Espresso and coffee are where Starbucks got its start. So it makes perfect sense that we should take some time to talk about some of the best espresso drinks from Starbucks.
The majority of the Starbucks menu starts with espresso as a base, and when you look for the most popular Starbucks drinks on the internet, most are espresso-based, even if they aren’t all hot drinks.
Over the years, Starbucks has broadened its menu with a wide range of different drinks, many of which don’t have a drop of coffee. Yet, the draw to local Starbucks stores still leans strongly toward those old favorites that start with Starbucks’ original espresso roast beans brewed as a perfect shot of espresso.
List of Our Favorite Espresso Drinks from Starbucks
If you are ready to try a new espresso drink from your local Starbucks, we’ve put together our list of 19 espresso-based favorites. Our list features some coffee house standards and some seasonal and secret menu items that you can only get at Starbucks.
- Espresso (Regular Style)
- Espresso Macchiato
- Caffè Mocha
- Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Peppermint Mocha
- Apple Crisp Macchiato
- Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
- Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte
- Espresso Con Panna
- Caffé Americano
- Flat White
- Cinnamon Dolce Flat White
- Affogato Frappuccino
- Espresso Frappuccino
- Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso
- Iced Toasted Vanilla Oat Shaken Espresso
19 Most Popular Espresso Drinks from Starbucks to Order
One of the real draws to Starbucks is the huge variety of espresso-based drinks. For many people, their first experience with espresso was at a Starbucks. And coffee enthusiasts will make a Starbucks stop from time to time to check out the newest offerings.
Though Starbucks has added drinks that range from fruit juice-based refreshers to the blended frappuccino, their bread and butter remain their espresso-based drinks. Starbucks has made drinking espresso accessible to a wide range of people by adding flavored syrups, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and even pouring it over ice.
Below, we give you a bit more detail about our favorite espresso-based drinks from the Starbucks menu.
1. Espresso (Regular Style)
You really cannot put together a list of Starbucks espresso drinks without starting with the obvious. Starbucks’ original espresso is a dark roast bean that is brewed in the traditional method using pressurized hot water that is forced through very fine grounds.
It is the base of most of the espresso drinks on this list. Espresso on its own is served in single (solo), double (doppio), triple or quad shot options.
Don’t expect a ton of caffeine in your Starbucks espresso. This dark roast actually has less caffeine than some of their lighter roast coffee blends.
2. Espresso Macchiato
The espresso macchiato is a double shot of espresso topped with a simple dollop of steamed milk. The steamed milk balances the bitterness of the espresso without completely drawing the coffee taste.
Lattes are one of the most popular drinks in coffee houses across the world (also called caffe latte on some menus). When it comes to Starbucks the popularity of the latte is no different. The most popular drinks at Starbucks use a latte base.
The latte is popular because it offers a smooth, mild coffee flavor without completely hiding the coffee. Lattes are easy to flavor and on the Starbucks menu, there is a latte for every season and palette.
The traditional latte at Starbucks and any other coffee house is a double espresso topped with steamed milk and a small helping of milk foam.
Stuck in between the macchiato and the latte is the cappuccino. This is another espresso drink that you’ll find on coffee house menus around the world, not just at your local Starbucks.
Traditionally the cappuccino is made with a single shot of espresso (or a double if your cup is large) that is topped with half steamed milk and half milk foam.
Starbucks changes this combination a bit and makes their cappuccino with a third each of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.
You’ll find that the cappuccino is not as strong as the macchiato but not as weak as the latte; it’s a nice fit in the middle. The cappuccino is another Starbucks drink that is easy to customize and flavor.
5. Caffè Mocha
The cafe mocha is a drink you’ll find on coffee house menus no matter where you are. The Starbucks mocha is a bit different than you’ll find at other coffee houses, however. Their version is super sweet and bursting with chocolate flavor.
Some people think that a caffe mocha is just hot chocolate mixed with coffee, but that’s not quite right. In this case, a caffe mocha is espresso, chocolate syrup, and steamed milk.
The Starbucks recipe calls for a topping of whipped cream. This may not be a standard for other coffee houses.
6. Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso
The iced brown sugar shaken espresso is a relatively new addition to the Starbucks menu, but it is making waves. While this drink originally started out using regular milk, the oat milk version is far more popular.
This Starbucks drink uses three shots of espresso, brown sugar syrup, oat milk, and cinnamon. The ingredients are shaken together and served over ice.
7. Pumpkin Spice Latte
The pumpkin spice latte is one of the most talked about items on the Starbucks menu. People either love it or hate it. And those that love it, wait all year long for its return to the Starbucks menu.
