With fall right around the corner but daily temperatures that still feel like summer, it felt like the perfect time to create a cozy (& iced!) coffee shop drink. This easy 5-minute copycat recipe for Starbucks Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is lightly spiced, caramelly, and perfectly caffeinated. Plus, it’ll cost just a fraction of the cost to make at home!
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Despite being a serious coffee lover, I'm always hesitant to spend $5+ for cups of caffeinated goodness on the regular at my local Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong — I’ll happily splurge on a fancy espresso drink at brunch or when I’m out and about with friends. But for my daily cup of java, I’m more often than not making it at home - add perhaps adding some coffee ice cubes into the mix!
But what to do when you're craving something a little different or elevated? Making coffee shop-style drinks at home is much easier than you think and it’ll save you a ton of time and money in the long run. Case in point? This copycat brown sugar starbucks drink!
Made with just 4 ingredients in all of 5 minutes, this barista-level brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso is literally everything I could want out of an iced coffee drink. It’s cold and frothy, sweet and spiced, with the perfect balance of rich coffee flavor and creamy mouthfeel.
All the flavor with none of the lines, miscommunications, or need for a tip. Best of all? This easy-to-make dream in a cup costs just a fraction of what you’d pay for at your local coffeehouse. Come on and give it a try!
As promised you don’t need much to make this shaken oat milk espresso. Here’s what you’ll need to grab:
- Brown Sugar Simple Syrup - While the original recipe is made with just brown sugar and water, I like to add a cinnamon stick or dash of cinnamon after it comes off the heat into the small saucepan for a bit of autumnal spice. You can either store the syrup with the cinnamon stick still in it, or strain it out after about 40 minutes of steep time. Keep it in an airtight container and add tablespoons of syrup into the delicious drink of your preference!
- Espresso - Freshly pulled shots of espresso can easily be attained at home with almost no equipment necessary. Alternatively, feel free to use coffee concentrates like Cometeer or Jot, or go super low-tech and use instant espresso powder dissolved in hot water. Choose the kind of espresso that you enjoy - this will make your homemade version of this easy copycat recipe an original to your taste buds!
- Oatmilk - You can use any plant-based or dairy milk that you like, though I love the creamy mouthfeel and lightly sweet flavor of oatmilk. If you like a bit of foam for texture and volume, seek out a “barista” blend for superior frothing.
Making a Starbucks iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso at home is less involved than you might think. Here are the only pieces of equipment you’ll need:
- Espresso Maker - If you want freshly pulled brewed xfespresso shots with a perfect layer of crema, don’t think you need to spend a gazillion dollars. You can easily get an Italian-style stovetop version for around $40, a smaller countertop machine for around $60-150, or if you’re super serious about creating barista vibes, a professional machine for upwards of $800+.
- Cocktail Shaker - In order to make this brown sugar shaken espresso, we need something to shake it in! If you don’t have a proper cocktail shaker, a tall, wide-mouth mason glass jar with a tight-fitting lid is an excellent alternative.
- Milk Frother (Optional) - If you want to level up your coffee-at-home game, a milk frother is the way to go. You can get a handheld version for around $10, or a pitcher-style frother that’ll either cold froth or heat-and-froth your milk for you for around $40.
📖 Step by Step Instructions
You’ll flip when you realize how easy it is to make this iced brown sugar shaken espresso recipe at home in your own kitchen. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Shake. Combine cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup and 2 shots of espresso in a mason jar or cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 45 seconds to a minute.
Step 2: Froth. This is an optional step, but will give you a lovely foamy head on your beverage.
Step 3: Assemble. Strain the shaken espresso over ice cubes and add oatmilk (frothed or not) into a tall glass. Enjoy!
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
While this copycat Starbucks oat milk brown sugar espresso drink is pretty spot-on to the original, there are plenty of ways to customize it exactly to your liking — without any annoying surcharges! Here are a few variations to consider
- Alternative milks. Oatmilk might be all the rage, but if you’re more of an almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or cow's milk lover, feel free to switch things up with the plant-based milk or non-dairy milk of your choosing! Just remember that if you want to froth plant-based milks, look for either “barista-style” blends or a higher fat content (e.g. canned coconut milk) for the most stable bubbles.
- Decaf. Want the flavor but not the jitters? Swap in your favorite decaf for the brewed espresso.
- Different flavor syrups. Brown sugar is just one of MANY flavor options! One of my favorites is vanilla flavor syrup that adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Here are a few extra ideas to get your wheels turning.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
My brown sugar oat milk espresso recipe is super easy to pull off, but I’ve learned a few things along the way that’ll make your life even easier:
- Store brown sugar syrup in a squeeze bottle for easy measuring. Kitchen squeeze bottles are a godsend, especially when it comes to sticky things like simple syrup or decanting your high-end olive oil into. Go ahead and buy a 6-pack; you’ll definitely find ways to use them.
- Shake it like you mean it! Think of this shaken espresso like a cocktail. The purpose of shaking the espresso and brown sugar syrup isn’t just to mix and chill the ingredients. By shaking vigorously, small shards of ice will help to aerate it and create a lighter texture.
- Cold froth your milk for added volume and texture. While this is an optional step, taking the extra minute or two to do it will give your final beverage serious coffee shop vibes.
💭 Recipe FAQs
That’s entirely up to you. Depending on your ratio of coffee grounds to water, espresso can range from about 29-100 miligrams per 1-ounce shot, with an average range of 68-75 miligrams. For decaf beans, you can expect about 8 miligrams per 1-ounce shot.
If you’re looking to limit your caffeine intake, don’t forget you can always do a half-caff! If you are avoiding caffeine entirely, consider using finely ground chicory instead or decaf roasts.
Shaking espresso is similar to creaming butter and sugar together. During the process, small shards of ice break off in the shaker, helping to aerate the liquid (like sugar creates air pockets in butter). If done properly, the resulting espresso should not only be cold and lightly sweetened, but should also have a lighter, airier consistency. YUM!
Just like a latte or any other espresso drink, the strength (at least in terms of caffeine) is entirely dependent on how much espresso you use. For a double shot drink, the amount of caffeine will be the same whether shaken or not.
If we’re talking about strength of flavor, however, that’s more dependent on how much milk you usually add to your lattes. In the case of this iced brown sugar shaken espresso, I’m using a generous 6 ounces of oat milk, so the flavor will be roughly on par with an iced latte.
More Iced Coffee Recipes
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Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- ½ oz Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, (infuse with cinnamon stick if desired)
- 2 Shots Espresso
- 4-5 oz Oatmilk
- Shake brown sugar simple syrup (infused with cinnamon if desired) and 2 shots of espresso in a mason jar or cocktail shaker with ice.½ oz Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, 2 Shots Espresso
- Shake for 30 seconds and pour over ice in a serving glass and add 6 oz oatmilk (froth for volume and texture if desired).4-5 oz Oatmilk
Optional VariationsWhile this copycat Starbucks oat milk brown sugar espresso drink is pretty spot-on to the original, there are plenty of ways to customize it exactly to your liking — without any annoying surcharges! Here are a few variations to consider
- Alternative milks. Oatmilk might be all the rage, but if you’re more of an almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or dairy milk lover, feel free to switch things up! Just remember that if you want to froth plant-based milks, look for either “barista-style” blends or a higher fat content (e.g. canned coconut milk) for the most stable bubbles.
- Decaf. Want the flavor but not the jitters? Swap in your favorite decaf brew.
- Different flavor syrups. Brown sugar is just one of MANY flavor options! Here are a few extra ideas to get your wheels turning.