How To Make A (Very Decent) Iced Latte On An Airplane For Free

One of my favorite things about my job is the crazy awesome tips and tricks I learn from the senior flight attendants. I’ve heard everything from making grilled cheese with a clothes iron and tin foil to cooking Chicken Florentine from scratch with hot water and the oven. The amount of creativity these ladies exhibit with the limited items available in the galley is nothing short of inspiring.

So, in lieu of this fact, I thought I’d share with my fellow flight attendant coffee drinkers a secret I learned for making an actual latte on board the airplane. It’s an unfortunate reality that simply brewing the coffee as it was intended does not often yield a strong enough product to fuel our buzz-happy needs, and I’m a firm believer that an awake flight attendant is a better flight attendant.  All you need is:

  • an empty water bottle
  • one of the bags of coffee grounds
  • a styrofoam (or cardboard) coffee cup
  • hot water
  • creamer (or milk if you’re so lucky)
  • ice
  • sugar
  • a plastic cup

The process is pretty surprisingly simple. For my more clever/imaginative readers, you may have already figured it out. If not, read on.

  1. Tear the coffee bag across the top, straight across, so you can see the loose grounds inside the bag. Make sure the bag is the porous filter kind.
  2. Put the coffee bag inside the coffee cup, torn end sticking up and out of the cup.
  3. Pour some hot water into the cup, filling it until its approximately 3/4 full.
  4. Wait approximately 5 minutes for the coffee to steep.
  5. Remove and toss the used coffee grounds and bag.
  6. Fill the empty water bottle with the creamer and sugar to taste
  7. Fill the plastic cup with ice, as much as desired
  8. Pour the coffee cup full of (very strong) concentrated coffee-zilla into the creamer/sugar mixture
  9. Add more hot water
  10. Put the top back on the water bottle
  11. Shake like mad
  12. Pour over the ice
  13. Enjoy!


Is that not incredibly simple? I swear to glob it tastes just like espresso and is incredibly tasty. If you want a hot version, just skip the ice and add more hot water/creamer. You can get very creative with the variations of ingredients and methods, but the result is a caffeine lovers dream, and it doesn’t cost you $5 a pop like Starbucks. Winning!


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