This easy lavender iced coffee recipe is perfect for summer! Made with a homemade lavender vanilla bean syrup for a sweet, subtly floral flavor, plus whole milk and cream to round it out.
I used to live in Oakland just down the street from a little coffee shop that I LOVED. It was cozy and colorful and felt like a second home to me, and they served lavender iced lattes that I was 100% obsessed with. I've never been a floral-flavors -in-food kinda gal, but somehow those lattes converted me. It's been a few years now and I don't live down the street anymore, but this DIY lavender iced coffee kind of lets me feel like I still do. It's cold, creamy, and perfectly sweet, with a lavender flavor that's definitely noticeable but not overpowering. And like most iced coffee recipes this is truly SO simple to make! Let's get into it.
Making lavender vanilla bean simple syrup
Simple syrup is literally the easiest thing you can possibly make, which is why it blows my mind that it's packaged and sold for anywhere from $5-$10 dollars a bottle. The basic formula is 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 cup water.
Combine the two ingredients in a saucepan set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar has fully dissolved into the water. To flavor this syrup, you'll add 1 tablespoon of lavender buds and 1 vanilla bean to the mixture. Let those cook into your syrup as you heat it, and then cover the pot and steep for an hour off the heat before straining.
Making iced coffee
When it comes to making (or sourcing) iced coffee, your options really depend on how much time you have, how much money you want to spend, and how particular your taste buds are.
Best case scenario: Make (or buy) cold brew. There are lots of opinions out there on the ideal way to brew iced coffee, but I'd say this is the general consensus, and typically a safe bet.
Realistic scenario: Make coffee however you normally do, and then chill it in the refrigerator until it's cold. I'm pleasantly surprised to find that even the experts seem to agree: it's not the fanciest method, but combined with milk and cream, it works.
Whichever method you choose, I've found it's best to use a smooth, medium-to-dark roast with low acidity.
Ingredients and substitutions
I do not recommend using anything other than granulated (cane) sugar for the simple syrup; other options will have a slightly different flavor or may not dissolve as well in water. The vanilla bean in the simple syrup is optional, but compliments the lavender nicely.
Once you have your coffee and simple syrup made, the only other ingredients you'll need for this lavender iced coffee recipe are milk and cream. I've said it before and I'll say it again: whole milk and heavy cream make the best coffee drinks.
If you absolutely must substitute: Use light cream or half-n-half in place of heavy cream. Use any kind of cow's milk, or the most neutral-tasting equivalent you can find, in place of the whole milk. I personally would steer away from almond milk as I've found it ruins any coffee drink it comes in contact with, but to each their own!
What type of lavender to use
There are many different varieties of lavender, but typically English lavender is considered the best for culinary purposes. You can purchase it online or harvest your own. Either way, you only need a small amount for this recipe!
What type of vanilla bean to use
The three most common types of vanilla bean used for baking or cooking are Madagascar, Mexican, and Tahitian. I prefer Madagascar vanilla beans as I find them to have the most classic, well-rounded flavor, but Tahitian vanilla beans lean more floral and might do well here too.
Shelf life of simple syrup
This recipe makes enough simple syrup for multiple drinks. It can be stored in a jar or other airtight container and refrigerated; it should keep well for at least a month.
More iced coffee recipes
If you don't have lavender on hand, here are a few other easy variations you can try!
Mint Mojito Iced Coffee - Another obsession from my Oakland days. Fresh spearmint makes this one perfect for summer!
New Orleans Cold Brew Coffee - You can make this with cold brew or the cheater method I discussed earlier in this post. Either way, chicory simple syrup adds an iconic flavor to this drink.Print
Lavender-Vanilla Iced Coffee
This easy iced coffee recipe is perfect for summer! Made with a homemade lavender vanilla bean syrup for a sweet, subtly floral flavor, plus whole milk and cream to round it out.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 iced coffee 1x
- Category: beverages
- Cuisine: American
Lavender Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup (8 ounces) water
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lavender buds
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Iced Coffee (makes one):
- ½ cup (4 ounces) chilled coffee or cold brew
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) whole milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons lavender vanilla simple syrup, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Lavender Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:
- Make the simple syrup: Combine water, sugar, lavender buds, and the seeds and pod of the vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Whisk together to combine. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Chill and store: Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for about an hour. Strain into a jar or other airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make Iced Coffee for one:
- Combine all ingredients: Add ice to a glass. Pour in coffee, milk, simple syrup, and cream, and stir until smooth. Serve immediately.
Recipe times do not include time required to steep and cool simple syrup.
This recipe makes enough simple syrup for multiple drinks.
Keywords: iced coffee, cold brew, lavender simple syrup, iced latte, summer drinks