6 Coffee & Tea Drinks You Should Be Making Not Buying, According to a Dietitian

Get your caffeine fix in the comfort of your own home.

Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Jessica Ball keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two, and make Earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

To put it simply, I love coffee. I have a few cups every day, so I relish any research that points to coffee's anti-inflammatory, brain health and longevity benefits. And while I love my go-to coffee shop order (I'll take an Americano with a Doppio on the side, please), I make most of my coffee at home. You may think you can only brew plain ol' drip coffee at home, but it's not hard to get a little more creative. These simple recipes are proof of how easy it can be, plus making your own coffee and tea drinks at home can help you save money. Here are six coffee and tea drinks you should be making, not buying.

1. Cold Brew

Making your own cold brew is arguably easier than making hot coffee; it just takes a bit more time and planning. All you have to do is add your ground coffee to some water (about 2 to 3 tablespoons per cup, depending on how strong you like it) and let it sit in your fridge for 12 hours or overnight. Then strain it, and you have your own homemade cold brew using the coffee beans of your choosing in the comfort of your home. Making this popular drink at home can save you serious money compared to a coffee shop, which might charge close to $4 for a 16-ounce cup. Especially with warmer weather ahead (it can't come soon enough if you ask me), this one is worth trying at home.

2. Whipped Coffee

A viral TikTok recipe from the past, whipped coffee is a fun mashup of your morning joe and dessert. While it's probably not something to enjoy on the daily, considering the steps required and added sugar content, it's a great option for when you want to re-create the coffee shop experience at home. You can make it vegan-friendly by using a nondairy milk alternative. You can even customize it by adding vanilla or almond extract, cocoa powder, or spices like cinnamon.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Iced Coffee
Casey Barber

3. Matcha Latte

You may know it for its vibrant color and love it for its earthy, bright flavor. Matcha is popular, highly caffeinated and, believe it or not, easy to make at home. Our Matcha Green Tea Latte is ready in just 10 minutes using only three ingredients—or opt for our Iced Matcha Latte, which is just as easy. Just note that matcha needs to be whisked thoroughly and can easily clump, so if you make a lot of matcha it could be worth investing in a matcha whisk that's designed to evenly mix the fine green powder.

4. Iced Coffee

Especially since we've already covered homemade cold brew, this might sound pretty straightforward (although iced coffee is brewed hot and chilled down, versus cold brew which is steeped in the fridge). But in the warmer months, I like to keep a large jar (a pitcher would work too) in the fridge and add any drip coffee that I don't drink for the day. This allows me to have iced coffee at-the-ready for busy mornings or an afternoon perk-me-up. And you can get creative with the flavors by adding homemade flavored syrups, herbs, nut butters and chocolate, like in our Mint-Chocolate Whipped Iced Coffee or our Chocolate-Hazelnut Iced Coffee.

5. Iced Tea

Popular chains like Dunkin' and Starbucks have a variety of tea-based drinks or "refreshers" that are basically iced tea plus flavorings. But with a well-stocked tea collection, you can easily re-create these drinks at home for a fraction of the price. Simply steep the tea or combination of teas of your choice, and add additional fruit, homemade syrups, citrus or herbs for even more flavor. I would highly recommend our Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea if you're in need of inspiration.

6. Espresso Martinis

It's not morning all the time, and sometimes you just need a happy hour at home to wrap up a long week. Espresso martinis are having a moment, and we are on board (everything in moderation—meaning at most one to two drinks if you do drink). You can make your own espresso or if you don't have an espresso machine (like me), you can order an extra double shot on the side—affectionately referred to as a doppio—if you're planning on an espresso cocktail in the evening. Try our classic Espresso Martini recipe, or switch things up with our frozen version.

The Bottom Line

Whether you love an earthy matcha latte or a fluffy whipped coffee, you can re-create many of your favorite coffee shop drinks at home for a fraction of the price. Not to mention, making coffee and tea drinks at home helps you control the flavor profile and added sugar content. So the next time a caffeine craving strikes, try to channel your inner barista (our coffee drink recipes are here to help).

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