Sunday, March 29, 2015

DIY Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee Mix!

OK, so I'll be the first to admit I'm a huge coffee fan.

And I'll also admit that I like Starbucks coffee - DON'T YOU JUDGE ME! However, I don't do foofy fluffy drinks with sparkles and whipped deliciousness piled on top - I only get their Iced Coffee (venti, please, cream and no sweetener) because it's really delicious and it's only $2.95. Plus every time I buy one I get another star on my rewards card, and after I rack up a dozen, I get a free drink which I usually use as a Pay It Backwards in the drive thru lane.

Anyway, Starbucks has their VIA Iced Coffee mixes available to purchase both in their shops and in grocery stores. It's basically a packet of powder that you add to a glass of cold water, mix it up, and it tastes very similar to their iced coffee that's brewed in the stores. A 6-packet box of VIA is a little pricy, at anywhere from $4.99 to $7.99 in the grocery store, depending on whether it's on sale or not. Cheaper than buying a $2.95 drink each day, but the fact is, I *love* my VIAs, and I go through those six packets in about two to three days, tops.

I thought, "Wouldn't be awesome if I could make something similar myself?"


And this really has nothing to do with gluten-free stuff at all, but this is so darn good, y'all. Technically, coffee is gluten free, so there's that.
Anyway, it's only three ingredients, and you may want to adjust the proportions depending on how sweet you like things, but play around with it and see what you can do. I'm posting this in parts, rather than specific amounts - that way, you can either make a small batch to play around with and adjust your flavors, or you can just go whole hog like I did, and make a big batch to sit in your pantry, greeting you every time you open the door.

Here's what you need: sugar, instant coffee granules, and powdered milk. That's it. Now, the really important part - you also need a coffee grinder. Why do you need this? Because you need to powder the instant coffee granules and the sugar before you mix them with the powdered milk – otherwise, your mix is not going to dissolve in water, which means you’ll get clumpy brown floaters on the top of your iced coffee. No one likes that. If you don't have a coffee grinder, throw it in your food processor or whatever, and then go buy a coffee grinder because they're great.

So these portions (and I used a half cup as a part, but use whatever you like) are based on the amounts AFTER the coffee granules and sugar have been pulverized in the coffee grinder. You’ll need:

1 part coffee granules
2 parts powdered milk
4 parts sugar

I know it sounds like a lot of sugar, but because instant coffee is very concentrated, and the flavor is strong, you’ll taste the coffee before you taste the sweetness of the sugar. If you like your iced coffee sweeter, use more parts of sugar, but try it this way first and see what you think.

Mix all your stuff up in a bowl, and then do a couple of taste tests to make sure your mixture is where you like it, flavorwise. I put 16 oz water in a glass, and added 3 Tbs of the above mixture, stirred it up, and got it exactly where I wanted it. Store your dry mix in a bag or mason jar.

A couple of notes on cost effectiveness: the above blend, using half-cup parts as measurement, cost me the following.

One half of a $5.99 jar of coffee granules
One $1.99 packet of powdered milk
2 Cups of sugar that I already had in the pantry

This gave me 3 ½ cups powdered instant coffee mix. I estimate that using my 3 Tbs measurement, that’s around eighteen cups of iced coffee, at around a third (or less) of the price of buying the mix in the store. Not bad, and I can always whip up another batch when I run out!