Strongest Starbucks drinks?
April 9, 2024 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I don't go to Starbucks often so I'm not really tuned in to the vernacular and all the different mods one can make. What are some of the most caffeinated drinks from Starbucks that are still yummy and sugary? I mean, most of their drinks are yummy and sugary but I don't really enjoy drinking plain black coffee, for instance. Just looking for something that's a fun pick-me-up in the afternoon that will actually pick me up. I also wish more coffee places had drive thrus...
posted by massofintuition to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think their blonde roast blend will have the most caffeine, and then you can just get it with the sweetener and milk of your choice.

Also sweet cream vanilla nitro cold brew is really strong, caffeine-wise. And yummy.
posted by virve at 10:25 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]

My default order, at pretty much any coffee shop that will have me, is the largest "dirty chai" that they will serve. It's a chai latte (so, at Starbucks, that's reconstituted chai tea concentrate with steamed milk, I think?... you can ask them not to add the water which will leave you with something a little stronger chai-flavored) with a shot or two of espresso added. You can ask for more shots if you like a stronger coffee flavor, or if you need more of a kick. The last time I checked, the largest hot drink they'd serve was a 20oz "Venti," so my order amounts to the words "venti dirty chai, please" or if you wanted to specify the number of espresso shots, "venti dirty chai with 3 shots, please."

Somebody on here will surely have advice about all the other options and flavors, but I am a creature of habit (especially this particular warm, caffeinated habit lol).
posted by adekllny at 10:26 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]

brown sugar shaken espresso!!! delicious and at least 2 shots of espresso, depending on the size (3 in a grande, 4 in a venti).
posted by quadrilaterals at 10:27 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]

Was just typing this when I saw adekllny's response. For Starbucks drinks with espresso, the default pour is one shot in a short (8 oz) and a tall (12 oz) and two shots of espresso in a Grande (16 oz) and a Venti (20 oz). If I'm ordering a Venti, I always ask for an extra shot.
posted by BlueTongueLizard at 10:28 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]

You can always ask for additional shots of espresso. So if you get something like a Caramel Macchiato you could ask them to add an extra shot or two of espresso to give it more kick.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:08 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]

Strength depends on the ratio of espresso shots to other liquids. You can get a "short" latte, which has less milk than usual, and then add shots to adjust strength.

Yummy, for me, depends on the amount of milkfat. By default Starbucks uses 2% milk, in a holdover from Fat-Free-everything days. I always ask for whole milk. Even yummier would be a breve, which uses 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk in whatever drink you want.

Sweet is, well, adding sugar. You can also add shots of syrup - vanilla and hazelnut are two good ones to start with. There are many other syrups you can experiment with.

So for your criteria of caffeinated, yummy and sugary I might go with a short grande latte with an extra shot (or two), either breve or with whole milk, maybe add a shot of vanilla.

I really appreciate their mobile app, which gives you a way to specify all of these things without having to remember to say them. And then the drink is ready when you get there.
posted by Dashy at 11:15 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]

If you like iced: vanilla sweet cream cold brew with an extra shot of espresso and toffee nut syrup.

If you like frozen: mocha cookie crumble Frappuccino can probably take an extra shot of espresso, but not much more than that without affecting the texture of the Frapp.

If you like hot: café misto (which is half coffee half milk) with an extra shot of espresso will have a bit more caffeine than a straight latte. That won’t be sweet at all, so I’d probably add white mocha (you can also add cinnamon dolce syrup to make something approximating a snickerdoodle) to that drink.

Blonde espresso and blonde drip (for the misto) will both give more caffeine than their darker counterparts. They also have a less bold and bitter flavor, which will allow sweet syrups to come through a bit stronger.

I’d add one shot of espresso to a tall or grande drink, two shots to a hot venti, and three shots to an iced venti.

Re: the chai, only the hot chai is made to standard with water, but if you ask for no water they replace it with milk instead, so it’s creamier and maybe a touch sweeter, but no extra caffeine.

If you use nondairy milk, soy will be the sweetest (it’s a sweetened vanilla soy). My favorite is Oatly, which will add a subtle oaty flavor that improves many drinks. Coconut milk is kind of thin and won’t stand up well especially to a Frappuccino or added shots. The almond milk I haven’t had in awhile. I remember liking it okay, but it definitely tastes a bit like popsicle stick.
posted by Night_owl at 11:29 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]

Easiest to order-- Venti Vanilla Latte with blonde. No need to order a bunch of customizations to get strong and sweet.

Im sure there's a lot more (see above) but just dropping a quick easy order.
posted by Ftsqg at 11:46 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]

nitro brew with sweet cream
It’s like cold coffee ice cream kinda, so smooth
They will only sell you a medium size because after that it hits their legal caffeine limit or something so best bang for your mL

Honorable mention brown sugar shaken espresso
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:56 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]

I like the “Vietnamese iced coffee” - quad espresso, venti cup, extra ice, 4 pumps white mocha, vanilla sweet cream foam. If you google it, you’ll find other variations.
posted by wheatlets at 2:50 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]

I don’t drink coffee.

Years ago, I was visiting a friend working at a coffee shop. One of her workmates said, “you like chocolate?” Of course. So what she plunked in front of me was (the equivalent of) an Ice Mocha Frappuccino. They had to scrape me off the ceiling afterwards but I’d found a coffee-ish that I could drink. Sometimes I get the hot version. I don’t know how to make it but every non-Starbucks barista knows how to make a similar one.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:25 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]

My coffee luxury is adding a few scoops of hot chocolate mix to a cup of regular coffee, maybe some whole milk. Whipped cream would improve that. No idea what sbux would call that.
posted by theora55 at 9:20 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]

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