9 Cafe-Worthy Drinks To Make For Yourself At Home


Atiqah Mokhtar •  Apr 07, 2020

[Updated 18 May 2021]

Given the recent event of a third lockdown in Malaysia, we're sure that many will be missing their cafe-hopping adventure for coffees, lattes and cappuccinos. Well, guess what? You can actually whip up drinks that are completely cafe-worthy in your own home too! Even if you aren't in a lockdown and are choosing to stay home over the weekend, this list of easy drinks is just as handy. Check it out and treat yourself to a cafe experience as you stay in ?

1. Hot Chocolate

Starting off our list is a crowd favourite - hot chocolate. Good for kids as well as adults, this comforting drink will be a cosy way to end the night or to enjoy during a rainy afternoon. And it doesn't even require many ingredients! All you need is milk and some form of chocolate - cocoa powder and/or a dark or semisweet chocolate bar are the usual ways chocolate gets incorporated into the milk. To make the hot chocolate, you need to heat the milk in a pan or small pot over the stove until hot (not boiling, just until it bubbles around the edges). Then you can add your cocoa powder or bar of chocolate (make sure it's chopped up into small pieces!) and whisk until everything is combined into a smooth chocolatey drink. Other ingredients are bonuses - you can add in things like vanilla extract or sweeteners like sugar, honey or maple syrup if you want to sweeten it, and once you pour it into your cup you can top it with whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder or cinnamon, or marshmallows.

If you only have cocoa powder on-hand and need your hot chocolate fix right way, check out this recipe from Epicurious. For those than only have a chocolate bar, check out this recipe by Fifteen Spatulas (it produces a thicker, creamier hot chocolate!). If you have both, try out Bon Appetite's recipe that uses both the powder and chocolate.

#HHWT Tip: If a recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, it usually means chocolate with about 60% cocoa content! But you can always play around with whatever chocolate you have, and adjust the sweetness to your liking. Also, for an extra special topping, use proper whipped cream instead of the kind you get from a spray can! Get heavy or double cream (sold in the refrigerated dairy section of your supermarket), whisk up a small amount by hand until it thickens, then dollop that on-top of your hot chocolate. Sprinkle over extra chocolate shards or dust with cocoa powder, and now your drink looks 5 times prettier!

2. Masala Chai

Looking to spice up your cup of tea (literally)? Well, it's time to dig around your spice cupboard and pull out the spices to make a bolstering cup of masala chai! While chai tea latte is usually what's listed on the menu at cafes or your favourite coffee shop, the drink has its roots in masala chai which is served on the streets in India (fun fact: 'chai' means tea in Hindi, Urdu, and several other languages), so technically saying 'chai tea' means 'tea tea'! ?).

Masala chai is usually made with black tea, some milk, and a combination of whole spices and aromatics such as cardamom, star anise, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. For an authentic experience, lightly crush your spices before placing it with your tea (loose-leaf tea is encouraged, but in a pinch use a couple of tea bags) and water in a pot and bringing it to a boil, letting it simmer for a while. Add your milk and sweetener of choice, bring to a simmer once more, then take it off the heat and pour into a glass through a strainer. Then savour your chai! Check out written recipes like this one from Feasting From Home or this one from Minimalist Baker which has step-by-step instructions and measurements if you prefer following a more detailed recipe.

#HHWT Tip: Instead of adding milk to the pot while making your tea,  make frothed hot milk on the side (use a frother or try out one of these methods). Pour your strained tea mix into your glass, then pour your milk and froth over it to get a chai latte!

3. Dalgona coffee

It feels like half the world has gone mad for Dalgona coffee, which has taken the Internet by storm. If you're a coffee-drinker who hasn't yet tried making the drink for yourself, maybe it's time you should! The appeal of Dalgona coffee is probably the simplicity of its ingredients - you just need a 1:1:1 ratio of instant coffee, sugar and hot water. Mix this up in a bowl until it becomes a frothy caramel-coloured cream - it's totally doable by hand, but far easier if you have a hand mixer or one of those small battery-operated hand-held milk frothers. Once you have your foam ready, pour yourself a glass of milk (either hot or cold), and top it with the coffee cream. Then mix it in and enjoy!

#HHWT Tip: It may be easy to get carried away with the amount of cream you whip up, but we recommend sticking to a smaller amount (e.g. 1 -2 tsp each of coffee, sugar and water) that's more in line with regular serving sizes!

Since the drink has become famous, a lot of variations have emerged, including Milo, matcha, mocha and more! Check out this compilation made by Jaya One that shows the various different flavours. To note, while some of the variations just require a one-to-one substitution for the instant coffee (e.g. for the Milo, just substitute the instant coffee for Milo powder), other flavours may require additional ingredients to help achieve the frothy creamy texture - the matcha one requires egg whites as an additional ingredient. If you're using egg whites, be sure to use eggs you trust are free from bacteria or pasteurised eggs.