The pumpkin spice latte is made with two shots of espresso, pumpkin spice syrup, steamed milk, and topped with either milk foam or whipped cream. This is a seasonal item, so get it while you can.
8. Peppermint Mocha
Likely considered to be one of the most popular holiday drinks on the Starbucks menu, the peppermint mocha combines the delightful sweetness of the caffe mocha with crisp peppermint.
This Starbucks favorite is made from two shots of espresso, mocha syrup, peppermint syrup, and steamed milk. Top this drink with whipped cream and peppermint crumbles for a delicious winter treat.
9. Apple Crisp Macchiato
Starbucks introduced this drink to its fall seasonal menu in 2021. It doesn’t seem like espresso and apple would mix well, but this is a surprisingly tasty drink.
This is a macchiato, so you’ll enjoy a bolder coffee flavor and less milk. Starbucks baristas create this delight with espresso, brown sugar apple syrup, a bit of steamed milk, and a dollop of milk foam.
10. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
This is another popular addition to the holiday limited edition menu at Starbucks this drink is a different play on the mocha. This is one of those drinks that people wait all year to enjoy.
Though it is customizable, the basic recipe for the toasted white chocolate mocha is two shots of espresso combined with steamed milk, Starbucks’ toasted white chocolate mocha syrup, and milk foam.
This sweet chocolate drink has hints of nuts and caramel. Top it with whipped cream and sugar sprinkles for a festive experience.
11. Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte
You can get a chai tea latte in just about any coffee house around, but Starbucks has changed up the tradition and made it a little more…well, Starbucks.
The dirty Chai Tea Latte starts with Starbucks chai tea and milk, but the “dirty” part is an added shot of the original roast espresso. This mix is served over ice for a delightful surprise.
12. Espresso Con Panna
Not many people hear of espresso con panna. This is a very traditional coffee drink and is a fancier version of the espresso macchiato.
There is really not much difference between the espresso macchiato and the espresso con panna, but the small difference in ingredients makes a huge difference in flavor and texture. Espresso con panna is a shot of espresso topped with a spoon full of frothed heavy cream.
13. Caffé Americano
Espresso isn’t the drink for everyone, but when you add a bit of hot filtered water you get a lighter drink with the flavors of a great Italian roast coffee. The caffe Americano was created by American soldiers during World War II.
They thought Italian espresso was too bitter and strong, so they diluted it with hot water. This isn’t just dripping coffee, and the flavors that you get in your caffe Americano are unique only to this style of coffee. Many people also add sugar and milk to an Americano.
14. Flat White
The flat white is a coffee drink that originated in Australia. It uses ristretto instead of espresso (though they are both very similar). Ristretto is espresso that has been brewed for a shorter time and does not have the crema that is typical of espresso.
This shorter brewing time makes the ristretto smoother and not as bitter. The flat white uses two shots of ristretto and is mixed with steamed milk and milk foam.
15. Cinnamon Dolce Flat White
Many people say that the cinnamon dolce syrup from Starbucks makes a drink that is like a cinnamon roll in a cup. So imagine your delight when you add this sweet and spicy syrup to a smooth flat white.
This is perhaps one of the most well-balanced espresso drinks on the Starbucks menu.
16. Affogato Frappuccino
If you ever travel to Italy, you’ll want to know what an affogato is, so you can enjoy them on a daily basis. This traditional Italian dessert is a blend of espresso and gelato, and is a surprisingly satisfying dessert.
The affogato frappuccino is a secret menu item and does a pretty good job of mimicking the affogato dessert. To order this drink, start with a vanilla bean frappuccino, and then have a single shot of espresso and a scoop of java chips mixed in.
17. Espresso Frappuccino
The espresso frappuccino is the original frappuccino at Starbucks. This is how it all began. A couple of shots of espresso, milk, a bit of simple syrup, and ice. Blend together for a sweet and frosty espresso drink.
Of course today the frappuccino is much more than espresso and milk, but if you keep your selection simple, you can still get hints of the original frappuccino.
18. Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso
Shaken espressos are a fairly new addition to the Starbucks menu, but they have quickly become a popular drink. These drinks are fairly simple, they utilize a couple of shots of espresso, a milk of your choice, and a variety of flavors.
The iced chocolate almond milk shaken espresso is espresso, almond milk, and mocha syrup. These are shaken together and then poured over ice.
19. Iced Toasted Vanilla Oat Milk Shaken Espresso
Like the chocolate almond milk version above, the iced toasted vanilla oat milk shaken espresso is a great way to enjoy an espresso drink without the addition of dairy.
This shaken espresso is made using espresso, oat milk, and toasted vanilla syrup. The creamy oat milk is as close as you’ll come to dairy milk and gives a very mild biscuit flavor to this shaken espresso.