Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Recipe

This Chocolate Cream Cold Brew is rich and creamy with subtle chocolate and malt flavors – and just a hint of sweetness! It’s a true Starbucks copycat of their latest summer hit with options to make it vegan and dairy-free.

With just 6 ingredients, you too can have a refreshingly cool, light and fluffy, creamy drink for hot days without leaving your comfy home.

In case you haven’t tried it, here are my impressions of their chocolate cream cold brew. The Starbucks version has a pretty bitter coffee layer that’s just barely sweetened. I didn’t really taste the vanilla.

And the chocolate foam has just a hint of chocolate and malt flavors. The cream dissipated pretty quickly — it didn’t seem as “sturdy” or thick as the normal cold foam.

So I tried to replicate that but made it a little more to taste.

The cold brew in today’s drink is also just barely sweetened with vanilla syrup. I’ve included a recipe for vanilla syrup and you can even make a naturally sweetened version!

And I matched their thinner foam by using cream and milk. Starbucks uses non-fat milk in their milk foam, so if you want a true copy, that’s what you should use.

It’s what the recipe below calls for (and what was used during testing and in the photos), but I usually use whole milk just because I don’t like fat-free products. And I prefer the fuller flavor.

For testing, I used Starbucks bottled cold brew. To make this a true copycat recipe, I recommend that.

If you don’t need this drink to taste exactly the same as Starbucks’, then make your own cold brew! It’s much cheaper and easy to do. I talk about this below.

Random tips

  • Although I used a tablespoon of vanilla syrup, I think you could go down to 1-2 teaspoons if you really wanted to.

  • It’s not necessary to make cold foam, but I love the extra richness it adds.

  • I used regular ice cubes, but you can make cold brew coffee ice cubes, so you don’t water down your drink. After making cold brew, just pour some into an ice tray and freeze overnight. This is the best way to retain that coffee taste as the ice melts.

Don’t have chocolate malted milk powder?

If you don’t have chocolate malted milk powder on hand, there are a few substitution options.

  • Use 1 1/2 tablespoons plain malted milk powder + 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder.

  • If you’re gluten-free – you must omit the malted milk powder. There’s sadly no such thing as a gluten-free version! So if you’re gluten-free, just add 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to make the chocolate cold foam.

    Malted milk powder’s first ingredient is sugar, so when you omit it, you need to add a bit of sugar. I used 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and added it along with the other ingredients that are shaken. It sounds like a lot, but it’s just hardly sweet.

Vanilla syrup

You can use Starbucks Naturally Flavored Vanilla Coffee Syrup, or you can easily make your own. The ingredients in the store-bought version aren’t actually all that bad:

Sugar, water, natural flavor, potassium sorbate (preservative), citric acid

It is convenient. You can keep it at room temperature and use it within 4 months of opening.

I don’t often use vanilla syrup, so I just made a small portion. I made a fourth of what’s written below.

And I usually make it with maple syrup! You can also make it with honey, but I don’t recommend the honey version for this drink.

To make vanilla simple syrup

  1. Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar (maple syrup, honey or agave can also be used) to a small saucepan set over medium heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved. It only takes about a minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and then add 1 split vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  4. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge until ready to use. It stays good for about 1 week.

Vegan and dairy-free version

You can use coconut cream in place of the heavy cream and whatever dairy-free milk you’d like in place of the regular milk. You also have to omit the malted milk powder and use the cocoa powder sub that’s listed for the gluten-free version.

You need to use more coconut cream and less milk because coconut cream isn’t as thick as heavy cream. So use 5 tablespoons of coconut cream and 3 tablespoons of your favorite dairy-free milk.

Don’t overshake it because it’s quick to curdle. If your coconut cream is hard from sitting in the fridge, then you’ll probably want to let it sit at room temp for a bit to soften. Otherwise, it’s quite difficult to shake. If you’re using a blender, it’s fine to use very firm coconut cream.

And note that using coconut cream does result in some coconut flavor! So it’s not a true copycat if you use that.

How to make cold brew

Cold brew coffee is coffee grounds steeped in filtered cold water overnight. It is less acidic and less bitter than a regular cup of coffee making it easier on the stomach. And it’s perfect for the hot summer months.

Cold brewing is a slow process. You are using cold water and it takes time to develop robust flavors and aromas, so this drink takes a little planning.

You can make cold brew in a mason jar with a lid or by using a French press. The advantage of using a French press is that comes with its own filter, but both work.

I have a whole post on how to make cold brew with a French press here → French Press Cold Brew.

The below is just an overview so you can see if it looks simple enough, or if you’d rather get store-bought.

  1. Measure coffee grounds and add them to the French press.
  2. Add the water, stir and cover the French press.
  3. Let it sit at room temp for 16-24 hours.
  4. The next day, plunge and pour.

