How To Make Vanilla Cold Foam At Home Like A Pro

How To Make Vanilla Cold Foam At Home Like A Pro

Last updated on October 26th, 2023 at 19:46

What Is Vanilla Cold Foam?

Vanilla cold foam is a flavored topping that sits on top of your coffee drink providing a nice tasting, dual layer and texture to your coffee as you sip away. It is made with 2% fat milk, vanilla syrup and heavy cream at Starbucks.

Other coffee chains use 2% milk and heavy cream for a better quality foam.

The best way of making vanilla cold foam is to use 2% milk, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk in equal amounts and use a vanilla pod or a French vanilla pod for a more natural flavor.

Vanilla cold foam is not simply aerated cold milk; it is noticeably different. The milk, be it non-fat milk or 2% milk, is whipped at a high speed using a bladeless blender. The result  of this high speed blending is a vanilla-flavored foam that looks like melted ice cream.

Once your vanilla cold foam is ready, it is poured on to your coffee in a way in which it sits beautifully on top of your drink.

You can put your vanilla cold foam on any coffee drink that you wish, the intention is that it is used with cold brew coffee, iced coffee drinks and nitro cold brew. It is known for its creamy texture and vanilla flavor.

Note: Vanilla cold foam and vanilla sweet cream are two very different toppings. The vanilla sweet cream is not blended into a foam.

You can think of vanilla sweet cream as a thinner vanilla flavored whipped cream that has not been blended; it is thinner and cascades down and into your coffee and has no pillow-like layer on top.

And that brings us to vanilla sweet cream cold foam, which is the end product of blending vanilla sweet cream using a special cold-foam blender like the Starbucks Verismo, a regular immersion blender or electric milk frother.

You can also use a French press to make a rich, fluffy cream with a velvety texture.

Now you know about vanilla cold foam, vanilla sweet cream and vanilla sweet cream cold foam and the differences between them, we can get on with making vanilla cold foam.

What Is Vanilla Cold Foam, A Man Serving Cold Foam
Vanilla Cold Foam

Read: How to make the cold foam from Starbucks

How To Make Vanilla Cold Foam At Home

The ingredients that you need to make vanilla cold foam are:

  • Heavy cream.
  • 2% milk.
  • Vanilla syrup.

Optional, and for better quality, you can use sweetened condensed milk and use a French vanilla pod to produce the vanilla flavor instead of using vanilla syrup or a vanilla essence or vanilla creamer.

Vanilla Coffee Syrup

You have many options for which vanilla syrup to use. The top brands in terms of quality and flavor are:

  • Davinci Gourmet Classic Madagascar Single Origin Vanilla Syrup.
  • Starbucks Naturally Flavored Vanilla Syrup.
  • Torani Vanilla Syrup (Sugar-free option available).
  • Jordans Skinny Syrups Keto Vanilla Bean.

Alternatively you can make your own vanilla coffee syrup. Homemade vanilla syrup is very easy to make with the bonus of you having full control over the ingredients and the ability to make it an all natural product to use in your coffee.

To make vanilla cold foam, all that is needed for you to do is add the vanilla syrup, heavy cream and milk together and mix well, and then use your milk frother, blender, cold foam blender or French press to aerate your milk.

Use 60 ml (2 fluid ounces) of 2% milk, 2 fluid ounces (60 ml) of heavy cream and 60 ml (2 fl oz) of sweetened condensed milk and 1 (30 ml) fluid ounce of vanilla syrup.

Vanilla Coffee Syrup
Torani Vanilla Coffee Syrup

Read: How to make cold foam in blender

How To Make The Fluffy Foam

This is the easiest part of this recipe. Stick to the golden rule of only blending as much as you need for a single cup of coffee.

Your goal and prime objective is to create a creamy texture that has a nice thick consistency. The thicker your vanilla cold foam is, the more aerated it will be and the more it will float and stick to the top of your coffee drink.

If you create a consistency that is similar to that of melted ice cream, you will have a cold foam that floats and cascades down and into your coffee.

Frothing Equipment Needed

There are a number of different blenders and equipment that you can use to aerate your milk. You can use a regular blender, an immersion blender, an electric milk frother, a Starbucks Verismo cold foam blender or your French press.

You can even use a cocktail shaker, which produces great results when it is freezing cold. Shake vigorously.

For some reason when your cocktail shaker and ingredients are cold, you get better results.

Using a hand blender, blend until you get a great level of thickness and move your blender up and down through and around your milk.

With regular high speed blenders blend for 25 to 35 seconds. The specialist Starbucks Verismo blender, simply add your milk and press the button and wait until it is finished.

A French press, one of my preferred methods, simply because it is fun!

Simply fill your French press to no more than 1/3 full, close the lid and pump strongly and continuously until the milk foams up to more than twice its original volume.

Starbucks Verismo blender
Starbucks Verismo Blender

Read: How to make sweet cream cold foam

How To Make Vanilla Cold Foam With A French Vanilla Pod

The ingredients required for this healthier and more natural way of making vanilla cold foam is the same as above with the only difference being that instead of using a flavored syrup we will chop and use French vanilla pod.

The method of preparation is different, due to which it is best that you make a greater quantity.

