Bookstagrammers and their fake coffee

Today I want to talk about something funny in the Bookstagram community. I think it’s something most people who are not very invested in Bookstagram or not at all don’t know about: Bookstagrammers and their fake coffee.

First of all, there are many Bookstagrammers who use real coffee in their pictures and *GASP* they also drink it. But I know there are quite some people who use fake coffee, including me. Let’s get to it!

There are different ways to make fake coffee. A few of them are editing water, water + soy sauce, cola, editing tea, mixing leftover coffee with water or editing in whipped cream. None of the cups in the picture above contain 100% coffee and 2 of them were empty cups. Don’t believe me? Here’s the original picture:

Using tea is great if you just don’t drink coffee, but you do like the look of coffee in pictures. Coffee is darker than tea, and sometimes that just looks better. Cola is great because you can still drink it after you’ve been taking pictures for over thirty minutes. Sometimes I mix leftover coffee from that morning with some water to be able to fill the entire cup. And sometimes when I have ordered sushi and they gave me way too many soy sauce packages, I mix soy sauce with water.

Let’s talk about editing. The easiest to edit are water + soy sauce, cola, tea and leftover coffee + water, because they are already somewhat dark and don’t need a lot of changes. I recommend using those, because they look the best.

If I want to edit fake coffee, I use Snapseed. It’s really not that difficult. (Obviously it doesn’t look the same way as how professional photoshoppers would do it.)

This is how I edit a cup of water to look like coffee. My app is in Dutch for some reason, so I’ll try to translate it properly. I open the picture in Snapseed and add my usual filter and get rid of some imperfections. Then I use the brush option to lower exposure a few times (-1 and save in between). Then I use the selective tool to darken it a bit more, but not all the way to pitch black. Then I go back to the brush option and make the coffee a bit browner.

Why I use water and not just an empty cup, is because the water shows how the coffee should sit in the cup and it reflects the light a little bit.

I am not very happy with the edges of the coffee in this one, but oh well.

If you want to edit in whipped cream or latte art, you need a picture of that in the same angle as the picture of the empty cup you took. You can find royalty free pictures of coffee easily or you could use old pictures you have taken at a cafe. I recommend using Picsart for doing this.

The reason I sometimes edit in coffee is that my coffee gets cold while taking pictures and I hate cold coffee. I usually take multiple pictures at once and editing the coffee in is better than throwing cold coffee away. And I rarely drink coffee at home anyway. By the way, I do not recommend drinking the soy sauce + water because you’re curious. I can tell you it’s disgusting.

Did you know about the fake coffee? And for fun: let me know how you drink your coffee.



  1. Daniel Postlethwaite
    January 6, 2019 / 9:03 pm

    I’m shook, it’s all so fake! As we will be travelling and book blogging at the same time we won’t have a fancy set up for bookstagram but hopefully the scenery will make up for it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. January 7, 2019 / 12:42 am

    I never would have thought! This was such an interesting post โ˜•

  3. Jennilyn V.
    January 7, 2019 / 2:12 am

    Okay, lol, this is a really funny post! I don’t bookstagram so I never knew this is a thing. Nice to get an inside scoop of how you do things behind the camera. I drink my coffee super sweet and creamy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jennilyn @ Rurouni Jenni Reads

  4. January 7, 2019 / 5:20 am

    I never knew about fake coffee! I’m mind-blown.
    Anyway, I’m notorious for leaving my coffee to go cold but I still drink it because it’s such a waste to keep throwing them everyday.

  5. January 7, 2019 / 8:20 pm

    I never knew fake coffee was a thing haha– very interesting to find out ๐Ÿ˜‚
    And my favourite coffee is iced coffee!! I love it โค
    You take lovely picture by the way! I need to get instagram one day so I can admire all the bookish pictures!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • sophies99
      January 7, 2019 / 8:30 pm

      Thank you!๐Ÿ’– And yes!! Bookstagram is really amazing and very pretty

  6. January 19, 2019 / 6:42 pm

    Wow that is brilliant! I would of never thought of editing coffee into photos. That’s some creative stuff there.

  7. February 6, 2019 / 11:55 pm

    New follower. I happened upon you because of this blog post and found your IG. You take very pretty pictures, would never ahve guessed those were not real. I am all on the use of cola though, I hate coffee lol xx

    • sophies99
      February 7, 2019 / 4:10 pm

      Thank you!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. February 7, 2019 / 5:19 pm

    Wow! So clever! And you make your ‘coffee’ look incredibly appetising.I’ll be looking you up on IG too. xx

    • sophies99
      February 7, 2019 / 6:09 pm

      Thank you!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. February 8, 2019 / 10:46 am

    Such a interesting post!I didn’t realise that about coffee on Bookstamp, but it makes perfect sense, as I know a lot of food photographers have been doing it for years in magazines.

  10. February 9, 2019 / 8:32 am

    I never knew this was a thing but it makes perfect sense. I am more of a tea girl or hot chocolate and don’t think I will ever master the art of making that look pretty for instagram. Great blog and images x

    • sophies99
      February 9, 2019 / 11:59 am

      Thank you!! I think I prefer tea most of the time as well๐Ÿต

  11. February 12, 2019 / 8:41 pm

    To be honest- I donยดt drink coffee so I donยดt really care for the authenticity of coffee pics on Instagram. The whole idea of coffee pics is that it looks pretty, or am I wrong on this one? I have a Mug Monday feature on my blog and when Iยดm in a good mood Iยดll even do a Mug Monday feature on Instagram, as well. When I do post I usually have an empty mug or a mug with hot chocolate, which I actually do drink. Great post! <3

    • sophies99
      February 12, 2019 / 10:34 pm

      Yep, coffee pics are usually because they look pretty! I usually take lots if pictures at once (at the weekend or when there’s a rare moment the lighting is great) and my coffee would just get cold during the process because I get so caught up in taking pictures. And then I make myself a hot drink afterwards to actually drink. Thank youโค

  12. February 19, 2019 / 5:12 pm

    Love your pictures ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love coffee, so i always have a mug of it somewhere near me. Iโ€™m the sort of savage whoโ€™d drink instant coffee, but i also like espresso and lots of milk ๐Ÿ˜€

    • sophies99
      February 19, 2019 / 5:38 pm

      Thank you!!๐Ÿ˜Š Whaha, I can tell from your picture that you love coffee!

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