15 Best Starbucks Drinks & 3 Tasty Alternatives
If you feel as though Starbucks has always been around, you’re not alone – yet America’s favorite coffee house only started serving customers in 1971. Find here the most popular Starbucks drinks and tasty tips and a simple recipe.
Starbucks first opened its doors at the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle. Since then they have racked up a staggering 87,000 possible drink combinations to choose from.
That number could be regarded as overwhelming. Who could possibly pick the best Starbucks drinks from 87,000 potential choices? Luckily, we’ve divided everything up into five basic categories.
From there, we’ve ranked and rated your favorite Starbucks beverages. So you won’t need to try all 87,000, unless you want to of course.
Best Drinks at Starbucks of All Time
As we’ve already noted above, Starbucks offers a lot of different drinks to choose from. Interestingly, anyone who’s tried and enjoys this famous coffee brand will certainly have favorites.
In other words, it’s not that tricky to pinpoint the best Starbucks beverages of all time. Do you want to find out more? Here are our top best Starbucks drinks you must try.
Best Hot Starbucks Drinks
Let’s kick off this list with the top hot Starbucks beverages. There are many varieties of hot Starbucks drinks, both seasonal and regular.
These are the ones you simply must try if you enjoy hot drinks. They’re both warming and flavorful, and will want you to come back again and again.
On the very top of the list is the caramel macchiato, which Starbucks make with a double espresso, steamed milk and foam, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle. It’s a sweet, warming drink that’s perfect for caramel lovers.
Matcha Tea Latte
Matcha tea is made from pulverized green tea leaves and has been enjoyed for almost 1000 years. It’s still popular today, proving its longevity as a delicious drink that also offers health benefits.
Starbucks matcha tea latte is made with steamed milk and foam, and matcha powder. It’s simple yet offers a wonderful earthy taste. Ask for some added vanilla syrup if you like yours a little sweeter.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Starbucks created their fan favorite seasonal drink, the pumpkin spice latte, in 2003. It’s made with a double espresso, steamed milk and foam, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice sauce, and whipped cream with a pumpkin spice topping.
The sauce is actually made with a mix of pumpkin puree, condensed milk, and sugar. There are plenty of great copycat recipes to make the sauce yourself at home, so you can add it to your Fall coffees.
Best Cold Drinks at Starbucks
If you prefer cold drinks to hot ones, you’re not alone. Apparently, 75 percent of Starbucks’ drinks sales in early 2023 were cold beverages.
There’s a large demand for cooled coffee drinks. Below are the top Starbucks cold drinks you’ll want to try.
Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee
Starbucks cold brew is a definite fan favorite. It’s steeped in cold water in a lengthy process involving only small batches. This gives the coffee a smooth flavor without any hint of burnt or smoky flavors.
Add ice and an optional splash of a milk of your choice, and you’ve got a delicious coffee drink with nearly no calories.
Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew
This is one of the best cold drinks you can have at Starbucks, hands down. Starbucks’ salted caramel cream cold brew is made with Starbucks’ signature cold brew coffee, salted caramel cream cold foam, vanilla syrup, and ice.
It’s a creamy, sweet, delicious drink that’s perfect for hot summer days in the sunshine.
Iced Peach Green Tea
Not all Starbucks drinks are coffee, and thank goodness for that. Their tea-based beverages are just as yummy, as this one proves. Starbucks iced peach green tea is made with water, ice, and a peach juice blend. The grande size only has 60 calories, so it’s good for bikini weather, too.
Best Low Calorie Drinks at Starbucks
Speaking of diets, if you’re following a calorie restrictive diet, you’ll be glad to know that Starbucks caters to this, too. There are plenty of drinks you can order beyond just plain Americano coffee with no sugar or milk. For your info, a grande Americano would also only have 16 calories.
This is a fairly basic drink, but so good. It’s made up of a one-to-one ratio mix of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee and steamed milk with foam — nothing else. A grande has just 141 calories. For even less calories, try it with skimmed milk or soy milk.
Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
Shaken, not stirred, anyone? This delicious concoction is made by shaking Starbucks blonde roast coffee with a little bit of brown sugar, then topping it with oat milk and ice.
A grande has just 132 calories, which is crazy for such a sweet and delicious treat. Replace the oat milk with soy for just 108 calories.
Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew
At just 50 calories, this cold coffee drink really tops the charts. It’s made with Starbucks’ honey blend syrup, coffee, ice, and just a splash of almond milk.
The honey flavoring paired with the almond milk is a real winner here. It’s a great drink for vegans as well, and only has 10 grams of sugar, so it’s good for pretty much any type of diet.
Best Starbucks Coffee Drinks and Roasts
If you just want coffee that tastes like, well, coffee, you’re in for a treat. Below are the three most uncompromising pure coffees you can get at Starbucks, based on the roasts they’re made from.
You can choose these at Starbucks as part of your beverage order or buy the beans to brew them at home.
French Roast is a magical coffee. If you like coffee that tastes traditional, smoky, and delicious, you’ll want to have some French roast. It’s a very dark roast with sweet smoke and burnt caramel flavors.
French roast coffee has a strong, bold flavor, making it perfect for blending into a variety of delicious Starbucks drinks.
