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5 Best Hot Coffees at Starbucks & 3 Best "Secret" Menu Coffees

Did you know that Starbucks offer eight different ways of ordering hot coffee? And those are just the top categories, with many more varieties available for each type. There are thousands of flavor combinations on the regular and ‘secret’ menus combined. Where to start, you ask? Let’s find out more.

Starbucks has been serving hot, Italian-style coffee since 1971. Their first selection focused on fresh coffee made just like in the Italian cafés.

Over half a century later, Starbucks have re-invented how we drink coffee. There are standard coffees made with different roasts, each featuring a unique flavor profile.

And there are coffee-based beverages with delicious syrups, cream, and toppings. In this article, we cover all the types of hot coffee you can get at Starbucks, plus their most delicious combinations.

Types of Hot Coffee You Can Get at Starbucks

Types of Hot Coffee You Can Get at Starbucks

Starbucks offer a huge range of hot coffee options. These are divided into eight general categories, plus one for large takeaway orders.

There are generally quite a few sub-options too, with the exception of the Americano and Cappuccino. Start with these, then move on to the ‘secret’ menu — which offers even more variety to Starbucks hot coffee lovers.

Find here more hot drinks you can get at Starbucks.

Americanos

Americanos

Americano coffees are made with espresso and hot water — essentially they’re a regular black coffee. You can choose from either dark roast, decaf, or blonde roast for your Americano. By default, Starbucks Americanos are made with dark roast espresso.

Brewed Coffees

Brewed Coffees

Brewed coffee refers to standard drip coffee, which is made by allowing gravity to pull hot water through whichever coffee grounds are used.

Starbucks offer a range of different brewed coffees, from blonde, over medium, to dark, and even decaf.

There are also a few different blends, and special roasts, as well as a caffè misto. The latter is made of half brewed coffee and half steamed milk.

Cappuccinos

Cappuccinos

Cappuccinos are made with equal parts espresso, foamed milk, and steamed milk. They’re stronger tasting than lattes, and tend to be served in smaller cups.

At Starbucks you can choose to have a short, tall, grande, or venti cappuccino. You can also change up your type of roast for your added espresso shots.

Espresso Shots

Starbucks offer two kinds of espresso shots: regular espresso, and espresso con panna, which loosely translates to espresso with cream.

A ‘doppio’ serving will get you two shots of espresso topped with whipped cream. Dark roast espresso is served as standard, though you can also ask for blonde or decaf.

Flat Whites

Flat Whites

A flat white is similar to a latte but contains less milk and less milk foam. Starbucks offer regular flat whites and honey almondmilk flat whites. The latter is made with almond milk and honey blend syrup, as well as two shots of ristretto.

Lattes

Lattes

A regular latte is a bend of espresso and steamed milk. It usually consists of ⅓ of espresso and ⅔ of steamed dairy milk or a plant-based milk of your choice.

Starbucks are well-known for their vast selection of regular and seasonal lattes.

The pumpkin spice latte is arguably the best-known of these, though they have plenty of other varieties on offer.

Macchiatos

Macchiatos

The caramel macchiato is arguably one of Starbucks’ most popular hot coffees. But did you know they also offer a range of other macchiatos?

There are seasonal options and even a traditional espresso macchiato. The latter is made with two shots of espresso and milk foam.

It only contains about 15 calories per ‘doppio’ serving, and provides a hefty kick of caffeine.

Mochas

Mochas

Standard mochas are made with a mixture of coffee and hot chocolate. Starbucks offers a selection of regular caffè mocha, white chocolate mocha, and their Starbucks Reserve dark chocolate mocha.

The latter is made with steamed whole milk and Starbucks Reserve espresso, as well as sumptuous dark chocolate. If you’ve never had a Starbucks Reserve coffee, it’s the brand’s most exclusive selection of rare and exceptional coffees.

Coffee Travelers

Coffee Travelers

Starbucks coffee travelers don’t refer to different types of coffee as such, but are ideal for sharing your favorite brew with friends or colleagues.

