sweet drinks at starbucks

13 Best Sweet Drinks at Starbucks to Try Out

Ah, coffee — everyone’s favorite socially acceptable drug. Ever since it’s made its way from the ancient coffee forests of Ethiopia to breakfast tables worldwide, everyone has been obsessed with different iterations of their morning brew. And no one does creative coffee drinks like good ol’ Starbucks.

While coffee purists will say that only black coffee is real coffee, you gotta admit. A nice, Starbucks frap just hits different when you’re craving some sugar with your caffeine. So, if you want to treat yourself to a nice caffeinated dessert, here are the best sweet drinks at Starbucks you should try.

Coffee: Where It Came From, And How It Became A Dessert in a Cup


Before scouring the Starbucks menu for a nice sugar rush, let’s first take a look at how we got here. Because going from a simple, ground-up bean you use to stay awake, to a multipart, sugar-loaded treat seems like a huge leap — especially when you consider the humble beginnings our favorite magic bean had.

As mentioned, most historians believe coffee came from forests in Ethiopia. Locals have many stories about how it was first discovered. However, the most popular one remains the story of Kaldi and his dancing goats.

According to legend, in 700 AD a goat herder named Kaldi discovered that his goats were acting a little strange. Namely, they were dancing. When he investigated, he realized they were eating strange red beans from a nearby bush. He concluded that these little beans were to blame.

He shared his findings with a local monk, who decided to test this little fruit. He was ecstatic to learn that when he ground up and drank the beans, he could stay awake all night in prayer.

Another iteration of the story claims that the monk disapproved of the beans’ stimulating effects, and tossed them into the fire. They created a wonderful roasted scent that became the world’s first roasted coffee bean. The rest is pretty much history.

Conquering the World, and Becoming a Specialty Drink


Okay, but how did we get from a goat herder in Ethiopia to a triple Venti Frap with 5 pumps of Vanilla and Hazelnut? The answer is of course trade. Since coffee was so delicious, it didn’t take long for it to spread to every continent in the world.

When it comes to America specifically, coffee gained traction after the revolt against King George. Prior to this Americans enjoyed their caffeine in tea form. But after the Tea tax, drinking tea became very unpopular. So, the land of the free switched from tea to coffee en masse in an effort to be more patriotic.

The bitter drink grew more and more popular with each passing decade. The 1960s in particular was when the coffee game changed in the States. This was the period when a Dutch business owner called Alfred Peet decided to utilize his family’s coffee roasting craft to open a little coffee shop known as Starbucks.

However, if you think they started out with outrageous specialty drinks, you’d be wrong. In the beginning, Starbucks actually didn’t serve coffee at all. They just sold their own roasted coffee bean products.

The crazy blends came later when in 1982 Howard Schultz purchased the company. He was the one who decided to combine the Italian concept of coffee with Starbucks’ roasted coffee beans. The brand went wild from there, opening countless stores all over America.

Though they’ve remained controversial for how they’ve modified coffee into specialty concoctions, we do owe Starbucks quite a lot. They’re the ones who popularized the notion that freshly ground coffee is superior to the tinned version. They also single-handedly created the modern coffee shop atmosphere.

Besides, regardless of whether or not you think Starbucks drinks are real coffee, one thing is for certain. They do make for a nice treat from time to time

Top 9 Sweet Drinks at Starbucks

After going through an extensive history of our fave caffeinated beverage, it’s time to look at what specialties you can make with it. After scouring the Starbucks menu, we selected the top 10 sweetest drinks they have to offer. We created the ranking based on the add-ins that go into the drink and overall sugar content.

To make things even more convenient, we divided them into hot and cold. That way, you’ll know exactly what treat to order both during the summer and winter months!

1. Hot Ones

There is nothing better than a warm cup of coffee on a cold autumn/winter day. Well, except maybe a specialty coffee, with a nice cookie snack. So, if you’re craving a warm, sugary treat from your favorite mermaid-adorned establishment, here are some options to try!

• Starbucks Blonde Smoked Butterscotch Latte


Image source: Starbucks.com

Starting this list of the s to try is a seasonal exclusive. This autumn favorite is a treat that meets all your caffeine needs while satisfying your sugar craving. It contains standard latte ingredients — a shot of espresso, which you can make double if you’re particularly tired, and whole milk.

However, what gives this drink its signature flavor is Starbucks’ special smoked butterscotch sauce. The sticky concoction is made from a combination of white and brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, and various additives to help keep it viscous. As if that wasn’t enough, the drink gets topped with a smoked butterscotch sugar topping.

