15 sweet Starbucks drinks to try
It’s completely normal to crave a little something sweet once in a while.
Many of us enjoy a touch of sugar to complement the flavors of coffee and tea. But we also want to be aware of how much sugar we consume.
The famous coffee chain Starbucks offers many types of sweet drinks. Luckily, not all of them are completely loaded with sugar.
Here are 15 different sugary Starbucks drinks you might be interested in trying, along with some tips for cutting the sugar in your order.
Generally speaking, most of Starbucks’ hot and sweetened coffee drinks contain a moderate amount of sugar – more than most of their sweetened teas and iced coffees, but still less than other drinks, like frozen Frappuccinos.
On average, a large (16 ounce or 473 ml) sweetened hot coffee at Starbucks contains about 30 to 35 grams of sugar.
For reference, that’s about 7-9 teaspoons of sugar or just a little less than the average amount of sugar in 1 soda. One teaspoon of sugar equals approximately 4 grams.
1. Caramel macchiato
Caramel macchiato is a quintessential Starbucks drink.
Steamed milk and espresso are paired with vanilla syrup and topped with a drizzle of caramel, each giving the caffeinated drink a sweet taste.
2. Starbucks Reserve Dark Chocolate Mocha
A sweet dark chocolate mocha swaps sweet syrups and flavorings for cocoa and ground chocolate.
If you find the traditional Starbucks syrup too sweet for your taste, you might instead enjoy the subtle sweetness of ground dark chocolate used in a dark chocolate mocha.
3. Blonde Vanilla Latte
This classic latte uses vanilla syrup to accentuate the rich flavors of a lightly roasted espresso.
You can easily add additional flavors like caramel or raspberry, but keep in mind that these additions will likely increase the amount of sugar, calories, and carbs in your drink.
Starbucks offers a number of lightly sweetened cold brews, iced lattes, and shaken espressos that contain less than half the amount of sugar found in many of the brand’s hot coffee drinks.
4. Espresso Smoothie with Oat Milk and Glazed Brown Sugar
When you order it without added sweetener, this cinnamon-spiced iced espresso has less sugar than most other Starbucks sweet coffees.
The brown sugar syrup used to sweeten the espresso also sets it apart from flavored drinks with their classic white sugar syrup. However, keep in mind that brown sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.
5. Flat White with Honey and Almond Milk
This drink changes things up by using a “honey blend” instead of Starbucks classic simple syrup as a sweetener.
The almond milk itself also has a hint of sweetness to complement its nutty base flavor.
6. Starbucks Reserve Iced Hazelnut Bianco Latte
Nutty flavors are a common addition to roasted coffee beans and flavored coffees.
Instead of a typical sweetener, this latte gets its sweetness from a hazelnut and praline infused milk that’s poured over espresso and ice.
Starbucks’ sugary drink options aren’t strictly limited to coffee. The brand also offers sweet teas, vapors, and more.
Some of these options — like hot white chocolate or steamed apple juice — are very high in sugar with more than 50 grams packed into a single large serving (16 ounces or 473 ml).
However, a few options contain less added sugar.
Here’s a look at how a large (16 ounces or 473ml) of Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte, Honey Citrus Mint Tea, and Hot Chocolate from Starbucks compares to the sugar, calories, and carbs it contains (16, 17, 18):
7. Royal English Breakfast Milk Tea
Many Starbucks beverages are sweetened with their classic simple syrup, which is made from granulated white sugar derived from sugar beets.
The Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte is a black tea latte sweetened with cane sugar syrup derived only from sugar cane, although you probably won’t notice much difference in taste between the two.
Nutritionally, beet sugar and cane sugar are nearly identical, although they may taste slightly different.
8. Honey Citrus Mint Tea
Starbucks Citrus Mint Tea is packed with flavor. It’s a combination of steamed lemonade and two different tea blends. You may notice hints of flavors like lemongrass, pineapple, chamomile, etc.
Like many teas, this Starbucks beverage is sweetened with honey.