The cardboard carriers are filled with 96 fl oz of either veranda blend, dark roast, Pike Place roast, or decaf Pike Place roast.

Best Hot Coffee at Starbucks

Best Hot Coffee at Starbucks

With more than 30 coffee blends and single-origin roasts, and thousands of possible flavor combinations, it may sound tricky to pick the very best.

Here are the top five best hot coffees you can order from Starbucks. Start with these, then head to our hacks and tips section below to make them your own.

Caramel Macchiato

Caramel Macchiato

This is arguably the all-time most popular hot coffee drink at Starbucks.

Their signature caramel macchiato is made with a double espresso, steamed milk, and a generous helping of vanilla syrup, before being topped with caramel sauce.

Best of all, caramel macchiatos only contain about 250 calories for a grande, while being moderate on the caffeine content.

Peppermint Mocha

Peppermint Mocha

The peppermint mocha is known to many a Starbucks fan as the ultimate festive drink. It’s made with steamed milk, two shots of espresso, peppermint syrup, mocha sauce, and topped with whipped cream.

At 440 calories for a grande it’s a hefty treat, but well worth it, we think. After all, Christmas only comes once a year.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes were first created in 2003 — since then they’ve become popular all over the world.

You’ll find this popular Fall drink enjoyed in places as far as the Middle East and Africa, Japan, and even the Caribbean.

This iconic hot coffee is made with two shots of espresso, steamed milk, pumpkin spice sauce, and topped with whipped cream and Starbcuks’ pumpkin spice topping.

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

This tasty hot coffee drink is available year round, but tastes best during chillier Fall or Winter days. It’s made with steamed milk, two shots of espresso, and cinnamon dolce syrup.

Finally, this latte is topped with whipped cream and cinnamon dolce sprinkles. Calorie-wise it’s just a bit less than a pumpkin spice latte, at around 340 calories for a grande.

Flat White

Flat White

Flat white coffee is an all-time classic. Starbucks’ own is especially good because of the different espresso roasts you can try with it. This coffee really brings out the flavors of your chosen roast.

It’s made with steamed whole milk and three shots of ristretto for a grande. As such, it also only contains around 220 calories, making it a little more diet-friendly than the other options on this list.

Best Hot Coffee from the Secret Menu of Starbucks

Best Hot Coffee from the Secret Menu of Starbucks

The Starbucks ‘secret’ menu is arguably the worst-kept secret we know. There are many different flavor combinations available, most with fun names to boot.

You’ll want to tell your barista the ingredients rather than the names, as they likely won’t know every single one on this fan-created list.

Start with our top three below, then delve into the many other yummy ‘secret’ Starbucks creations.

Christmas in a Cup Latte

Christmas in a Cup Latte

This is arguably one of the best-known hot drinks from Starbucks’ ‘secret’ menu.

Order a grande cinnamon dolce latte and ask your barista to add 2 pumps of white mocha syrup and 1 pump of peppermint syrup.

Have them top it with chocolate whipped cream and, if they have, sprinkles. It’s the perfect Winter-time treat.

Cookie Butter Latte

Cookie Butter Latte

The cookie butter latte is said to taste much like Trader Joe’s cookie butter — if you’re a fan of buttery sweet treats, this is the one for you.

To get a cookie butter latte, you’ll want to ask for a grande iced chai latte. Have your barista add oat milk and two pumps of brown sugar syrup.

Ask for a little bit of brown butter topping to finish this scrumptious treat. Some prefer soy milk instead of oat milk, so you’ll want to experiment.

Cinderella Latte

Why is this tasty hot coffee beverage called a Cinderella latte? Because you’ll need to start with a pumpkin. Order a pumpkin spice latte, but ask for half of the pumps of pumpkin spice syrup to be substituted with white mocha.

What you get is a drink that’s half pumpkin, half magical white carriage, and all deliciousness.

Simple Hacks and Tips for Your Starbucks Hot Coffee

Simple Hacks and Tips for Your Starbucks Hot Coffee

Seeing as the ‘secret’ menu is essentially one long list of creations dreamed up by Starbucks fans, it’s no surprise that you can make your own too.

