Morning magic: Coffee syrups that will transform your routine

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Spice up your morning routine with delicious coffee syrups. Adding a gourmet twist to your cup of joe is a surefire way to start the day or jumpstart your afternoon. Learn how to sweeten the deal at home with homemade syrups.

A cup of coffee with latte art on a blue plate.
Photo credit: Pexels.

Making gourmet coffee drinks at home has become a popular alternative to purchasing from a coffee shop. From cold brew to cappuccinos, it’s easier than ever for coffee lovers to prepare many types of coffee drinks with elevated flavor.

Coffee syrups are one of the best ways to attain that coffee shop flavor and sweetness. Though syrups can be store-bought or ordered online, making them at home is a simple process. You only need a few ingredients to take your drinks to the next level.

Coffee syrups

To flavor coffee drinks, you need coffee syrup. At its most simple, it’s a liquid sweetener made from sugar and water. In fact, this mixture is called simple syrup because it is a basic two-ingredient mixture.

Though sugar easily dissolves in warm drinks, it takes much longer for iced drinks. Because simple syrups are already liquid, they can be mixed into drinks much more easily. This saves time for baristas at coffee shops.

Commercial syrups are often made with corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives to extend their shelf life. Homemade coffee syrups can be flavored with extracts, infusions and flavorings.

They can be made with different types of sugars, from regular cane sugar to brown sugar. Sugar-free coffee syrups are another option. A sugar-free syrup can be made with natural and artificial sweeteners like stevia or coconut sugar.

A whisk in a saucepan of simple syrup on a portable burner.
Photo credit: YayImages.

How to make coffee syrup

For the budget-and health-conscious, making coffee syrups at home is a great choice. It is made by dissolving sugar in water, which can be done with heat on the stove or with agitation in a blender.

Most simple syrup recipes call for a 1-to-1 ratio. This means that it contains equal parts sugar and water.

When syrups are made with more sugar than water, such as with a 1.5-to-1 or 2-to-1 ratio, it will yield a thicker, more viscous syrup. This type of syrup is often called rich syrup.

Common coffee flavors

There are a number of flavors of syrups you can expect to find in most coffee shops to add to lattes and iced coffees. However, they can easily be made at home to create your own flavored coffee drinks.

French vanilla syrup: Sweet and spiced, vanilla syrup is the star of vanilla lattes. It can be made by infusing vanilla beans into the syrup or mixing in vanilla extract.

Caramel sauce: Caramel sauce is a thicker syrup that is used to decorate drinks like the caramel macchiato. It can also be mixed into iced drinks to add a decadent flavor.

Mocha syrup: Mochas are chocolate-infused espresso drinks that are made with sweetened chocolate syrup. Similarly, white chocolate mochas are made with white chocolate syrup.

Toffee nut syrup: With a brown sugar base, toffee nut syrup is made by infusing hazelnut, almonds or pecan flavor into the syrup. The flavor tastes much like a salted toffee candy bar and is delicious in cold brewed coffee.

A woman is holding a cup of coffee on a tray.
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How much syrup to put in coffee

How much coffee syrup you use is a matter of personal preference. Start with a small amount, such as half an ounce, which is equal to half a tablespoon. Then add more to taste.

Coffee shops use pumps to dispense coffee syrups. One pump is equal to 1 tablespoon or half an ounce. A 12-ounce drink usually contains three pumps of syrup, but drinks can be

Syrups can be added to the cup before and after pouring in coffee. Since they are liquid, they should mix in easily either way. The coffee or espresso can be hot or cold.

How to store coffee syrup

Most commercial syrups do not need to be refrigerated as they are meant to be shelf stable. However, they should be consumed within 6 months of opening.

Homemade syrups, however, should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 1 month. If they have additional flavorings, especially infusions with fresh ingredients for natural flavors, the shelf life is 1-2 weeks. If you notice a cloudy appearance, it’s time to toss the syrup.

A person is pouring syrup onto pancakes.
Photo credit: Unsplash.

Other uses for coffee syrups

Beyond sweetening coffee, there are other ways to use flavored syrups. “I love having a variety of coffee syrups to add flavor to coffee, but I also love using them in specialty milkshakes and drizzled on vanilla ice cream,” said Gena of Ginger Casa.

Try drizzling it over breakfast foods like waffles, pancakes or French toast. You can also pour it over ice cream sundaes, and desserts.

In addition to coffee, you can use them to sweeten other drinks like tea, soda and hot chocolate. Syrups are common ingredients in cocktails as well.

If you like to put cream or milk in your coffee, you can use the syrups to create coffee creamers. This makes it easy to pour the milk and sweetener in your cup of joe at once, saving you time in the morning.

Based in Charlotte, N.C., Susannah Brinkley Henry is the cocktail content creator behind the blog Feast + West. Her work has been featured in Southern Living, Oprah Daily, Buzzfeed and more. In 2019, her website was a finalist in the Saveur Blog Awards for Best Entertaining Blog. As a professional graphic designer, photographer, writer and recipe developer, Susannah helps home bartenders and drink enthusiasts level up their cocktail skills.

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