9. Hot Chocolate
Starbucks hot chocolate combines mocha sauce, whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate with steamed milk.
It’s a combination of ingredients that puts it at the higher end of the sugar scale, although it still contains almost 20 grams less sugar than its White Hot Chocolate counterpart.
Coffee isn’t the only sweet pick-me-up you can find at Starbucks. The brand also offers a variety of fruit-infused and tea-based beverages for you to refresh yourself with.
10. Iced peach green tea
If you’re craving something sweet but want to avoid too much added sugar, consider Starbucks Iced Peach Green Tea.
The tea blend is blended with peach flavored fruit juice which contains natural sugars but no added sugars added.
11. Kiwi Starfruit Starbucks Refresher
Kiwi Starfruit Refresher also uses fruit juice as its main ingredient and flavor component, but unlike Peach Iced Green Tea, it also has additional sugars added to the mix.
Fun Fact – Starbucks’ “Refreshers” beverage line is the only beverage in the chain to use green coffee beans, which aren’t roasted but are still high in caffeine.
12. Iced matcha tea latte
Iced Matcha Tea Latte from Starbucks is a very simple and refreshing drink. It contains only three ingredients: milk, matcha (ground green tea) and sugar.
Because the sugar is pre-mixed with the matcha tea powder, there really isn’t a way to reduce the amount of sugar in this drink without also reducing the amount of matcha tea or ordering a size smaller.
Since added sugars contain calories, it makes sense that the lowest calorie Starbucks drinks tend to be low in sugar as well.
13. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew
Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew is Starbucks’ sweetened beverage with the lowest sugar content when ordered as is.
It’s the perfect choice if you’re the type of person who likes just a little pinch of sugar in their coffee to help reduce the bitterness.
14. Frozen Tango Passion Tea Lemonade
Starbucks Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade is a blend of lemonade and fruit juice that’s been infused with the flavors of hibiscus blossom, cinnamon, lemongrass and more.
It’s a real punch of flavor and color!
15. Iced Frappé Espresso
Iced Shaken Espresso is a simple blend of milk, espresso and Starbucks simple syrup.
It is a sweet drink with a very classic coffee flavor. It usually comes with 4 pumps of simple syrup, but to reduce the sugar you can ask your barista to use just 1 or 2 pumps instead.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy the occasional sugary drink at Starbucks. But there may also be times when you want to enjoy a drink while limiting your sugar intake.
On these occasions, here are some tips you can keep in mind to choose healthier sugary drinks:
- Ask for 1-2 doses less sweetener in your drink.
- Try a sugar-free syrup instead of a regular syrup.
- Ask to sweeten your drink with stevia instead of the classic syrup.
- Spread the whipped cream on top.
- Enjoy small sizes. Try a short (8 ounce or 237ml) or tall (12 ounce or 355ml) drink instead of a tall (16 ounce or 473ml) or venti (20 ounce or 591ml) drink.
There are also a few Starbucks beverages that are particularly high in sugar that you might want to avoid.
For example, a large (16 ounce or 473 ml) Frappuccino from Starbucks contains between 40 and 60 grams of sugar depending on the flavor. That’s almost double the amount of sugar in 1 can of soda or many other sugary drinks you can get at Starbucks (25).
Some other large Starbucks drinks (16 ounces or 473 ml) that contain high amounts of sugar are:
- White chocolate hot chocolate: 55 grams (26)
- White Chocolate Mocha: 53 grams (27)
- Steamed apple juice: 50 grams (28)
- Vanilla cream: 43 grams (29)
- Chai Tea Latte: 42 grams (30)
- Cinnamon Dolce Latte: 40 grams (31)
Starbucks coffees offer an extensive menu of sugary drinks in a wide variety of flavors.
Some drinks, like frozen Frappuccinos, are much higher in sugar than others, so you can consume them in moderation.
Others contain much less sugar, such as their iced teas and espressos.
If there’s a drink you’ve wanted to try but are worried about how much sugar it contains, ask your barista for tips on how to reduce the sugar content.