Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (2024)

By Robin Gagnon | Updated on

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If you have never heard of Coffee Milk before, you have never lived in Rhode Island. It is simply coffee syrup mixed into milk, much like a chocolate milk... only cooler. Coffee milk is such an iconic beverage around here that we went ahead and made it the official state drink back in 1993. Today I have a homemade coffee syrup recipe to share with you, so your family can enjoy it as well.

This post brought to you by Folgers. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Mom Foodie.

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (1)

Rhode Island & Coffee Milk

Growing up, we had three types of milk to choose from at school; regular white, chocolate and coffee milk. It never occurred to me that children in most of the country didn't have that last option. We even had some fierce completion between favorite brands of coffee syrup back then. Like many other products, eventually the sugar used in the syrup was replaced with HFCS, so I started making it myself in small batches for use in our home.

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (2)

Homemade Coffee Syrup

Coffee syrup is a simple syrup of sugar and strong coffee. There are various ways it can be made, but my favorite (and the easiest) is to make it with a good qualityInstant Coffee, such as Folgers. It takes out the guessing if your coffee is strong enough. I've included my own easy recipe for the syrup below, as well as a pdf, so you can print simple labels for your bottles/jars.

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (3)

Other Uses for Coffee Syrup

Although coffee syrup is most commonly used to make simple coffee milk, blending in a little ice cream makes a nice Frappe (Milkshake to most of you). It can also be used as a topping for ice cream, added to grilling sauces for a bit of kick or even as a non-alcoholic stand-in for coffee liqueur in desserts and virgin drinks.

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (4)

Coffee Syrup Recipe: Visual Walkthrough

Here is a quick visual walk through of the process of making your own syrup for coffee milk. (Full recipe below)

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (5) Whisk the instant coffee into cold water.

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (6) Add the sugar and whisk well, then microwave on high for one minute. Stir and repeat in 20-30 second rounds until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. (likely between 2-2 ½ minutes).

Skim the top of the syrup with a spoon, cheesecloth or towel. Pour into your clean bottle/jar *If canned/bottled in a sterile manner, such as jam is made, the sealed container will have a long shelf life, otherwise I strongly suggest refrigerating. Here is a quick video of the process of making the syrup and preparing a glass of coffee milk.

Free Printable Labels

Here is the pdf file, so you can print labels if you would like. coffee milk syrup labels

... and of course the actual simple coffee syrup recipe.

DIY Coffee Lover's Gift Basket

Make your favorite coffee lover a gift basket with this homemade syrup, some of their favorite java and make an easy coffee melt and pour soap or coffee scrub. So much more interesting, than yet another mug.

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (8)

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk

This homemade coffee syrup recipe is easy to make and mighty delicious. Make your own coffee milk.

4.77 from 30 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Condiment, Drinks

Cuisine: American

Keyword: coffee milk, coffee syrup

Prep Time: 8 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes minutes

Servings: 8 makes approx. 1.5 cups of syrup

Calories: 103kcal

Author: Robin Gagnon


  • ¾ cup cold filtered water
  • 3 tbs Folgers Instant Coffee
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar




Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 66mg | Sugar: 25g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (9)

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Reader Interactions


  1. Barbara says

    Oh yum! Bookmarking it now!


  2. Brenda says

    I've never heard of coffee milk before, but it sounds really good. That's interesting that it's an option for kids at school too. Do they use decaf coffee syrup for them?


    • Robin Gagnon says

      I am guessing so. It always came in a carton already mixed. I'm not sure if it is available to elementary grades anymore.


  3. Jason Ellis says

    How would one make this without instant coffee? Thanks!


    • Robin Gagnon says

      Make a VERY VERY strong brew of coffee, and stir in sugar.


  4. Tigerleatoo says

    Do you know if this can be made with Splinda?


    • Robin Gagnon says

      I don't think it would reach a syrup consistency, but should still flavor milk well. No idea what the measure would be for that vs sugar. I guess you could taste until it seems right.


