When the pandemic first started, I missed by favorite cafes in Berkeley by an embarrassing amount. I missed the atmosphere, but I also missed my daily—sometimes twice daily—dose of caffeine. While I am okay with a plain cup of coffee with a dash of milk, sometimes I crave some cafe specialties. I didn't want to invest in new kitchen gadgets, so instead I recreated cafe recipes with the materials I had at home! Read on to learn how to create your favorite caffeinated drink at home.

1. The Classic Latte

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Charlotte Ohana

Lattes are a classic, delicious, mood-boosting, caffeinated drink. For me, a latte is the perfect mix of milk, coffee, and foam. When the pandemic hit, I had no idea how to make one. One year later, I can confidently say I can make a slightly-below cafe level latte. I don't have an espresso machine at home, but as a loyal AeroPress user, I can attest to the quality of "fake" espressos that I make at home. Starting with a very strong shot of espresso, I froth hot milk and pour it on top. Unfortunately, I do not know how to make a design on top of my coffee, so I sprinkle some cinnamon on top instead. Alternatively, add some vanilla sugar or a dollop of salted caramel on top. It might not be as cafe-worthy as some people want, but it's pretty close!

#SpoonTip: If you have a french press at home, you can skip buying a separate milk frother and use hot milk and a french press instead!

2. London Fog to Clear the Brain Fog

coffee, tea, chocolate, milk, cream, sweet, espresso
Julie Lau

I am an anytime-of-the-day coffee person, but one too many cups can make me a bit jittery. Instead, I turn to my favorite black tea: Earl Grey. A London Fog is a truly delicious mixture of strong Earl Grey tea, hot milk, honey, and vanilla. While I'd like to say that I measure out all the ingredients precisely, I usually estimate. I steep one bag of Earl Grey tea in 1/2 cup of hot water, and add a splash of vanilla and honey to taste. Lastly, I froth hot milk and pour it on top.

3. The Green Caffeine: Matcha Latte 

tea, green tea, matcha, herb
Jocelyn Hsu

Matcha is the prettiest caffeinated drink, by far. The vibrant green color has always enticed me, but it's the taste that gets me these days. To make a good matcha latte at home, you can invest in a matcha whisk, but I usually just use a regular whisk. I add my matcha of choice into a bowl, and some hot water, and whisk until it's dissolved. I usually add milk and honey, but both the milk and the honey can be replaced with alternatives.

If you're in the Bay Area and don't want to make your matcha latte at home, check out these places!

4. Chai this one!

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Rebecca Buechler

I love chai because it is open to a lot of variation. You can change which black tea and spices you use based on how you're feeling that day, or keep it constant if that's your thing. I personally like using a mix of darjeeling and earl grey tea, cardamom, and milk. On occasion, I'll add ginger. I usually make chai on the stove because I like to simmer my milk and tea together for about ten minutes. To make a single cup, I add 1/2 cup of water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Then, I add my teas and spices, turn the heat off, and let it steep for about 3 minutes. Lastly, I add milk and simmer the tea for about 5 minutes before drinking.

5. Mocha for your Coffee and Dessert Needs

coffee, espresso, cappuccino, mocha, chocolate
Elexsa Perello

If you're looking for a two-in-one dessert and drink with a good dose of caffeine, look no further. Until last March, I had never made a mocha at home and just assumed that it was hot chocolate mixed with coffee–I wasn't too far off! There are a few ways to make mochas, but I like to make a cup of hot cocoa using cocoa powder, milk, and sugar to taste, and mix it with a strong shot of espresso. If I have it on hand, I top my mocha with whipped cream and chocolate chips.

Hopefully we will be able to frequent our favorite cafes in the future, but for now, we can turn to our own kitchens to make our favorite drinks! While you might need a few additional tools, you most likely have these ingredients lying around your kitchen just waiting to be mixed and whisked into a caffeinated beverage for you to consume.