4. Korean banana milk (plus other fruit flavours!)

If you've been to Korea, you've probably tried (and loved) banana milk, the yummy prepackaged drink that you can find at convenience stores or supermarkets. But did you know you can just as easily make it at home? It'll be healthier too, made with fresher ingredients and no added flavour enhancers, plus you can adjust the sugar to your desired level of sweetness. All you need is a banana or two, some milk, a bit of vanilla extract, and a sweetener of your choice (sugar works, or maple syrup would be nice too!).

For an easy method, just dump everything into your blender and whizz it all up - that's the method favoured by My Korean Kitchen which has a short and sweet recipe for banana milk. If you don't have a blender, just do it by hand, as shown by this video by Korean YouTuber Hanse.  Take the extra time to chop up a bit more banana to add in your milk, which will provide some added texture!

And you don't have to limit it to bananas - Korean milk comes in many other fruit flavours, like strawberry and melon! For these fruits, it's best to make a puree made of chopped pieces of the fruit along with some sugar which is cooked briefly over the stove. Once cooled, you can combine it with milk and add more fresh fruit to complement the drink. Hanse has demonstrations for making both strawberry and melon milk too, though a quick search online will produce more recipe versions.

P.S. Looking for healthy foods to help boost you immunity system? Check this out!

5. Oreo milkshake

Milkshakes are a once-in-while treat, and if you're indulging in this creamy concoction, you might as well make it delicious! And what better way to take your milkshake up a notch by making it a cookies and cream one? ?All you need is a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream, a bit of milk (enough to get to the consistency that you want) and a handful of Oreo cookies. Throw it all in a blender, blend it up, and pour it into your glass. Garnish with whipped cream if desired and an extra Oreo (or sprinkle a crushed up cookie over the cream), and enjoy!

6. Caramel macchiato or caramel coffee

Jazz up your regular cup of coffee with caramel! Whether you're you can make espresso at home (via a machine such as a Nespresso or Dolce Gusto) or brew up a cup of black coffee, make it extra special with homemade caramel sauce. You can find readymade caramel sauce in supermarkets nowadays, but it's easy to make your own! All you need is butter, brown sugar, and milk or cream, cooked over the stovetop (you can refer to this recipe from AllRecipes or this recipe from Fifteen Spatulas). Once you make a batch of caramel sauce, you can use it to make caramel coffee and have extra on-hand to drizzle over desserts or over ice cream!

If you have espresso, spoon a tablespoon of the caramel sauce in your cup, followed by adding your freshly-brewed espresso. Froth your milk separately, then pour it over the espresso and top with milk foam. Use a spoon to drizzle over more caramel sauce over the top. And voila!

If you don't have an espresso machine, brew up a cup of black coffee. Warm up some milk in a pot over the stove, adding in some of the caramel sauce and whisking to incorporate. Once the milk reaches a simmer, pour the warm milk and caramel in your coffee. Top with whipped cream if desired, and drizzle more caramel sauce on top.

P.S. Want to make some homemade bread to enjoy alongside your beverage? Check out these easy bread recipes that don't even require a bread maker!

7. Fruit ades

This is another drink that's making its rounds in the Korean cafe scene, and it makes perfect sense to recreate at home, as it's such as refreshing one! It's a drink made with a fresh fruit puree or compote, and topped with soda water and served ice-cold. You can use fruits like orange, watermelon, strawberries or even passionfruit. Check out recipes like this one for strawberry ade, or this one for watermelon ade. Garnish with fresh fruit, lemon slices or mint to make it even prettier.

8. Cubed iced coffee

Take your iced coffee up a notch by opting for coffee ice cubes! You'll often find this type of deconstructed lattes in fancy cafes, but you can totally do it at home. Make some black coffee (if you prefer your coffee sweeter add sugar and mix in) and wait for it to cool. Pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. When you're ready for your home cafe moment, pop out the frozen cubes of coffee and put it in a glass. Pour over cold milk, and as the coffee cubes melt, you'll have your iced-coffee drink! The best thing about this is that your coffee won't get diluted as it usually would with regular ice cubes.

9. Matcha green tea latte

Matcha lovers, this one's for you. All you need are three ingredients to make a delicious glass of matcha green tea latte at home: Almond milk (or milk of your choice), matcha powder (you can easily get this online or at your nearest supermarket) and some ice.

P.S. Not in the mood to make it yourself? Get your fix from Niko Neko Matcha and see what our Tribes member, Rebecca, review on the place

And there you have it! 9 easy yet completely cafe-worthy drinks that you can recreate at home. Treat yourself to some of these delicious drinks and make your next morning coffee or teatime at home extra special!