for this recipe… sometimes regular old coffee can get pretty boring!

Greg loves his coffee maker January 26, 2011 at 9:20 am

Seems like a real good coffee recipe. I’ll try it at home today seriously. Good coffee is really expensive in this part of the world. But anyway, Nice pic of the panda there, haha 🙂

Natural Beef Casings February 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

I prefer to drink Cappuccino. Sometimes with brandy 🙂

james February 23, 2011 at 10:13 am

Starbucks et al were killing me so I decided to buy a decent coffee maker for myself. Now after reading your recipe it gives me the chance to experiment myself. Thanks for the ideas!

The Keurig Guy May 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

I used to spend a ton at Starbucks too until I did the math as well. It racks up! I’ve become a big fan of Keurig’s line (obviously). Sometimes I still splurge at the ‘bucks, but for the daily java urge I’m spending way less.

Chad May 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I love some Starbucks coffee too! One of the coolest things I’ve found for coffee at home is the Nescafe single cup thing. I can’t think of what it’s called but they sell it at Wal-Mart. It sort of aerates the coffee and makes it so good that I don’t use any sugar or cream and normally I use a lot.

John Shupe October 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Starbucks is okay but only if you wanna go broke just to start your day off! I make my coffee at home most of the time, its just most cost effective method. With the many other options and places to get a cup of coffee pretty much makes Starbucks my last option now.

Healthy Mushroom Coffee October 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

Starbucks coffee is packed with caffeine: over 300 mg per cup, especially the Frapachino……… I think they need to lower the sugar contents as well.

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