The same method is used for a mason jar. The only difference is with a mason jar, you will need to use a coffee filter or other filtering method to filter out the grinds before you make this drink. It may take two or three filters to get the grounds completely out.

More refreshing drinks

If you like this Starbucks copycat, you might also like some of these drinks.

  • This Pineapple Matcha Starbucks Copycat is an energizing green tea drink that’s naturally-sweetened with 100% pineapple juice. It’s vegan, paleo and healthy!

  • If you’re looking for invigorating and filling, try this Vietnamese Avocado Smoothie. It can be made the traditional way or a healthier vegan, paleo way.

  • If you’re looking for summertime drinks with alcohol, check these out:

  • This Italian-inspired Limoncello Spritz is nice and lemony with a sparkling twist.

  • This Raspberry Margarita has all the dings and whistles! It’s made with freshly squeezed lime juice with a fruity raspberry twist. It’s maple-sweetened and vegan and gluten-free.

  • This Gin Margarita is light and bright and made for those that prefer gin! It’s vegan and gluten-free.

  • This Frozen Pineapple Margarita is from my other blog, and it’s a tasty freeze!

That’s it! I hope you find this Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Recipe to your liking! If you make it, let us know what you think in the comments. Keep cool and enjoy.

Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew

Rated 5.0 by 6 readers
Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Recipe
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 2 drinks


    For the Chocolate Cream

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (non-fat / 0%)
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate malted milk powder (gluten-free? read below!)1
  • For the Cold Brew

  • 1-2 tablespoons vanilla syrup2, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cold brew3
  • ice


    For the Chocolate Cream:

  1. With a milk frother: add the heavy cream, milk, and chocolate malted milk powder to a small bowl and froth until thick and creamy – about 45 seconds.
  2. Without a milk frother: add the heavy cream, milk, and chocolate malted milk powder to a small jar and shake vigorously until thick and creamy – about 1 to 2 minutes. Or add the heavy cream, milk, and chocolate malted milk powder to a blender and blend on medium speed until thick and creamy – about 30 seconds.

  3. For the Cold Brew

  4. Fill two tall glasses with ice.
  5. Add a tablespoon of vanilla syrup to each glass.
  6. Pour 3/4 cup of cold brew into each glass and stir.
  7. Taste and add more syrup, if desired.
  8. Top each glass with chocolate cream and enjoy immediately.


  1. If you're gluten-free – you must omit the chocolate malted milk powder. Use 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder in place of the chocolate malted milk powder to make the chocolate cream. I also added 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar. This is because malted milk powder's first ingredient is sugar, which is what makes the chocolate cream sweet.

  2. To make a vanilla simple syrup – add 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar to a small saucepan set over medium heat.

    Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute.

    Remove from the heat and then add 1 split vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

    Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge until ready to use. It lasts for about 1 week.

    Maple syrup or honey can also be used but for a true copycat, use granulated sugar. I prefer using maple syrup. It's tasty in this drink, but I do not recommend using honey for flavor reasons here.

  3. You can make this French press cold brew or use this Starbucks bottled cold brew for a true copycat. If you make the homemade cold brew, be sure to dilute it according to the recipe directions.
  • For a vegan and dairy-free version – use 5 tablespoons coconut cream in place of the heavy cream and 3 tablespoons dairy-free milk in place of regular milk. Also use the cocoa powder sub listed above for the malted milk powder.

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13 comments on “Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Recipe” — Add one!

  • Kelly
    May 20, 2022 @ 9:19 pm

    Hey Erin! So glad you posted this. Last time I was at Starbucks a few weeks ago, I saw the chocolate cream cold brew but didn’t get it but it was on my list to try. BUT I try to stay away from Starbucks because they are so expensive among other reasons. Cold brew is my thing. I typically buy the Chameleon brand of organic cold brew. It is my favorite! But I want to start making my own. I tried your recipe and it was tasty! I’ll be making it again. I didn’t use a simple syrup for the vanilla because I have Torani’s zero sugar vanilla at my house which I love. I didn’t use the malted powder because I didn’t have any so I just used cocoa powder. I used heavy cream and half and half and a splash of almond milk. I have noticed in the past that oat milk froths up really well but I haven’t bought any in awhile. Anyhow, thanks for the great recipe again!

    • Erin replies to Kelly
      May 21, 2022 @ 6:09 am

      Hello! Sorry I missed your review. I was so sad about the newsletter thing that I went straight to bed and didn’t notice your second comment. Thanks for the tip on Chameleon! I’ll try it out. How is Torani’s zero sugar vanilla syrup? I’ve seen that but I was dubious because of my dislike of keto sweeteners. 😄 Looks like I can’t get it here anyway. I see NuNaturals has something similar that I could get. It might be fun to do some keto cocktails or something. I’m glad that you enjoyed the drink! Thanks a ton for your feedback and for sharing your changes. :) Have a great weekend!