Prepare your milk solution by adding to a saucepan 120 ml (4 Fl oz) of 2% milk. Add your sliced and chopped French vanilla to your milk and let it simmer at a low heat until your milk takes on the flavor of the French vanilla.

Do not let your milk boil as this will destroy the milk protein and fats which we need to create the fluffy foam.

Once your milk is ready, filter out the vanilla pods and let your milk cool down in your fridge.

The next step is to proceed and add 120 ml of whipping cream and 120 ml of sweetened condensed milk. Mix them well and then foam with a handheld frother, your blender or French press or whatever method you desire to create the dense fluffy cloud-like foam.

Vanilla cold foam has only 100 calories and 12 grams of sugar for a tall drink, which is very reasonable.

What Are The Origins Of Cold Foam?

There is no specific or concrete timeline regarding the evolution of cold foam and coffee. For several years Japanese cold drinks companies have been trending towards making and serving over the top foam beverages.

In 2011, Kirin, a beer company, invented a machine to pour frozen beer foam onto their drinks. Other companies from the land of the rising sun developed equipment to make the frothy toppings similar to Guinness.

Vietnam and their famous Ca Phe Trung (egg coffee) with its fluffy custard-like topping plays its role, as does the Taiwanese cheese tea. The thick, floating tasty topping perhaps inspired someone at Starbucks.

Looking to Europe and Greece, the foamy iced coffee of a frappé and cappuccino freddos were perhaps influential as they look almost identical to Starbucks cold foam drinks. The most similar of all, in many ways including texture, is the Viennese cappuccino, originating in the Austrian capital city and made with heavy cream.

There is no one single unique reason or influencing factor. I believe it to be a combination of them and natural evolution.

Iced Cappuccino Cold Foam
Iced Cappuccino Cold Foam

What Is With The Lid?

Iced drinks are usually drunk with a straw or are sipped from the side of the cup. Unfortunately neither a straw nor sipping from the side of the cup is ideal for a foamy cold drink.

Starbucks and their iced drinks, nitro coffee, cold brew and cold foam drinks have a special strawless lid that has a triangular thumb sized hole on the top which was maybe borrowed from or adapted from the lids for Taiwanese cheese tea lids.

The larger opening helps to prevent the milk mustache and allows both the coffee and cold foam to pass through in equal amounts with every sip.

The actual design is credited to Emily Alexander, who is an engineer for the global research and development team at Starbucks.

Starbucks Lid
Starbucks Lid

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Vanilla Cold Foam At Home

Vanilla cold foam is made with 2% fat milk at Starbucks and heavy cream with a vanilla syrup added to provide the vanilla flavor. 2% milk, which due to the fat content provides a high quality of bubbles. It is better than nonfat milk.

Personally, I like to use equal amounts of 2% milk, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk for a thicker, more consistent milk that has a better texture and overall better quality. I have a preference for using a French vanilla pod for flavoring as it is better and healthier than using a flavored syrup or vanilla extract.

Yes, and thankfully making cold foam and flavored cold foam is very easy, requires very few ingredients and a blender or handheld milk frother is not required. Of course, you can use them, but they are not necessary. You can make great quality foam with your French press.

 Starbucks has cold foam in a few flavors which are:

  • Salted Caramel Cold Foam.
  • Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam
  • Chocolate Cream Cold Foam
  • Regular Cold Foam

Due to the flavored syrups available at Starbucks, you may be able to make a special request for Irish cream cold foam, pumpkin spice cold foam, and Eggnog cold foam. This of course will depend on the season and what flavors your local outlet has. It pays to know your local outlet, and what flavored syrups they have.

No, cold foam and whipped cream are very different. Whipped cream has a different texture and is overly fluffy when applied to coffee drinks. Cold foam is lighter, smoother and has a rich velvet-like texture. It sits on top of your coffee and can be enjoyed with every sip, with each sip being a mix of coffee and cold foam.

What Do You Need To Make Cold Foam?

The ingredients needed to make cold foam are nonfat milk or 2% milk and a flavored simple syrup like vanilla simple syrup for a greater depth of flavor.

To whip and froth it well you will need a high speed blender, a French press or an electric milk frother.

How Do They Make Cold Foam At Starbucks?

While it is said that Starbuck uses an immersion blender or a handheld frother, it is not true. They use a special custom-made high speed bladeless blender. The ingredients, the nonfat or 2% fat milk, are added to the special bladeless blender with a pump or two (or more depending on the drink size) of vanilla syrup and then frothed to mix them well together and create the cold foam.

What Is Cold Foam Cream Made Of?

Cold foam is made from frothed milk, usually nonfat or 2% milk. Alternative milk like almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk can be used to name a few.

Is Cold Foam Just Whipped Cream?

No, cold foam and whipped cream are different. Whipped cream has greater consistency and is made with heavy cream while cold foam is made with nonfat or low fat milk.

Final Thoughts – How To Make Vanilla Cold Foam At Home

Now that you know how to make vanilla cold foam at home, the only task you have right now is to seek out the ingredients and equipment that you need and start making a great tasting cold foam and adding it to your coffee drinks. 

Did you try the natural technique of using a French vanilla pod? Did you sweeten and thicken up your milk with condensed milk? 

Let us know how you found our recipe!

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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