Mochas are fairly easy to mix up at home if you happen to have some chocolate or cocoa powder lying around that can be stirred into hot coffee. Drinks that are vanilla-based, although so popular at coffee shops, tend to be a little bit more elusive to the at-home barista – especially if you don’t want to buy the bottled stuff.
This vanilla simple syrup is easy to make and far better than anything out of a bottle. It is two parts sugar to one part water, with a real vanilla bean used to infuse the flavor. You can scale it up to make a huge batch, bottle it yourself and keep it in the fridge for flavoring your own lattes and coffees – not to mention lemonade, iced tea or anything else you might like to sweeten – any time. Using a real vanilla bean, as opposed to vanilla extract, really gives the syrup a great flavor. It may not look that impressive on its own, but it both smells and tastes delicious.
Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Slice vanilla bean lengthwise and drop it into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring once the mixture comes to a simmer, until all sugar has been dissolved. Remove from heat and scrape vanilla seeds out of the vanilla bean and into the syrup. Cool completely, then store in the refrigerator to use as needed.