      • Kelly
        replies to Erin
        May 21, 2022 @ 6:34 am

        It’s really funny. It feels like it was only a few hours ago that I left the review and you have already gone to bed and gotten up to a new day and I am still awake (11:30pm here).
        As far as Torani zero sugar syrups go, I love the vanilla. I have the caramel one and the Hazelnut. The caramel is really strong and I don’t really care for the hazelnut one. It just doesn’t seem to taste like Hazelnut to me. I tried Jordan’s Skinny syrups a few years ago and I didn’t like them at all. Torani’s vanilla is SO good. And that chocolate cream cold brew that I had earlier today was excellent!

        • Erin replies to Kelly
          May 21, 2022 @ 8:32 pm

          That is so nice of you to let me unpause my newsletter on you, but it’s not possible. I’d have to unpause on everyone and I don’t want to accidentally send people about 100 emails. But thank you! I’ll contact customer service on Monday and see what they say.

          I actually have a few syrups I want to post (like homemade hazelnut syrup) to make healthier drinks, or at least less processed drinks, and you’ve given me the idea to try them with the keto sweetener blend that I like. I bet that’d make a lot of people happy! Will definitely do it. The last 2 years have been so hard with the pandemic (I heard that people in the US talk about it in the past tense, like it’s a bygone era 😆 – but life hasn’t really changed for us at all since it first started) and I haven’t had time to test totally new recipes dozens of times before posting. All I’m in the mood to do now is post drinks. 😄 At least I can make them a little healthier!

  • Holly
    May 20, 2022 @ 3:57 pm

    Hi Erin! How have you been? For some reason your posts have been going into my spam folder :( I just thought you weren’t posting as often.

    Anyways I’m glad to see this recipe and I’m excited to try it! I love cold brew. Just curious, why does simple syrup only keep for a week? It’s just sugar and water and sugar doesn’t really expire.. I have a small batch I made for something else and I’ve kept it at room temperature for a few weeks 😱 I guess I should’ve at least refrigerated it but I didn’t even think about it at the time because I didn’t think sugar spoiled. Thanks for the input.

    I just made your AMAZING gfree chocolate cake recipe yesterday. It’s one of our all time faves! I wish there was a gluten-free alternative for malt powder because malt is one of my favorite flavors in the world. Oh well.

    • Kelly replies to Holly
      May 20, 2022 @ 8:48 pm

      I don’t get notifications ever when Erin posts something new. They aren’t in spam or anywhere yet I have checked my subscription status with her page over and over again. I don’t understand it.

      • Erin replies to Kelly
        May 20, 2022 @ 9:38 pm

        Hi Kelly! The last time you mentioned this, I didn’t know about the creepy stats the newsletter service provides that I mentioned below. When I looked last, I saw that you were subscribed and opened the emails 74% of the time. Now I see that the last email you got was in January 2020. And it’s because the newsletter (it’s a different campaign than Holly below, whatever that means – my husband set all this up) was paused for some reason. So you and 1600 others haven’t gotten a newsletter this whole time. Which stinks enough as it is, but I’ve also been paying $160 a month for it. ☹️ Ugh. So thank you for asking again! I have to find out what to do next. I fear if I hit unpause, that it’s going to send you and all the others 2 1/4 years of posts all at once. Then I’ll have loads of people angry with me. So I need to be careful. I’ll have my husband look at it next week! So sorry about this. :( Oh, and I also have a post for you (or at least Kelly-inspired), too! Cacao vs cocoa. Coming (hopefully) in a few days. :)

        • Holly
          replies to Erin
          May 20, 2022 @ 9:47 pm

          WOWZA…That’s soooo ironic b/c I’m hyper-careful (I know not a real word) about the information I look at, enter, post, watch etc. online so to find out stuff like that is going on where I wasn’t even aware it was happening is kind of mind-boggling. And Not in a good way lol. Thanks for the info Erin. It’s good to know I’ve been getting them all!

          ps- Erin, when I read what you said about paying $160/mo and having so many of your post missed by so many people, my heart broke! UGH. That really stinks. I hope you can fix it so everyone can get every single one of your posts! It makes my day when I see them in my inbox :)))

        • Erin replies to Holly
          May 21, 2022 @ 7:54 pm

          Every newsletter you’re signed up for (it’s just automatic, they all do this no matter the provider) takes those crazy stats. On one hand, it’s creepy. On the other hand, it helps the newsletter owner make it better for you. Like if they see someone opens 100% of the vegan posts and 0% of the non-vegan posts, they might make a vegan subsection of the newsletter and only send those people vegan recipes. Or if they see that savory posts have an overall open rate of 2% and the desserts have a rate of 95%, then they know to stop with the savory posts. And then they can also put the subscribers in order of open rate or when they last opened a newsletter. So if someone last opened one of the newsletter emails in 2018, then they might think it’s okay to delete them from the list. Lots of bigger bloggers pay over a thousand a month for their newsletters, so I don’t blame them! I never look at this stuff (and didn’t know the extent to which those stats exist until yesterday), and won’t look at it again in the future, so I hope nobody is worried. :)

          And thank you! It’ll definitely be fixed soon. Such a pity, though! Oh well. Nothing I can do about it now. But I’m glad that you enjoyed getting them! That is so nice to hear!

