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A Former Starbucks Barista Shares How She Makes 5 Popular Drinks at Home: ‘It's Easy and Just as Good'

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For nearly four years, I was a barista at a Starbucks in Chicago. So it's no surprise that I was splurging on lattes, spending up to $40 a week.

But I've since cut back on buying coffee every day, and it has saved me a lot of money. Now I make my own drinks at home. It's easy and tastes just as good.

Home recipes inspired by Starbucks' most popular drinks

I recommend purchasing a moka pot, which is a stove-top or electric coffee maker. They come in a variety of sizes and cost anywhere from $17 to $99.

For a budget-friendly machine that does it all, the DeLonghi Stilosa Espresso Machine is an excellent option.

If you want to steam milk but don't have a steam wand, you can easily boil or microwave it.

Here are some of my favorite at-home recipes, inspired by popular Starbucks drinks (based on a 16-ounce cup size):

1. Caramel Macchiato

Photo: Stefania Marzelia

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup 
  • Caramel sauce
  • 3/4 cup of your milk of choice 
  • 2 shots of espresso
  • Ice (optional)

Steps:

  1. Grab a coffee mug and add some vanilla syrup.
  2. Pour in milk almost to the top, leaving room for espresso and ice.
  3. Add some ice and pour espresso over it.
  4. Drizzle caramel on top.

2. White Chocolate Mocha

Photo: Stefania Marzelia

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon of white chocolate sauce (or 1 tablespoon of melted white chocolate chips)
  • 3/4 cup of your milk of choice
  • 2 shots of espresso
  • Ice (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Steps:

  1. Grab a coffee mug and add in the white chocolate sauce (or chips).
  2. Get the espresso going. When ready, pour it into the mug and stir so the sauce and espresso are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Pour milk in.
  4. Add ice.
  5. Top it off with some whipped cream.

3. Chai Latte

Photo: Stefania Marzelia

Ingredients: 

Steps:

  1. Pour equal parts chai concentrate and milk into a steaming pitcher and steam. (I recommend about two minutes in the microwave.)
  2. Heat to desired temperature (I heat mine to 150 degrees) and pour into a coffee mug.
  3. Sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Stir and enjoy.

4. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Photo: Stefania Marzelia

Ingredients:

  • Cold brew of choice (canned, bottled or homemade all work) 
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup
  • 1/2 cup of 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Ice

Steps:

  1. Grab a mug and pour in desired amount of cold brew.
  2. Fill with ice, leaving room at the top for vanilla sweet cream.
  3. In a separate cup, mix together the milk, whipping cream and three pumps of vanilla syrup.
  4. Pour desired amount of vanilla sweet cream into cold brew.

5. Peppermint Mocha

Photo: Stefania Marzelia

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon mocha sauce (I'm a fan of Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce) or melted chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of peppermint syrup
  • 2 shots of your espresso of choice 
  • Milk of choice, to taste
  • Ice (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)  
  • Chocolate shavings (optional) 

Steps:

  1. Grab a coffee mug and add your mocha sauce and peppermint syrup.
  2. Get your espresso going. Once it's ready, pour into your mug and stir. Make sure the espresso, peppermint syrup and mocha sauce are mixed thoroughly.
  3. Pour in your milk of choice.
  4. Add ice, then top it off with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Stefania Marzelia is a content creator and former Starbucks barista. She lives in Chicago, where she partners with local coffee shops to host coffee tastings and barista training workshops. She is also the founder of Stefania the Label. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

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