Recipes from a Former Barista

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My mama and I used to own a few coffee shops. Most, were drive through espresso stands. There are so many must-learn tricks of the trade that when you leave that field, you naturally take them along with you. The other day, I came across one of our laminated drink recipe cheat sheets. This was one of the cards we kept behind the counter for our baristas to use when they couldn’t remember a recipe. I realized, I’m sorta privy to these recipes and many other coffee drinkers, are not.

It didn’t seem fair.

So, I’m going to share. Don’t fret, it isn’t like a magician giving away magic secrets. These drinks are each commonly know by someone, someplace. The special thing about this list is the recipes are all together! So without further ado….


First, you need flavored syrup. Some, you can make yourself. Recipes are all over Pinterest and internet search engines in general. I buy my syrups at Cash & Carry. Cash & Carry is a grocery store that specializes in selling to restaurants. It has many items in case lots (Check out their other areas while you’re there! It’s awesome!). My  favorite syrups vary, but Monin (emphasis on the “nin”) is usually made with natural flavors, giving it the advantage of most realistic taste. It also makes it more expensive! One other down-side, is it doesn’t have as many flavors (It does have unusual flavors though. One favorite is “Lavender”. It’s super yummy in lemonade!) Torani is ok for the most part. I find a lot of their flavors are too sweet. Sometimes, you can just adjust the amount. Often though, that removes some of the flavor you are wanting. I’d say the best all-around winner would be Davinci. Their flavors are pretty true-to-taste, and the price is good. A lot of shops in our area use Davinci. It is what we used the most of in our own shops. One more choice, as far as Cash & Carry is concerned, is Ambien. Ambien is Cash & Carry’s store generic brand. It is very similar to Davinci, and priced lower. It doesn’t have as many flavors, but it’s good.

Coffee Goat
Did you know an Ethiopian goat herder discovered coffee? He noticed how crazy his goats would act after they had eaten coffee beans!

Secondly, if you have a way to make espresso shots and froth milk, that is awesome… you’re on your way! If not, let me assure you there several ways to come up with semi-pro drinks at home without spending a fortune. You can buy a frother at IKEA for like 5 bucks. It’s battery operated and works ok, once you get the knack of it. There are other, fancier ways to froth the milk, but they are mostly all very expensive. For me, I sometimes use a Moka pot for the shots, heat my milk and froth it with the IKEA frother.  Often times though, and this may sound scary to you purists… I use instant (egads!!!) espresso (Starbucks Brand) and add it to my frothed milk, which in my case, is half & half because this girl likes a breve! It seems so crazy to me too. I promise though, it’s a must try! Starbucks brand espresso is more expensive but, 1) It’s the only instant espresso available at our little town’s only grocer, and 2) It really is close to the real thing, and 3) It costs much less than going to a drive through!

THE LINGO (in layman’s terms)~

  • Espresso ~ Notice there is no “x”. Expresso is a car (You’re welcome). Espresso is simply a shot of pressed espresso roasted coffee that has crèma on the top. Crèma looks like cream, but it is just an effect on the coffee from the high pressure an espresso machine creates
  • Cappuccino ~ Shot of espresso with milk froth. If you have strictly froth, it is “dry“. When a bit of milk is added, the cappuccino is “wet
  • Americano ~ Hot water mixed with a shot  of espresso
  • Double, Triple, Quad ~ Extra shots in numerical order
  • Latte ~ Espresso and steamed milk
  • Breve ~ Steamed half and half with a shot of espresso added (my personal favorite)
  • Mocha ~ Latte made with chocolate milk (For this, I often add powdered hot chocolate to my latte)
  • White Mocha ~ Latte with white chocolate added (Ghirardelli powder is hands-down, the best!)
  • Café Aulait (pronounced Oh Lay) ~ Coffee with an added shot of espresso

Now that you have your latte (or mocha, or ???) figured out, let me help you decide which drink to make….


  • Apple Pie ~ 3/4 Apple 1/4 Spice Blend
  • Butter Brittle Caramello ~ 1/2 Hazelnut, 1/2 Butterscotch, and real caramel sauce and stir
  • Candy Cane ~ 1/2 Vanilla, 1/2 Peppermint
  • Caramello ~ 1/2 Toasted Marshmallow 1/2 Caramel
  • Caramel Macchiato ~ Vanilla Latte with Real Caramel
  • Coconut Cream Pie ~ 1/2 coconut, 1/4 Vanilla, 1/4 Caramel, topped with whipped cream
  • Frangelica ~ 1/2 Hazelnut, 1/2 Irish Cream
  • S’more’s ~ 1/2 Toasted Marshmallow, 1/2 Swiss Chocolate
  • Snickerdoodle ~ 1/2 Vanilla, 1/4 Hazelnut, 1/4 Caramel, sprinkle with real cinnamon
  • Toffee Cream Latte ~ 1/2 Toasted Marshmallow, 1/2 English Toffee
  • Twix ~ 2/3 Swiss Chocolate, 1/3 Caramel


  • Almond Joy ~ 1/2 Coconut, 1/2 Almond
  • Almond Roca ~ 1/2 English Toffee, 1/2 Almond
  • Belgium Waffle ~ Hazelnut with a splash of Strawberry
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie ~ 1/2 Peanut Butter 1/2 Dark Chocolate
  • Elvis Presley ~ 1/2 Peanut Butter, 1/2 Banana
  • German Chocolate ~ 1/2 Coconut, 1/4 Macadamia Nut, 1/4 Hazelnut
  • Grasshopper ~ 2/3 Peppermint, 1/3 Crème de Menthe
  • Heath ~ English Toffee
  • Mexican Mocha ~ 1/4 Vanilla, 3/4 Red Hot Cinnamon, top with whipped cream and a dash of real cinnamon
  • Milky Way ~ Caramel
  • Mounds ~ Coconut
  • Rocky Road ~ 2/3 Toasted Marshmallow, 1/3 Almond
  • Snickers ~ 1/2 Caramel, 1/2 Peanut Butter
  • Turtle ~ 1/2 Caramel, 1/2 Butter Pecan


  • Blues Brothers ~ Blueberry
  • Gingersnap ~ Spice Blend with a dash of real cinnamon


  • Copper Camel ~ Latte or Mocha with 1/2 Butterscotch, 1/2 Irish Cream

I realize that in different shops, and especially in different parts of the country, these recipes may vary. That is one of the joys of experimenting with coffee flavors… you can make exactly what you want, the way you want it!!!

My morning cup of Joe on a plate my mama painted in 1970.
My morning cup of Joe on a plate my mama painted in 1970.

Do you have a favorite coffee recipe you’d like to share? I’d love to see your twist, or a different favorite of yours. Please feel free to share your own coffee recipes in the comment area below 🙂

Photo Credit. I found the cute, caffeine crazed goat picture at

Seems like a great article too!




3 thoughts on “Recipes from a Former Barista

    Heather said:
    April 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I miss your coffee shops!

      Dumpster Diving Darling responded:
      April 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Me too! I’m so blessed to be able to stay home with Mr. Awesome though : )

    Lynda said:
    April 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    m e m o r I e s I really enjoyed my time in the coffee shops

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