Starbucks allow for a near endless number of drink combinations. Here are some of our top tips to have your Starbucks made exactly as you like it. Perhaps you’ll even create the next secret menu item.

Ask for Your Favorite Plant-Based Milk

Ask for Your Favorite Plant-Based Milk

Whether you’re vegan or just wish to try something different, Starbucks offers five different plant-based milks. These range from nutty to lightly-flavored, and creamy to a little like skimmed milk.

For reference, 10 milliliters of their almond milk has 2 calories, 10 milliliters of soy milk 5 calories, 10 milliliters (ml) of oat milk has about 6 calories, and 10 ml of coconut milk 23 calories.

Their own original nut blend will lie somewhere in between these, given it’s made with rice milk, hazelnuts, and cashews.

Choose Your Favorite Roast… or Go Decaf

Choose Your Favorite Roast… or Go Decaf

Starbucks offer three different roast profiles — blonde, medium, and dark. Their standard coffees all contain their Pike Place blend.

You may ask for anything they currently have on the spectrum of other roasts, however. This also includes decaf coffee and even decaf espresso.

Just make sure you read what’s for sale before ordering, as it’s not standard for your barista to ask you which kind of roast you would like.

Enjoy All the Toppings

Enjoy All the Toppings

Did you know that you can ask for all kinds of extras when you order your Starbucks coffee?

You can ask for less or more syrup, add cold foam, add extra espresso, extra toppings, and even extra cream. Most of these are completely free too — if not all of them, depending on your barista.

Best Alternatives to Starbucks Hot Coffee

Best Alternatives to Starbucks Hot Coffee

Starbucks offer a great range of hot coffees to choose from and even personalize. Yet sometimes you may wish to look into alternatives anyway.

Whether it’s to try out different roasts from another coffee brand or try another signature hot coffee, here are some of our favorites.

Find here alternatives to coffee.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts have their own roasting facilities in the US. There, they blend and roast their coffee beans to perfection.

This means you’ll get a great cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. They also offer a range of fan-favorites, such as pumpkin spice lattes, cappuccinos, chai lattes, and more.

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons

Tim’s probably don’t have the highest quality coffee in the world, but they have a great range of delicious hot coffee beverages to choose from.

Their French vanilla drinks are especially sweet and delicious.

Tim Horton’s also offer yummy seasonal drinks such as their caramel s’mores latte, gingerbread oat latte, and roasted hazelnut cold brew.

Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee is favored by plenty of coffee aficionados for their craft roasters. They hand roast their beans by hand to ensure an extra special coffee-drinking experience with tons of flavor.

Peet’s roasts tend to be a little darker than other brands, making them taste smokier and more caramelized.

On their menu are seasonal items such as pumpkin lattes, cold brews, frappés, and more. They also offer vanilla lattes, traditional coffees, and a coffee of the day.

Simple Recipe for Homemade Hot Coffee Like Starbucks

Simple Recipe for Homemade Hot Coffee Like Starbucks

Starbucks now offer more and more branded products to try at home. You can purchase their coffee beans, instant coffees, creamers, and more.

They even have recipes for additions like their caramel sauce and homemade pumpkin spice syrup. You can also substitute your favorite store bought coffee, however, and add a few extras to make it taste just like Starbucks.

This is a recipe for a homemade copycat caramel macchiato — one of Starbucks’ most favored hot drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp of caramel sauce
  • 1.5oz of hot espresso
  • 2 tbsps of vanilla syrup
  • whipped cream to top

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Heat the milk to around 150 F, but don’t boil it. Use a milk frother if you have one and want a little bit of foam.
  2. Drizzle your caramel sauce all around the inside of your favorite mug.
  3. Add the vanilla syrup and warm milk to your mug.
  4. Add the hot espresso and gently stir.
  5. Top your caramel macchiato with whipped cream and caramel sauce, and enjoy.
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