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January 4, 2022

Coffee at Home: Tips from a Barista


Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee?

But let’s be honest, going to the coffee shop every morning can add up, quickly. Buying an espresso machine can also be expensive and defeat the purpose of buying coffee every morning. If you’re trying to save money but want more than just a cup of coffee, I have a few work arounds to save you money while still getting your coffee fix – and without investing in your very own coffee shop at home.

Iced Coffee

There are a couple ways to make this happen.

What you need:

  • Coffee Maker
  • Ice tray
  • Coffee

Option A: Brew the coffee but with half the water. If it’s a 10-cup pot, put in the needed amount of ground coffee for 10 cups, but only add 5 cups of water. Brew and pour over ice. This is actually how coffee companies make their iced coffee!

Option B: This is a plan ahead option. Brew a batch of coffee how you normally would. Let the coffee cool enough to pour into an ice tray, and place in the freezer until, you know, frozen. Then when you are feeling an iced coffee, brew a batch of coffee as usual, and instead of pouring over ice, pour over the frozen coffee cubes you had stashed away. It chills the coffee without diluting it. Add cream and sugar to taste and seize the day!


Cold Brew

This was a new discovery for me because I stopped working at a coffee chain that shall not be named before they rolled out the cold brew. Granted, it’s a really easy process and the results are fantastic for a fraction of the cost. It is a make ahead drink, but you can make it in batches to get you through the week.

What you need:

  • 2 Pitchers (quart to gallon)
  • Cheesecloth (available at any grocery store)
  • Strainer
  • Course ground coffee beans
  • Water

Step one: Grind coffee to a course consistency.

Step two: Add coffee to a pitcher and add 8 oz of water for every 4 tablespoons. (4 cups of water for each cup of coffee grounds).

Step three: Close the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (overnight is easiest, I think).

Step four: The next morning, place cheesecloth on a strainer and pour out coffee and grounds into a new container.

Step five: Enjoy with ice, creamer/milk/sweetener to taste.


What you need:

  • Dairy/Non-Dairy of choice
  • Saucepan
  • Food thermometer
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee

Also known as a café au lait, this is half coffee, half steamed milk of choice. It has about the same amount of caffeine as a latte. It might not be a creamy as a latte, but if straight coffee isn’t your thing and you don’t want to drop $100+ on an espresso machine, this really is a fantastic substitute.

Step one: Brew Coffee as normal.

Step two: Add 4-8oz of milk to a saucepan and bring to 160° F.

*Note: The range for milk is 130 to 180° F. Above 180 and you’re drinking burnt milk. Below, I guess it’s fine but that’s less than lukewarm. But “kid’s temperature” at coffee houses is 130° F.

Step three: Into a mug, cup, or preferred hot beverage container, pour it half full of coffee and top with hot milk. Add sweetener and flavor as desired.


This technically won’t be an exact mocha. A true mocha consists of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate. If you’re trying to save money and make your beloved drink at home, here are two options you can try!


What you need:

  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Hershey syrup or hot chocolate mix
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Coffee Maker
  • Saucepan
  • Food thermometer

Step one: Brew coffee

Step two: Add 4-8oz of milk to a saucepan and bring to 160° F (the range for milk is 130 to 180° F)

Step three: Mix in chocolate syrup into coffee

Step four: Add milk and enjoy!

Poor Man’s Mocha:

Step one: Add a scoop of hot chocolate mix to cup

Step two: Pour coffee

Step three: Mix and add creamer if desired


There are definitely a lot of ways to make all of your favorite coffee drinks at home. If you have a blender, you can make your version of blended coffee using the coffee ice cubes you made for iced coffee. And a latte is basically just espresso with steamed milk and flavor. I love buying Torani syrups and experimenting with different combinations! No matter what you fancy, you can experience great quality coffee in the comfort of your own home at a fraction of the cost. So set yourself up for success by planning ahead, doing your research, and saving hundreds this year as you learn to be your own at-home barista!

Happy brewing!

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