Pike Place is a Starbucks coffee blend named after their original Seattle location. It’s a smooth mix of Latin American arabica coffee beans with rich flavors of toasted nuts and chocolate.
Pike Place is made of medium roast coffee beans, which gives the coffee a well-balanced flavor and smooth texture. It’s easy to see why all of this combined makes Pike Place coffee so popular.
Starbucks’ Sumatra roast lies somewhere between the medium and darker spectrum of roasts. It notably lacks acidity, offering a full-bodied and smooth drinking experience.
It’s earthy, herbal, and a little bit spicy, while also remaining slightly lighter in taste. It’s a great all-rounder that’s easily accessible if you don’t love coffees which taste too strong or burnt.
Best Iced or Frozen Drinks at Starbucks
Frozen drinks are amongst the most popular at Starbucks. They’re refreshing on a hot day or just plain delicious on a cold one.
There are lots of varieties to choose from, many of which are on Starbucks’ famed ‘secret’ menu. More on that further on in this article, here are the top three best frozen Starbucks drinks.
Espresso frappuccinos are super simple yet delicious. They’re made with espresso, whole milk, and ice. This makes them a lot less sweet than other frappuccinos.
The trick is to experiment with the coffee roast you have put in this, as the flavors of the coffee really shine through. For a bold, sumptuous flavor, we recommend Starbucks’ French roast coffee.
Arguably one of Starbucks’ all time fan favorites, the caramel frappuccino is made with milk, coffee, caramel syrup, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle.
It’s a delicious frozen treat that’s irresistible on a hot day. It tastes very much like a dessert, so enjoy it as a special treat rather than a beverage to have alongside a main meal.
Vanilla Bean Creme Frappuccino
This is the ideal drink for younger Starbucks visitors, as it contains no caffeine. It’s essentially a Starbucks version of a tasty vanilla milkshake.
The vanilla bean frap contains milk, whipped cream, and vanilla bean powder. It’s a great base for some of the drinks on the ‘secret menu’, too, so make sure you look into that.
Simple Hacks and Tips for Your Starbucks Drink
If you didn’t know that you could fully customize your tasty drinks, have you even been to Starbucks? Here are our top hacks to make your Starbucks beverages completely bespoke and to your taste.
Plus one hack for making ‘copycat’ Starbucks at home.
Use Your Favorite Plant Based Milk
Perhaps you don’t enjoy dairy milk, have an intolerance, or follow a vegan diet. If so, Starbucks has you covered with several non-dairy milk options. Their plant based alternatives include soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk.
Try Starbucks’ Secret Menu
Did you know that Starbucks offer a great ‘secret’ menu you can order from? It’s a hidden menu made up of fan favorites.
You’ll need to be specific about which ingredients you ask for, however, as these secret drinks don’t tend to actually be listed.
For example, you might ask for a Cake Batter Frappuccino but specify that you’d like a vanilla bean creme frap with one pump of hazelnut syrup and a Starbucks birthday cake pop added into the blender.
Or you could have a Cotton Candy Frappuccino by ordering a vanilla bean creme frappuccino with 1-2 pumps of raspberry syrup added into it.
If in doubt, write down your exact order in advance to help your barista.
Make Your Own Starbucks
Starbucks actually list their very own copycat recipes for you to make at home. We assume this is simply because they’re confident enough in their own popularity and craftsmanship that they know you’ll be back regardless.
Whichever the case, why not try to make your own Starbucks at home and save a few dollars? For example, you can make a delicious Oat Cappuccino at home with just a few simple ingredients: prep a shot of espresso.
Meanwhile, stir a generous sprinkling of cinnamon into 190ml of your favorite oat beverage and gently heat. Froth the oat milk. Pour the espresso into your favorite mug, and add the frothy oat milk. Enjoy.
Best Alternatives to Starbuck Drinks
If you’re a coffee lover you may wish to try some alternatives to Starbucks. Starbucks is great, but there are plenty of other coffee places to try. Some of the best are smaller coffee roasters, which offer interesting new flavors to enjoy.
River Road Coffeehouse
This relatively new coffee company began its journey in 2003, when a father and son duo dreamed of building a coffee business that promoted the “value of community.”
They began making coffee in Granville, Ohio, and now have a few locations throughout the state.
You can enjoy their coffee drinks at one of the cafes or buy ground coffee online. Best of all, River Road help with a number of local community causes and even support local artists and musicians.
Another coffee brand with a charitable background, Guadalupe Roastery buy coffee directly from local farmers in Guadalupe and Nicaragua.
This ensures that farmers are paid better without being exploited for their work. You can buy their many varieties of coffee online or get a subscription.
Their flavored varieties are particularly good, with flavors such as Caramel Apple, Pumpkin Spice, English Toffee, and more.
Dunkin Donuts is significantly more mainstream than the above, but they make some great coffee. Their many varieties of flavored coffee are particularly popular.
These include seasonal flavors such as Maple Chocolate Latte, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Vanilla Chai Latte. They also make some excellent iced drinks, such as their Frozen Dunkin’ Coffee, and Vanilla Chai Iced Latte.
And for a Frappuccino alternative, they also have the Frappe, which you can buy in caramel, strawberry, and chocolate flavors.