You Need More Brown Sugar For Your Spiced Latte Than You Think

As far as we know, Starbucks has never featured a "spiced brown sugar latte," but Mashed developer Susan Olayinka says that her creation of the same name is intended to be "very similar" to the chain's iced brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso. Well, except for the oat milk thing, of course, as she makes her drink with dairy instead. Also, Olayinka's spiced latte, which is custom-tailored to suit her own sweet tooth, has way more sugar than Starbucks' own brown sugar beverage.

Olayinka says of her drink, "You think it would taste really sweet, but it doesn't, as the cinnamon and coffee balance it out." Still, sweetness is in the mouth of the beholder (or be-taster), and Olayinka, after all, also came up with a copycat of McDonald's sweet tea that has more than double the sugar found in Mickey D's version. The fact is, her drink contains a full cup of sugar for 24 ounces of liquid. Starbucks' venti-sized iced brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso, which also comes in at 24 ounces, is made with six pumps of brown sugar syrup, which equates to about 1 ½ ounces or 3 tablespoons of syrup. As there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, this means that Olayinka's drink may be more than five times sweeter than the Starbucks menu item that inspired it.

Change the recipe to suit your preferences

Even Starbucks allows you to customize your drinks to your desired level of sweetness with fewer (or no) pumps of flavoring syrup. So, you may — of course — follow suit with this recipe. If your motto isn't "the more sugar, the merrier" and you're taken aback by the idea of a full ½ cup of sugar in each 12-ounce serving of this drink, feel free to dial way back on the amount. After all, while it's possible to sweeten up a drink once it's been made, the reverse does not hold. Once that sugar dissolves in the water, there's practically no getting it out again and very little you can do to counteract the effect if you find the flavor too cloying for your taste.

Adjusting the sugar content isn't the only tweak you can make to the drink without changing its character entirely. Olayinka makes hers with dairy milk but doesn't reveal whether it's whole, 2%, or skim, so the choice is yours. She also says that "any other milk would do," so you even have her permission to substitute oat milk, as per Starbucks, or go with almond or soy if either of those is your preferred dairy substitute. You also have leave to use ground cinnamon instead of a stick, brewed coffee in place of instant, and homemade whipped cream as a substitute for the kind that comes in an aerosol can.