The Best & Worst Drinks to Order at Starbucks
Starbucks may just be the most widely known coffee chain in the world, with more than 24,000 stores operating in 75 different markets. With such mass popularity, it’s safe to say that the average American has ordered a beverage from the coffee giant at least once. From sweet and creamy drinks such as the Frappuccino, which was introduced nationally in 1995, to simpler coffee drinks such as the classic latte, Starbucks is the go-to coffee franchise for many. Not all beverages served at this beloved coffee shop are good for your health, though, which is why we wanted to showcase a few of the most problematic ones, as well as a handful of the healthier options, too.
Here’s our breakdown of the best and worst Starbucks drinks from the menu.
Cold Coffee Drinks and Frappuccinos
Worst: Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino
The worst Frappuccino of them all may just be the Caramel Ribbon Crunch because it contains 68 grams of sugar, nearly all of which is added. The third ingredient, after ice and milk, is coffee Frappuccino syrup. Other sugar-filled ingredients include vanilla syrup, caramel sauce, and caramel sugar topping. Not to mention, this drink contains 490 calories, which is about the same amount of calories that are in three frosted doughnut cake pops. Three cake pops contain 20 grams less sugar than this drink—something to consider before you go to order.
Worst: Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
The mocha may just be the best way to get a hit of caffeine without trudging through a cup of coffee all on its own. After all, not everyone likes the taste of coffee, but they drink it anyways for that instant boost in energy. However, if you’re going the Frappuccino route, you may want to refrain from choosing this drink. The Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with whole milk packs a whopping 500 calories, 15 grams of saturated fat, and 63 grams of sugar. You shouldn’t have more than 22 grams of saturated fat a day, and with this drink, you wipe out nearly 70 percent of your daily allotment.
RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.
Worst: Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino Blended Coffee
Just when you thought vanilla would be the least likely to be a health offender, you learn that it comprises a whopping 71 grams of sugar—more than any other grande-sized Frappuccino with whole milk. According to the American Heart Association, women should have a maximum of 25 grams of added sugar per day, and men should cap it off at 36 in order to sustain good heart health over time. Most of the sugar in this creamy beverage is added between the various syrups and flavors mixed within, so you could be consuming up to almost three times the amount of added sugar you should have in one day in a single beverage.
Best: Iced Caffè Latte
There are three ingredients in this latte: milk, ice, and brewed espresso. We like this drink because it doesn’t include any added sugar—all the sugar that’s in this beverage is from lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in cow’s milk.
Best: Iced Cappuccino with Cold Foam
If you love coffee drinks with a strong espresso flavor such as a cappuccino, then you likely love the iced cappuccino with cold foam. At only 60 calories and 6 grams of protein, this is the cold coffee beverage you’ll want to order if you’re in the mood for something robust in flavor, yet light and refreshing.
Best: Nitro Cold Brew
Why order an iced coffee when you can have a less acidic, more caffeinated nitro cold brew? Order this smooth drink—which happens to look similar to a beer—for an immediate boost in energy and sacrifice virtually no calories or macronutrients in the process.
Hot Coffee Drinks and Espresso Beverages
Worst: Cinnamon Dolce Crème
When you’re in the mood for something warm and rich, the Starbucks menu has plenty of temptations, one of which is the Cinnamon Dolce Crème. Cinnamon dolce syrup is the second ingredient listed, which makes sense as to why there is so much sugar packed into this small mug. If you absolutely must have this drink, try ordering a tall with almond milk and no whipped cream, which will slash the sugar content in half and bring the calories down to 140.
Worst: Caramel Cloud Macchiato
We get it, a drink that’s called a caramel cloud is very intriguing. However, we advise you to take a quick look at the nutritionals before following through with an order. Avoid consuming all of that sugar and instead, opt for a tall order of a latte macchiato with whole milk. It only costs you 170 calories and 13 grams of sugar, all of which come from the whole milk.
Fewer ingredients is often a great indication that a beverage is healthy. There are two ingredients in this drink: milk and brewed espresso. Not to mention, this small drink packs 8 grams of satiating protein. Pair this cappuccino with the spinach, feta, and cage-free egg white breakfast wrap, which contains 20 grams of protein, for a filling breakfast.
Best: Latte Macchiato
As mentioned above, the latte macchiato is a great alternative to a sugar-filled warm beverage. If you’re trying to watch your carb and fat intake, try swapping out cow’s milk for almond milk. A grande order will only cost you 100 calories and absolutely no saturated fat.
Best: Caffè Americano
If you’re sick of your regular coffee to-go order, maybe it’s time to order something with a little more pizzazz such as the Caffè Americano, which is simply espresso shots that are topped with hot water. The more shots you add, the more robust the flavor, and the higher the caffeine content.
Worst: Chai Latte
We all love Chai lattes, but Starbucks amplifies its innate sweetness by dumping sugar and honey into the mix. If you want a chai tea latte, opt for a short size with almond milk for just 90 calories and 17 grams of sugar.
Worst: Matcha Lemonade
You would think anything with matcha tea in it would automatically mean it’s healthy, right? In which case, you may feel more inclined to get the larger size, but should you? The venti iced size of this drink contains nearly 40 grams of sugar, nearly all of which is added from the sugar in the lemonade and the sugar from the matcha tea blend. That’s about as much sugar that’s in a tall Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino with whipped cream, all hiding in this seemingly healthy matcha lemonade.
Best: Defense Wellness Brewed Tea
Full disclosure, any stand-alone brewed tea on the Starbucks menu would make the best list. However, another tea that would be a sensible choice is the Defense Wellness Brewed Tea, which is infused with fruits that are rich in vitamin C, including orange, apple, and pineapple. There are two grams of sugar, which come from the candied pineapple pieces, but if you’ve made it this far in the article, you’ve seen much unhealthier options.
Best: Jade Citrus Mint Brewed Tea
Order this refreshing tea for a boost in energy. With hints of spearmint and lemon, this is a great tea to sip on to rejuvenate midday.