  5. Erika says

    This sounds and looks yummy... i'll make a batch for my kids today and im also considering to make it as a gift too. I just want to know what's the typical self life of this syrup if kept in room temp? What about when it is refrigerated?


    • Robin Gagnon says

      Honestly, I've used is sealed and out after a month or so, but I'm hesitant to "suggest" that.


  6. Chris St. James says

    Would you have a more powerful strength recommendation for using the Coffee Syrup to make Ice Cream? Or is there a different method for this? I really liked the Microwave heating option.
    Thank you.


    • Robin Gagnon says

      I would just add less water and skip the sugar, since you will be adding sweetener when making the ice cream. All you really need to do is dissolve the instant coffee.


  7. LeCase COFFEE says

    This is an absolutely nice ideas for a coffee lover. Thank you for this.


  8. Shadi says

    Love this idea!


  9. Renee Goerger says

    I used to always drink my coffee black but now I tend to like it lighter, and sweeter. This coffee milk syrup sounds like something I really will enjoy. Thanks for the recipe.


  10. Hannah Cozzo says

    I'm from Louisiana. We drank coffee milk growing up but it just consisted of hot brewed coffee, lots of milk and a good bit of sugar. We never made coffee syrup. So interesting - will give it a try.


    • Robin Gagnon says

      Yeah, these days people think of coffee syrup as flavors to put in coffee... this was the other way around. It is still sold in my area. It isn't quite as common as it was when I was a kid though.


  11. Heya says

    Is there a way to avoid radiating it in the microwave? Have you tried using hot water or a double boiler to dissolve? Also, I’m super curious what that top layer is that you scrape off. I grew up drinking coffee milk and would prefer to stay away from the microwave ?


    • Robin Gagnon says

      Simmer the syrup on the stove top.

      The top was just froth.


  12. Lisa says

    I’ve made this 3 times now!! I’m a RI gal who’s been living in Western Canada since 1984. I used to be able to have it shipped up directly from Autocrat, but they don’t anymore. Then I’d bring it home when I visited. Then my mom shooed it up for me as well.

    This works fantastic!!! Thank you!
    One question please. The recipe calls for pure cane sugar but in your pictures it looks like you’re using plain white sugar? Our cane sugar here is brown?


    • Robin Gagnon says

      It is plain white sugar. Some brands are made of cane and others beets... honestly either would be fine.


  13. DIANE FORSHAW says

    Thank you for this recipe. I grew up on coffee milk in RI, but they don't sell coffee syrup anywhere near where I live now. Another good thing to mention is the fact that there is no high fructose corn syrup like in some of the store bought brands when you make it yourself.


  14. Miss Jo says

    I'm originally from Somerset, MA. My dad worked at Nelson's Dairy. We grew up with lots of coffee milk. I'm now 72. I Make my own syrup too, because you can't buy it anywhere in the middle of the country. I cook mine. Use a pot of strong coffee, 2 to 3 cups of sugar, depending on the amount you want to make. Bring to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes, lower heat to medium low, and cook for a couple of hours. I add a half cup of instant coffee and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Cook until thickened to syrup constancy. Shut off, let cool, covered. Pour into bottle. Lasts a year in the refrigerator, or until gone. I use it to flavor my homemade ice cream, too.
    Just finished making a batch for the new year. Thank you.
    PS: Went to school with Gagnons.


    • Robin Gagnon says

      Hi neighbor 😀
      I have made it a few times with super strong coffee. I like your idea of using both.


  15. Profesora says

    I remember coffee milk in individual cartons as a child in Oregon. Loved it, but do not enjoy a regular cup of coffee. I use Folgers instant crystals and liquid stevia to make individual glasses of coffee milk. I like the idea of making a syrup, although I may try it with monk fruit sweetener and add a bit of rum extract/flavoring to give it the taste of my favorite adult coffee liqueur. Thank you for the recipe!


  16. Ellen says

    I come from New England, and we always had coffee milk as children. Now that I live in the south, of course, it can't be found. Today I was thinking about it for some reason and decided to look it up. So happy to find this. Thank you for posting. I look forward to making it.


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Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipe for Coffee Milk (2024)


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