If you’re a fan of cold brew coffee, you know that its smooth, bold flavor can stand on its own. However, for those with a sweet tooth, adding a touch of sweetness can make it even better.
But with so many sweeteners and flavorings to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to use. Whether you’re looking for a classic, comforting flavor or want to try something other than just a spoonful of sugar
, there’s a world of possibilities when it comes to sweetening your cold brew.
In this post, we’ll explore 35 delicious ways to sweeten cold brew, including traditional sweeteners, syrups, and even some unconventional options that might surprise you.
The first few options are not quite as sweet, if you want, you can skip to the part with the hard-core sweeteners for your cold brew.
Preparation That Gives You a Sweeter Brew
The first thing that I would recommend is to look at your brewing process and how you dilute your cold brew. Here are my recommendations to prepare cold brew that is a bit sweeter from the start.
1. Coffee Beans
This might seem like a stupid one, but I tested the taste difference between cold brew made with regular vs blonde espresso beans and I was surprised.
I compared Starbucks’ blonde and “Pike Place” roasts. At the moment their “Pike Place” is pretty much my favorite coffee beans. However, when I made the cold brew, I ended up liking the blonde roast better.
The thing is, although I like bitter coffee, when it comes to cold brew, I like it a bit sweeter and that’s exactly what the blonde roast gives you. I mean, it’s a subtle flavor, but it is enough to convince me to stick to the blonde roast when I make cold brew.
2. Dilution With Cow’s Milk
I’m going to start with this because when I made cold brew in my French press for the first time, I realized that I prefer to dilute my cold brew with milk and not water.
This links to the previous section with the beans. It is not an overly sweet option, but it still makes a difference.
I like to dilute my cold brew in a 1:2 coffee-to-milk ratio and it gives it a naturally sweeter flavor.
Using cream will not only give your cold brew a creamy texture, it will also give it a sweeter edge. You can use heavy cream or a lower fat variant.
Using sweetened cream will of course give you an extra bit of sweetness. Whipped cream is quite often sweetened and can even make your coffee look a bit fancier.
It will of course be quite rich, so you could first dilute your cold brew concentrate with either milk or water before adding a little cream.
In this case, I will use equal parts water or milk to coffee concentrate. Then I will add about a tablespoon of cream.
Instead of mixing cream and milk to dilute your cold-brewed coffee with, you could also use half-and-half. It is basically a ready-made mixture of milk and cream.
5. Evaporated Milk for Dilution
This is similar to the milk, cream, and half-and-half options, however, it will give you a different level of creaminess. Milk will of course be the least creamy and cream the most. Evaporated milk is a little creamier than milk but less than half-and-half or cream. So, I guess you could say it is the healthier alternative to cream depending on how much you add.
I actually wrote an entire post on the difference between evaporated milk and half-and-half for your coffee, which you might like.
When I tested evaporated milk in my cold brew, I was pleasantly surprised. I used a 1:1 ratio because it is quite creamy and my life was forever changed.
6-9. Non-Dairy Milk
Many people can’t drink dairy products or are not very fond of them. However, there are many non-dairy alternatives out there, all of which can help you to break the bitterness of your cold brew and give it a sweeter edge.
6. Coconut Milk
7. Almond Milk
8. Cashew Milk
9. Oat Milk
To make your brew even sweeter when you use one of these dairy alternatives, you can look out for flavored versions of them. These are quite often sweetened and thus they will sweeten your drink.
Some sweeteners are sweeter than others. The ones in the following section are the ones that are more to the sweeter side of the spectrum.
10-14. Sugar and Sugar Alternatives
There are many natural sweeteners that you can use to make your cold brew sweeter. These include:
10. Regular Sugar
11. Coconut Sugar
14. Monk Fruit Sweetener
Just beware that monk fruit sweetener is about 300 times (I’m not exaggerating for dramatic effect, just saying) sweeter than normal sugar. So, start with a small amount and increase it to personal preference to make sure that your drink doesn’t end up too sweet for your taste.
15. Sweetened Condensed Milk
This one is an all-time favorite of mine and probably one of the most popular options out there.
It is quite thick and sticky, so I recommend warming up some milk to mix it with. Then let the mixture cool down before adding it to your cold brew. Otherwise your coffee will end up as in the picture below with two layers. One with condensed milk and the other coffee.
16-21. Artificial Sweeteners
Of course, you can also try one of the many artificial alternatives to sugar. These include:
21. Acesulfame K
While honey in its natural form is quite sticky and won’t mix well with cold liquids like your cold brew, you can make a syrup with it. Here are the steps that I used to make my honey syrup:
- I used a 1:2 ratio of honey to water.
- I put a mixture of them over medium heat on my stove until all the honey had dissolved.
- Then, I let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Lastly, I let it cool down before using it in my coffee.
Another natural sweetener that you can try in your cold brew is molasses.
Like honey, it is quite thick and sticky. So, before using it first make a syrup with it using the same steps I did for the honey syrup.
24. Yacon Syrup
This kind of syrup comes from the Yacon plant in South America. The syrup’s consistency is like that of molasses. So you’d have to make it thinner using hot water.
Furthermore, it is less sweet than table sugar. So, it is a great option for you to try if you don’t want to make your drink that sweet.
25. Agave Nectar
Unlike honey and molasses, agave syrup doesn’t have a thick consistency. This means that it will mix well with cold coffee without your making it thinner.
26-31. Other Syrups
There are, of course, many other syrups that you can try. If any of them are too thick to mix with your cold brew, just mix them with warm water. Here are some of the syrups that can work well:
26. Maple syrup
27. Simple syrup made with sugar and water
28. Vanilla syrup
29. Chocolate syrup
30. Date syrup
32. Caramel syrup
36. Hazelnut syrup
Not So Sweet Sweeteners
Then there are sweeteners that are not quite as sweet as the ones above.
38. Vanilla Beans
You can grind these and add them to your coffee grounds. You can then use this mixture to brew your coffee with.
The vanilla beans will add some sweetness to your coffee in addition to the wonderful vanilla flavor.
I fell in love with adding extracts or even essence to my cold brew. They are not very sweet, but they give your drink a sweeter edge, which I love.
Here are some flavors that you can try:
39. Vanilla extract or essence
40. Caramel essence
41. Coconut extract or essence
With spices, I recommend that you add them to the water with your grounds when you brew your cold brew.
42. Cinnamon stick
Cardamom is a common ingredient in Thai iced coffee and it is definitely worth the shot to try it in your cold brew.
Making Cold Brew Sweet
There are many easy ways in which you can make your cold brew as sweet as you like. Most of these options you will be able to get at your grocery store and others, like the honey syrup, you would have to make yourself.
Either way, you now have no excuse to discover your new favorite days of sweetening homemade cold brew. And if you are uncertain about how to make great cold brew, here is my favorite cold brew coffee
recipe for you to try.
My Favorite Cold Brew Recipe
I love making cold brew coffee in my French press. I believe it is a great way to make cold brew because you don’t need any fancy equipment for it.
Read more on how to make cold brew with a French press.