Iced Lattes for Under $1 (No espresso machine required)

A picture is worth a thousand words (and, in this case, about $5).

Double Tall Iced Vanilla Almond Milk Latte

I’ve been “in development” with this project for awhile now. I wanted to come up with a healthy and good tasting iced latte that wasn’t difficult to make, didn’t require any new contraptions, and was really affordable. (Go big or go home, am I right?) First, I tried Trader Joe’s instant coffee. It. Was. Terrible. I’m not sure what I was expecting it to taste like, but it basically tasted like instant coffee. Don’t do it. Then I made my own cold-brew coffee, thinking that it would be as strong and wonderful as everybody says it is. It was not. It tasted good–smooth, mellow, like it’s supposed to–but it was only good on its own. Adding ice and non-dairy milk watered it down too much. Then I remembered about instant espresso, so I gave it a try. Here’s what it looks like at the store (look by the Folgers):

The tiny bottle (only 2 oz.) will be dwarfed by the giant plastic tubs of nastiness surrounding it. Don’t give up, nor be you deterred by the price tag (almost $6). It will give you many, many cups of coffee and pay for itself after about 3.

One teaspoon + 3 oz. hot water = one shot of espresso, the bottle says. However, I used 2 teaspoons and 4 oz of water and, with the ice and almond milk, it was just fine. Tasted like a strong double tall. If you like your espresso drinks weaker, I’d suggest first trying 1 t. espresso/2 oz water, seeing how you like it, then adding more if you want. Coffee is totally about your personal taste and one of the other beauties of making it at home (besides spending only pennies a day, not having to get dressed, and not having to get dressed) is that you’re totally in control of how it tastes. And, if you hate it, you don’t have to be racked with guilt because you’re throwing out a drink that just cost you $5. Ouch.

If you want non-instant espresso, and I really don’t blame you one bit, but you don’t want to invest in a large and costly espresso machine, you could try a stove-top espresso maker:

or, an AeroPress espresso maker:

I have not had very good luck with the stove-top espresso makers, but I’m dying to try the AeroPress. They’re each about $25, and available on Amazon and at Sur la Table. Obviously they would take slightly more effort than instant espresso powder, but both claim to deliver high quality espresso in under 5 minutes. Give it a try and let me know what you think. (If you have a real espresso maker, use that. Duh.)

Also, about milks and flavorings. I use Trader Joe’s Almond Smooth in Vanilla. My stomach just doesn’t do so awesome with soy, especially first thing in the morning, and I’m not into a ton of sugar or flavor. You might find that almond milk is a little thin, or that you need to bump up the sweetness and flavor. Soy milk is definitely creamier, especially if you buy the full-fat kind, and I’ve heard great things about coconut milk, too. All are available very affordably at Trader Joe’s (or really anywhere these days). You can also grab a bottle of vanilla (or whatever other flavor) syrup if you want; it’s in the coffee aisle. But try not to since that much sugar is… not so great. Maybe try agave instead.

Another thing I was wondering about was caffeine content. Rest (or don’t rest, as it were) assured that there is plenty of caffeine. I’m not even halfway done with mine and I’ve written this whole blog post!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Ok sorry about that.)

Here’s the recipe! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know how you take your morning coffee. I’m dying to know.

xo, Sara

Iced Latte

Time commitment: 2-3 minutes
Makes: one latte, size depending on how big of a glass you’re using


  • 1/2 c. (4 oz.) filtered water
  • 2 t. instant ESPRESSO powder
  • chilled non-dairy milk, flavored, sweetened, or not
  • ice


  1. Bring water to a boil. Measure espresso into a small cup (measuring cup, teacup, etc.). Add boiling water and stir. Set aside.
  2. Add ice to a glass. Pour in non-dairy milk, leaving a couple of inches of room at the top. Pour over espresso. Add more milk if you want or have room. Stir. Enjoy.
This entry was posted in beverages, breakfast, gluten-free and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Iced Lattes for Under $1 (No espresso machine required)

  1. Holly says:

    We have a stovetop Moka and it took a little bit of practice, but now we are OBSESSED. I am also obsessed with this blog. Go Sara!!!

  2. Thank you SO MUCH Holly!!! 🙂 xo

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