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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved. It only takes about a 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 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.
- Measure coffee grounds and add them to the French press.
- Add the water, stir and cover the French press.
- Let it sit at room temp for 16-24 hours.
- 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.
- 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!
If you’re looking for summertime drinks with alcohol, check these out:
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
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 2 drinks
- 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
- 1-2 tablespoons vanilla syrup2, or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups cold brew3
For the Chocolate Cream
For the Cold Brew
- 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.
- 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.
- Fill two tall glasses with ice.
- Add a tablespoon of vanilla syrup to each glass.
- Pour 3/4 cup of cold brew into each glass and stir.
- Taste and add more syrup, if desired.
- Top each glass with chocolate cream and enjoy immediately.
For the Chocolate Cream:
For the Cold Brew
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.