        • Kelly
          replies to Erin
          May 21, 2022 @ 6:24 am

          Cool. Can’t wait to read the cocoa vs cacoa post!
          I am really not bothered anymore that I don’t get your newsletter. I have your page bookmarked and I check on it at the beginning of every week to see if you have anything new out there. But you paying that much a month and your newsletters not going to that many people is not cool for you at all. Is it possible to un-pause 1 person rather than the whole lot of us? If so, I can be your guinea pig if you would like.

    • Erin replies to Holly
      May 20, 2022 @ 9:29 pm

      Hello! Sorry that they’ve been going to your spam folder. :( Is there a button or something somewhere that you can click “Not spam” or “Move to inbox”? That should fix the problem! I put your email into my newsletter provider and it tells me all kinds of crazy stats like what you’ve been sent, what’s been opened and even if you’ve clicked a link (kind of creepy but I never look at this stuff unless there’s a case like this). You’ve opened all but a few newsletter from the last few months so don’t worry – you’ve received them all!

      I know the simple syrup thing is crazy. Supposedly, it can go moldy. I made some plain simple syrup last month and researched it. Saw ranges from 2-4 weeks (if you make the kind with more sugar, “rich simple syrup” – that lasts a lot longer). Then I made this vanilla simple syrup and researched it again. Flavored simple syrups supposedly only last 1-2 weeks. To me, vanilla shouldn’t really count as “flavored” because vanilla lasts forever, right?! Not like a fruit-flavored syrup. I was conservative and said 1 week because I don’t want anyone to get sick.

      I agree about the malt! I researched that one hard. Also tried to see if it exists in different countries, but it doesn’t. Maybe one day they can replicate that taste somehow without the barley! I’m r really glad that you’ve been enjoying the GF chocolate cake. Let me know if you try a keto version. 😄 I still haven’t found an edible (to me) baked chocolate keto recipe.

      Have a great weekend! Also, I finally made the paleo vegan vanilla ice cream you requested (or at least asked about – I don’t quite remember as it’s been a few years!) I can send you the recipe before I post it, if you want, because who knows when/if I ever get my dessert recipes from my usual photographer.

      • Holly
        replies to Erin
        May 20, 2022 @ 9:54 pm

        Hey Erin! I didn’t know to hit the ‘not spam’ button but I definitely will next time. I just moved it to my inbox but that is even better to do so it doesn’t keep going there.

        That makes sense about flavored simple syrup’s going moldy. I should’ve refrigerated my vanilla one. I’ll have to start doing that. I always learn something from your posts!

        I did A LOT of research on malt as well a few years ago and there’s definitely no other gfree options. Some people say MACA powder resembles it but I don’t agree. Although I use it in my smoothies..not for the taste however, but for the nutritional benefits.

        I would LOVE the vanilla ice cream recipe! YES YES YES! We made your chocolate peanut butter d-free ice cream to eat with the cake and then my daughter and I made ice cream sandwiches with that and some of your cookies we had in the freezer the next day and they were soooo good!
        Sending hugs your way ♥️

        • Erin replies to Holly
          May 21, 2022 @ 8:11 pm

          To be honest, I’ll definitely keep mine longer than 1 week, but I really don’t want anyone to get sick. If they’re not paying attention, they might pour it into their drink. I also don’t want to get sued! So 1 week it is. ;) Maca powder does not resemble malt. At all. 😄 I’m with you there! But I have hope someone will come up with a GF version. No idea how, but they’re always coming up with new stuff. I’ll send you the recipe on Monday. :) It’s more like a nutty/salty/caramel-y/vanilla-y recipe, but notice that coconut is missing from that! Haha. Every other vegan “vanilla” ice cream I tasted was coconut with some vanilla flavor. And yay, I’m really happy you’re enjoying the ice cream recipes! I’m actually reposting the chocolate one tomorrow now that I’ve discovered it’s just as good with coconut milk (instead of cream), making it much easier to make. I served the coconut cream version to some people and they just couldn’t handle the richness. Could only do a few bites. Bizarre to me. 😆

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