College / Tips & Tricks

Life Hacks: Seasonal Drinks for Half the Cost

Fall and winter are the best times to cozy up with friends and a hot drink, but your wallet won’t necessarily thank you. Places like Starbucks, the coffee shop around the corner, and even your campus library can charge steep prices for your favorite latte.

During my senior year of high school I worked at Starbucks and was spoiled with free coffee during shifts, and discounts any other time I entered a store. Naturally, I got to wondering how I could make my favorite drinks without having to break my wallet. I’ve come up with some hacks so you can enjoy your favorite seasonal drinks!

If you have an espresso machine this will probably taste more like the original, but don’t fret! You can brew a cup of coffee and they’ll taste just as good.


To start: brew your espresso or coffee how you please. If you’re using coffee instead of espresso, I generally fill my cup half or three-quarters full. Then I’ll add milk for taste—less if I’m using coffee, more if I’m using espresso to make a true latte. While I generally use 1% milk for my drinks, you can use whatever milk your heart desires.

Salted Caramel Mocha Latte. This is my absolute favorite seasonal drink, and it’s fairly easy to make! Generally, I add roughly a tablespoon of chocolate syrup, a table spoon of caramel syrup, and squirt some whipped cream on top. Finish it off with a dash of sea salt on top of the whipped cream, sit back, and enjoy your masterpiece!

Pumpkin Spice Latte. I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but when I worked at Starbucks two years ago there was no actual pumpkin in this fall favorite. Instead, it was just a mixture of condensed milk for sweetness and pumpkin pie flavoring for the spice. Buying a can of condensed milk and combining it with pumpkin pie flavoring for taste will be pretty close to buying one at the café. Once you’ve combined the two, add it to your coffee/milk mixture and enjoy!

White Chocolate Mocha Latte. Again, not to burst anyone’s bubble but this popular drink isn’t actually made with white chocolate—it’s made with condensed milk. Put about a tablespoon of condensed milk in the bottom of your cup before adding the coffee and milk, stir it in, and you have the exact drink we make at Starbucks! Pro Tip: crush up a peppermint, or add peppermint extract, to make a White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha.

Peppermint Mocha Latte. I generally make this drink one of two ways, depending on what I have available in my kitchen. In both cases, I’ll use chocolate syrup as the mocha sauce because it’s cheap and easy. Depending on my resources, I’ll either crush up a mint or two, then dissolve them into the hot coffee, or I’ll add a drop or two of peppermint extract to taste. You can make a regular mocha latte the same way, just skipping the peppermint!

Cinnamon Dolce Latte. This drink is a little harder to make, mostly because there’s no exact ingredient list for the cinnamon dolce syrup. For the most part, this latte is similar to a caramel latte. Taking a tablespoon of caramel sauce, add a pinch of cinnamon to taste and mix the two. Add this to the coffee mixture and stir. Squirt some whipped cream on top and then sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on top of the whipped cream!

Chile Mocha. While I’ve never tasted this as it is new to this season, based on the name and my former-barista knowledge, I’ve come up with a pretty simple method that I’m sure isn’t too far off. Take your coffee mixture, add a pinch of Chile powder and a tablespoon of chocolate syrup, mix it together, and don’t forget to top it off with whipped cream!

Featured Image; Image 1


3 thoughts on “Life Hacks: Seasonal Drinks for Half the Cost

  1. Pingback: How To Do Christmas on a Budget | Vocalady

  2. Pingback: 10 Moments You’ll Encounter In Spring Semester – And How To Deal | Vocalady

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