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October 22, 2015

Not Just Regular Old Joe

After hitting snooze an appropriate amount of times each morning, the first thing I do is stumble to the kitchen to perform my coffee routine, which at this point is flawless and could be done in the dark. I reach for the milk from the fridge, open the cabinet and pull out a mug and sugar container. My left hand opens the drawer to grab a spoon for stirring. Into the cup goes two spoons of sugar, then the hot coffee to melt it, with a half an inch of room left for milk. The milk goes in, just to slightly under the rim.

But fifteen years of the same old can become boring, which is why I’ve been getting into flavored coffee syrups lately. But the Torani syrups that are standard in most coffee shops are laden with sugar and weird chemicals to simulate flavors, which I am not a huge fan of. Luckily, making syrups is an easy task.

The hard part to me was finding a vessel from which to pour them without dripping sugary liquid all over the counter or having it harden into a crust along the rim of a glass jar. When I visited my favorite Goodwill, I saw these awesome little syrup jars with rubber cork lids and figured they were exactly what I was looking for with their little spouts and diminutive stature, perfect for a week’s worth of deliciously flavored coffee syrup.


Even if you don’t find matching containers for your syrup, anything that helps the coffee get flowing is a worthy vessel! Or for that matter, things that may once have been destined for the recycling bin could just as easily be repurposed into coffee syrup containers, because once you start with these you won’t want to go back to plain old coffee again.

Vanilla Brown Sugar syrup

1 vanilla bean, split open and scraped

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Berry of Choice syrup

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup white sugar

2 cups berries, frozen or fresh (black, blue or rasp)



  1. Bring the sugar and water to a low rolling boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat once sugar has dissolved.
  2. For vanilla brown sugar syrup: Add the vanilla extract, and the vanilla bean, using a knife or spoon to scrape out the vanilla beans. Remove vanilla bean once the syrup has cooled. For the berry syrup: Add berries and use a spoon to mash. Once the syrup has cooled, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the berry solids.
  3. Place in a container with a tight seal and refrigerate for up to seven days. Add to coffee a teaspoonful at a time to taste!








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