The Easy Guide To Making Your Own Syrups For Coffee And Espresso Drinks

Written by: Garrett Oden

The Easy Guide To Making Your Own Syrups For Coffee And Espresso Drinks

Now, let’s get something straight: we LOVE black coffee here at JavaPresse. We believe a well-brewed cup of quality coffee is unrivaled in many ways. It’s rich and balanced, it’s fun to brew, and it starts your day with a moment you love.

However, we’re not against adding some sweetness to our coffee every now and then.

There are, after all, quite a few great cocktails and mocktails that feature coffee that could benefit from a great, tasty syrup - not to mention espresso drinks like mochas and iced lattes.

Making your own syrups for coffee and espresso drinks is a fun way to get creative with your coffee routine. They’re a great way to take your coffee drinks into your own hands.

I’d love to show you how to do it the easy way. With only a little effort, some creativity, and a few simple ingredients, you’ll have your own homemade coffee syrups in no time.

Why You Should Avoid Store-Bought Syrups

Store-bought syrups, like store-bought creamers and pie fillings, are filled with some pretty nasty preservatives. Now, not that preservatives are inherently evil or anything, but they do indicate you’re not always getting a fresh product.

And fresh is always better.

These preservatives usually damage the flavor of syrups for coffee and lead to a lower-quality product. Sad.

Read: Why You Should Never Grind All Your Coffee At The Same Time

Not only are homemade syrups extremely easy to make and completely customizable to your liking, they taste loads better.

There’s a reason specialty coffee shops are beginning to all make their own syrups. It’s just not worth the drop in quality to buy the pre-filled bottles anymore, despite how convenient they are.

The fresh stuff just tastes better.

The Basics Of Making Syrups

There are several ways to approach making your own syrups, but this one’s the easiest: start with a simple syrup.

Simple syrup, by definition, is one part water and one part sugar. So, for every liquid cup of water, you use a measuring cup of sugar.

Here’s how it happens:

When your water begins boiling, you toss in the sugar, give it a good spin with a spoon, and allow it to melt completely over the next couple minutes.


Read: Is Hard Water Destroying Your Coffee’s Flavor?

This basic recipe is a great foundation for adding additional ingredients. However, it’s also very sweet. If you’d like to tone it down a bit (I usually do), feel free to cut the sugar by 25-50 percent. Just follow your taste buds to the right water to sugar ratio.

The next step is to add flavor ingredients to simmering water. The water will pull flavors out of the ingredients over time. You can just add one ingredient, like pine needles, or you can get more complicated, like cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt.

make your own syrup

The key is to customize, customize, and customize some more. Syrup too sweet? Add less sugar next time. Flavor not strong enough? Add more of the flavor ingredient.

When using ingredients like fresh flowers, you need to be careful about over steeping. For example, lavender buds, when steeped in non-simmering warm water for four hours, gives off very pleasant flavor. However, when simmered for four hours, they produces a very bitter flavor.

Read: Why You Should Ditch Your Drip Coffee Pot For A French Press

I strongly suggest starting out making smaller batches until you find just the right ratios. Then you can make a larger batch to last a while.

Let’s look at some more specific recipes that you can get started with. Feel free to use these as a launching platform - adjust them as you wish!

Mocha Syrup

Make your own mocha lattes with this easy, delicious recipe. But don’t limit yourself to coffee - this syrup is great on everything. Espresso and milk, strawberries, cake, you name it.

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt

Boil the water and mix in the sugar till it’s all dissolved. Mix in the cocoa powder and salt and stir. It’ll be pretty thick, so make sure it’s all well incorporated.

Lavender Syrup

This Spring/Summer syrup goes extremely well with espresso and milk drinks. It also makes for a refreshing cold brew soda when it’s warm out.

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Fresh Lavender Buds

Boil the water and mix in the sugar till it’s all dissolved. Take the simple syrup off the heat and throw in the lavender buds. Cover and allow to steep for 4 hours, then strain out the buds.

Vanilla Bean Syrup

Ah, the classic vanilla syrup. Sadly, most vanilla syrup comes from imitation vanilla, which gets its flavor from an oil byproduct (gross). Use real vanilla beans for a richer, fresher, more authentic flavor.

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Vanilla Beans, Halved

Boil the water and mix in the sugar till it’s all dissolved. Toss in the vanilla bean halves and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, strain the beans and pour into bottle.

Note: don’t be afraid if vanilla bean particles remain in your syrup. Let them stay - they’re fine to drink and they’ll improve the flavor over time.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Syrup

This one makes for an excellent companion on cool Fall and Winter nights. It’s great mixed into some coffee and topped with a bit of steamed milk. Also perfect for a cold brew hot toddy.

  • 1 Cup Water
  • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks

Boil the water and mix in the sugar till it’s all dissolved. Add in the cinnamon sticks and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, take off the heat and allow the syrup to steep for three hours. When it’s complete, just spoon out the cinnamon sticks.

homemade coffee syrup

Peppermint Syrup

Mix this one with some mocha for a peppermint mocha latte or enjoy on its own.

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Fresh Peppermint Leaves

Boil the water and mix in the sugar till it's all dissolved. Then, take the pot off the heat and carefully mix in fresh mint leaves. Be careful not to tear or bruise the leaves (that’ll make bitter syrup). Allow a 30 minute steep, the strain out leaves.

Read: Can The Aeropress Make Espresso?


You’ll love how fresh and tasty your homemade syrups are, and your creative coffee and espresso drinks will benefit from them. The benefits of making things by hand are clearly tasted in these incredible syrups.

Give your daily mug of coffee that same love and attention by brewing with freshly roasted, specialty-grade beans from the world’s best farms. That’s what we’ll send you every other week in our JavaPresse Coffee Club.

If rich, balanced coffee is what you’re after, you’ll find it with our beans. Check them out!


2nd image courtesy of Isabelle Boucher.