The latte is the backbone of American society. Choosing the best latte at Starbucks is no small feat, but one we’re prepared to tackle.
Lattes are a deceptively simple drink: despite only having espresso and milk, it’s tempting to add a bunch of other options. Do you want a chocolate base or caramel drizzle to sweeten things up? Maybe you’re tired of coffee and want an alternative to warm up your workweek.
We’re not going to arbitrarily decide which latte is best for you. Instead, we’ll choose the most standout options in categories related to flavor, calories, and sugar count. We’ll also take a look at coffee latte alternatives to ensure you get the best recipe for your unique tastes.
Best Standout Lattes at Starbucks
Have you ever looked at a coffee menu and exclaimed, “Oh, I just have to try that!”. That response is exactly what we’re going for with the first section of our Starbucks best latte list.
1. Caramel Brulée Latte
This seasonal variation is limited time only, but you’ve got to sneak it into your schedule when you have the chance. This recipe is a dessert, a drink, and a one-of-a-kind experience rolled into one.
While caramel is a well-known and beloved sweet flavor, caramel brulée steps things up a notch. This flavor retains the same buttery sweetness while adding a smoky finish, all of which sings when blended with your milk of choice.
To top things off (literally), this drink comes with a curl of whipped cream and a dash of crunchy brulée bits.
2. Reserve Hazelnut Bianco Latte
The only drink that sounds fancier than the Caramel Brulée Latte is the Reserve Hazelnut Bianco Latte. Let’s break down what this title means so you can appreciate your drink to the fullest.
Starbucks Reserve coffee is a label given to their highest quality, single-origin coffee. While quality is up to you, customers love these espressos for their distinctive flavors and the unique character they give standard recipes.
Bianco is Italian for ‘white’ – in this drink, the term refers to the white hazelnut that makes up the foundation. This latte is a creamy and nutty affair, leaning away from the overwhelming sweetness in favor of a subtle result.
If you want to step outside of the box a little, this drink is a solid place to start.
Best Low-Calorie Lattes at Starbucks
Counting calories at Starbucks isn’t easy with so many tempting sauces and syrups staring you in the face. We have a few low-calorie options here that’ll let you indulge without a second thought.
1. Skinny Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte
Starbucks Blonde Espresso is a must-try for coffee fans that want to steer clear of bitter or smoky coffee. This espresso is lightly roasted for a bright, nutty, and slightly citrusy finish.
The Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte comes with a calorie count hovering between 130 to 320. You can snip that count by asking for a skinny variation – this uses a non-fat milk base and/or sugar-free vanilla syrup. Of course, you can also ask for a vegan milk substitution.
2. Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte
If vanilla isn’t quite the flavor you’re looking for, try this spiced variation. The Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte also uses non-fat milk and sugar-free syrup, but with a cinnamon focus.
Your barista will sprinkle the latte’s frothy head with cinnamon dolce sprinkles for a little extra flavor. Depending on the size you choose, the calories range between 60 to 160.
All in all, this heartwarming drink is a great option for fans of chai tea or holiday coffee recipes.
Best Low Sugar Lattes at Starbucks
No need to bust out the calculator for these drinks. We have a few of the best low-sugar lattes at Starbucks for you to enjoy with your next meal.
1. Caffe Latte
When in doubt? Keep it simple. The Caffe Latte uses an appealingly straightforward base of espresso shots and your milk of choice.
It’s a small wonder why the latte has such staying power. While the recipe is simple enough to adjust with shots of syrup or sauce, it also stands on its own. If you still want to shake up your latte’s flavor, ask for different types of espresso.
The standard espresso Starbucks uses for espresso-based drinks is its dark-roasted Signature Espresso.
We highly recommend the following Starbucks espressos:
- Blonde Roast
- Clover Brewed Pike Place Roast
- Decaf Espresso Roast Clover
Best Coffee Latte Alternatives at Starbucks
If coffee isn’t your cup of…well, coffee, we have a few latte alternatives. They boast the same heartwarming creaminess as the classic recipe, but with tea bases.
1. Chai Tea Latte
Equal parts sweet and spiced, the Chai Tea Latte is probably the best-known coffee latte alternative. When you consider how easy it is to adjust the recipe, it’s no wonder why this drink keeps getting picked.
For starters, Chai Tea Lattes go great with a shot of vanilla or cinnamon dolce syrup. If you prefer the spicier end of the equation, dust the top with cinnamon.
If you’re in the middle of cravings, ask for a dollop of whipped cream. No matter what you do, you’ll have a dulcet delight that warms you to your bones.
2. Matcha Green Tea Latte
If chai tea is missing some of that earthiness, the Matcha Green Tea Latte is the drink for you. The grassy and earthy flavors of green tea are balanced nicely with a base of steamed milk.
This recipe doesn’t use a tea bag but instead uses Starbucks’ matcha powder. As such, this drink is a touch sweeter than a more traditional recipe.
If you prefer your green tea to be as bold and bitter as possible, ask the barista if they have green tea bags on standby.
3. London Fog Tea Latte
When you need to unwind and forget your troubles, a few teas invoke the same sensation as Earl Grey. The combination of fragrant lavender and tangy bergamot is even better layered with creamy milk.
This recipe goes a step further to add a few shots of vanilla. This easygoing sweetness adds more complexity to the drink without overpowering the floral and citrus foundation.
Best Latte at Starbucks – FAQs
Ready to find the best latte at Starbucks? Below are some commonly asked questions about this classic recipe.
1. What is the Most Popular Latte at Starbucks?
Coffee menus can be pretty intimidating with their complex terminology and array of Italian or French terms. The Caffe Latte is easily the most popular drink for its simple construction, great flavor, and easy customization options.
2. Which Starbucks Latte is Best for the First Time?
Again, the Caffe Latte is an accessible choice for many. Firstcomers will enjoy the rich espresso flavor and creamy texture while also feeling confident adding customization.
Add a shot of chocolate syrup and this drink turns into a Caffe Mocha. Add a drizzle of caramel and this recipe turns into the (confusingly named) Caramel Macchiato.
3. Are Lattes Better Than Macchiatos?
Speaking of macchiatos! Lattes and macchiatos appear similar on the surface but are actually pretty different.
Lattes and macchiatos both have a base of espresso and milk. Where they differ is in quantity. The latte is predominantly steamed milk blended into shots of espresso, making the coffee flavor less bitter.
Traditional macchiatos are the other way around – a dollop of steamed milk is poured into a shot of espresso, letting the bold coffee flavor stand out.
A Starbucks macchiato is simply a latte with caramel and vanilla syrup added.
4. Are Lattes Healthier Than Coffee?
Depending on the type of latte you get, maybe! The average latte will have more fat and sugar than a plain cup of coffee. However, if you get a latte with a vegan milk substitute or non-fat milk, you can still have a healthy cup.
Both plain drip coffee and lattes give you the antioxidants found in coffee. High levels of antioxidants are believed to help fight heart disease and high blood pressure.
5. How Do You Order a Sweet Latte?
Want to sweeten up your latte a little? The most common ways of doing this are:
- Add a sprinkle of brown sugar, Sugar In The Raw, or a sugar substitute
- Add a shot of syrup (or a sugar-free version)
- Use a lightly roasted coffee for the espresso base