When I was living in Mexico, I got really into making cold brew coffee. I realized how easy it was to make and was surprised by the smooth (rather than acidic) flavor of the coffee with this process. I would make a new batch each Sunday for the week ahead and store it in the fridge so it was easy to get my caffeine fix in before my morning visit to the gym. One week, I decided to try this fresh mint iced latte and that’s when I realized that simple syrup is just as easy to make at home.
My realization that I could have a flavored iced latte without stepping foot outside of my apartment or paying $4+ in a coffee shop was essentially life-changing. Homemade iced lattes help my wallet and I can get creative with the type of milk, the syrup flavor, and the coffee to milk ratio that I use.
In Mexico, I kept things old-school by using a jar to make the cold brew coffee and then strained the grounds out with a sieve and coffee filter contraption. It worked perfectly well, but required two jars for transferring the soaked coffee to a fresh jar without the grounds. When I moved back home, I decided to upgrade to a Toddy Cold Brew System and boy, am I glad I did.
The Toddy system is super simple. All you do is add water and coffee grounds to the top part of the Toddy and after letting it sit for a night, you remove the plug from the top part so that the coffee separates from the grounds and drips into the glass carafe, which can then be sealed and stored in the fridge. During the summer, I almost exclusively drink homemade cold brew coffee, and then I switch to hot coffee in the winter. You can use cold brew coffee for hot coffee as well, but I haven’t tried that yet.
For these syrup recipes, I wanted to try some unique flavors aside from the delicious but ubiquitous vanilla or caramel, so I tested out ginger and lavender. Both turned out surprisingly well. The lavender syrup has a floral taste (surprise!), while the ginger syrup is more citrus-based. I ended up liking the ginger flavor a bit more, but both were winners and I would highly recommend trying them out. I could see both being used for cocktails as well, or even to make a flavored homemade lemonade.
There are tons of instructions on the internet about how to make cold brew coffee using different methods, so I linked to another one in the recipe instructions below. Try out a few different and if you become a fan of cold brew then think about investing in a Toddy. Let me know how it goes!
- 1/2 cup freshly ground coffee
- 2 cups cold water
- or follow these instructions if you own a Toddy Cold Brew System
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons lavender buds (fresh or dried)
- 1/3 cup cold brew coffee
- 1/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1-2 tablespoons ginger or lavender syrup
- Combine the ground coffee and water in a large jar and stir well. Let sit overnight at room temperature, or for at least 8 hours.
- Use a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter (or line a sieve with a coffee filter) and pour cold brew over the sieve to separate the coffee grounds from coffee. Discard the grounds and store the coffee in a closed jar in the fridge.
- Add the water, sugar, and lavender or ginger to a small pot and heat over medium heat. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Let it boil for two minutes and then remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. Once cool, strain out the lavender or ginger and store in a jar in the fridge.
- Add everything to a glass and stir to combine. Enjoy!