When I started seeing brown sugar syrups in coffeehouse drinks like the Starbucks Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, I was a little skeptical. I mean, I’ve tried brown sugar in other recipes and absolutely loved it – but coffee? Was this going to be a thing?
Then, I tried it, because we are nothing if not an equal opportunity coffee drinkers here at WTF. And, of course, we loved it.
The brown sugar syrup gives the coffee a really caramely flavor, sort of like when you brown butter before making rice krispy treats. It’s a bit richer, too, and some have said it has an almost maple taste to it. When shaken with the oatmilk, which is creamier than most milks, it also has a delicious froth and texture.
Really, it’s exactly what we needed this year to help us push through all the mumbo jumbo. I mean, if coffee is not your therapy – can we even be friends?
But, I digress, the point is: it was only a matter of time after that first sip of a delicious iced brown sugar latte before I started figuring 0ut how to make it at home. And that’s why we are here: because I am sharing the world’s easiest brown sugar syrup with you. Make it, mix it with coffee, drink it, and love your life. It’s the simple things.
HOW TO MAKE BROWN SUGAR SIMPLE SYRUP:
Luckily, once I learned the base for simple syrup that’s perfect for coffee and mastered my delicious vanilla simple syrup recipe (it’s so easy), I knew a brown sugar version was probably going to be just switching out the sugars.
I played around with a couple different versions before landing on this one that is super easy and absolutely delicious. Add a tablespoon or two to your favorite iced coffee and wam bam – delicious coffee that tastes like a $5 coffeehouse drink.
Brown sugar simple syrup only has 3 ingredients: water, brown sugar and vanilla extract (maybe). Honestly, you could make it with two ingredients and move on with your life. I tend to put vanilla in everything. It’s sort of a thing. Idk. I think it makes things taste better.
Then, by simmering the water and sugar, the sugar melts into the water creating a simple syrup that will fuse with coffee, iced or hot, instead of sinking to the bottom like plain sugar will.
For simple syrups that are perfect for coffee, I like a 1:1 water and sugar ratio. One cup of water to one cup of sugar fills one of my syrup bottles perfectly with enough left over to make coffees right away and have a whole bottle left to store. For the perfect amount for the bottle, use 3/4 cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar.
If I’m making multiple quantities, I just multiply. We can easily go through two of these bottles a week, so I would just make a double batch.
I also tried just a one cup scoop of brown sugar vs. packed and for me the answer was – somewhere in the middle. What do food bloggers call that? Lightly packed? I don’t know. Fully packed was too sweet. Not packed at all was not enough flavor. Lightly packed, a little packed, somewhat packed – that was the right amount.
You can get liberal with your vanilla or just go with 1 tsp. Don’t over-splash, though, because then it’s too much.
Listen, we’re all about the easy recipes here at WTF. A scoop of this; a splash of that. Over time, you’ll make it your own anyway, so have some fun with it.
Let’s jump in to the recipe! Also, know that affiliate links are used in this post for products I use and love. This means at no cost to you, I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links. Cheers to that!
STEP BY STEP BROWN SUGAR SIMPLE SYRUP:
- Simmer one cup of water and one cup of brown sugar, lightly packed, until the sugar starts dissolving. This happens pretty quickly.
- After you see the sugar dissolved, add the tsp of vanilla extract – or don’t. Up to you.
- Cover and simmer on medium to low for about 5 minutes. You can do longer, but the simple syrup will start to slowly thicken and evaporate, so don’t forget about it.
- You do not need to boil, but a low simmer/boil is fine.
- Pour into a glass syrup container. I like these ones, because they come in a set and have labels with a chalkboard marker. Plus, it comes with a funnel that fits perfectly.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
If you want even more brown sugar flavor, use dark brown sugar. It has an almost molasses-y taste. Yum.
YOUR BROWN SUGAR SYRUP QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
DOES IT MATTER WHAT BRAND OF BROWN SUGAR I USE?
No, it doesn’t matter. If you have one on hand – use that. If not, I like an organic one like this, simply because I am trying to reduce chemicals in my food. I also like dark brown for this recipe if possible, but light brown is fine, too.
WHAT IF I SIMMER IT TOO LONG?
It is probably still usable unless you burned it. Even if the syrup ends up a bit reduced and thicker, you can still use it – you just may want to use less in your coffee, because it’ll be concentrated and sweeter.
CAN I USE SUGAR ALTERNATIVES?
Probably. I haven’t tried it, so be prepared to do some tests and figure out what tastes best to you. Hey, come back and tell me what works and I’ll update the post!
HOW CAN I USE MY BROWN SUGAR SYRUP?
I think it’s delicious in coffee. You could also use it in tea drinks. I like it with iced coffee, but the other coffee drinker in the house uses it in HOT coffee every day! They use our pour over method and then add this instead of any other kind of sugar. You could even gift it to a fellow coffee lover with a funny coffee mug and a bag of coffee beans for the perfect gift!
STARBUCKS COPYCAT: ICED Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
Using brown sugar simple syrup in your coffee drinks is as easy as switching out the vanilla or other flavoring for this one.
Here’s a super easy recipe I use to make brown sugar coffee drinks at home:
- 1 cup iced/cold brew coffee (like this one)
- 1-2tbsp of brown sugar simple syrup (I like it sweeter, so it’s 2 for me)
- 1/4 cup Oatmilk (diehard for this one)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg (optional!)
- Add ice
Put it all in a shaker. Shake shake shake. Give it all you got. Pour and drink.
I mean….look at that! It’s seriously so easy! It comes together in seconds and it’s so good. For more specific details on how to make this copycat coffee drink – check out the full recipe post here.
Do you love brown sugar coffee drinks? If you prefer vanilla, check out our iced vanilla latte recipe, too. Very similar but with a vanilla syrup base. Or, the cinnamon simple syrup (MY FAVORITE – OMG IT’S SO GOOD).
We’ll be back soon with more simple syrup recipes. We really love how easy they are and how they make homemade coffee taste like they were made by a barista!