This again is a mixture of sugar and fruit coloring. So basically this drink is sugar, blended with sugar, and topped with even more sugar. All in all, this amounts to a whopping 35g of added sugar or almost 3 Tbsp worth.

Pretty saccharine if you ask us. However, on a rainy autumn day, when you’re craving something sweet, warm, and creamy? Definitely worth it.

• Cinnamon Dolce Latte


Image source: Starbucks.com

What is it with seasonal Starbucks drinks and sugar? This warm latte mix contains everyone’s favorite wintertime spice — cinnamon. However, the spice in this drink doesn’t come in a standard powder form. Instead, Starbucks infuses the cinnamon via their special cinnamon dolce syrup. Much like the smoked butterscotch syrup, this viscous liquid is made from sugar, water, natural flavors, and preservatives.

But the sugar rush doesn’t end there. This drink also gets a hefty pump of vanilla syrup and a dusting of cinnamon dolce topping. Guess what goes into the topping? That’s right, even more sugar, cinnamon, and butter extractives.

In total, you’re looking at around 40g or 3.5 Tbsp of sugar per 16fl oz cup. Then there’s also the 150mg of caffeine you’re getting from the espresso shot and 14g of fat from the whole milk and whipped cream topping.

So you’re definitely getting a decadent treat, that is, superior to the overhyped Pumpkin Spice Latte.

• Caramel Brûlée Latte


Image source: Starbucks.com

Are you a fan of Crème Brûlée? Well, you can start celebrating. Starbucks has found a way to combine your favorite dessert with some quality caffeine. Their efforts created the third entry on our list of the best sweet drinks at Starbucks. This drink is the perfect blend of one shot of brewed espresso and whole milk, alongside various sugary add-ins.

This includes Starbucks’ special Caramel Brûlée Sauce, Vanilla Syrup, and Caramel Brûlée topping. The sauce is a sugar-loaded bomb of corn syrup, white sugar, skim milk natural flavors, and preservatives. The topping is much the same except in powdered form with some fruit and vegetable colors.

As you can guess, it’s a real saccharine bomb, with over 48g or almost 4 Tbsp of sugar per 16 fl oz. Is this the pinnacle of health? Nope. but as an occasional treat for those cold, snowy days when you want your fave french dessert? This latte is more than appropriate.

• Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha


Image source: Starbucks.com

Here it is folks. The sugar king of our list of the best sweet drinks at Starbucks. The peppermint white chocolate mocha has the most sugar out of all the previous entries, with a whopping 72g or 5 1/2 Tbsp of sugar per 16 fl oz! Kinda not surprising when you learn what goes into this tasty drink.

The coffee is mixed between a shot or two of brewed espresso, whole milk, white chocolate mocha sauce, peppermint syrup, vanilla syrup, whipped cream, and dark chocolate curls! Where to even begin with the sugar.

The white chocolate mocha sauce alone is a blend of sugar, condensed milk, coconut oil, and cocoa butter, along with preservatives and natural flavors. The peppermint syrup is a mixture of sugar, water, and natural flavors, while the dark chocolate curls contain an infusion of sugar, chocolate mass, and cocoa butter. So this treat is not just a sugar bomb, but a fat bomb too.

But come on. The holiday season is the time to treat yourself and enjoy good drinks. So sip away, and save worrying about added sugar or another day. If your diet is generally healthy, things will even out.

2. Cold Ones

As great as warm coffee is, iced coffee is a whole other beast. There is just something magical about adding ice to caffeine that makes it ten times better — mix it with some milk, a few sugary add-ins, and you get yourself the ultimate treat for a hot summer day. So, let’s take a look at the best cold drinks Starbucks has to offer.

• Espresso Frappuccino Blended Beverage


Image source: Starbucks.com

What better way to open up this section of the best sweet drinks at Starbucks than with a classic. This treat is a coffee lover’s dream. It boasts a hefty 155 mg of caffeine from both the brewed espresso and quality roast coffee.

But the caffeine kick doesn’t end there, because your favorite stimulant meets your favorite sweetener. To the milk, ice, and coffee base, Starbucks adds a good pump of coffee frappuccino syrup to sweeten it. That little pump brings up the sugar content to around 46g pet 16 fl oz.

Among all the other Starbucks drinks we’ve listed, this one is definitely one of the simplest. However, if there’s one thing a true coffee fan loves it’s the simple taste of good roast beans. So this little concoction is an upgrade that will thoroughly delight you during a hot summer day.

• Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Beverage (60g)


Image source: Starbucks.com

Stop us if you’ve ever been in this situation. You woke up one-morning craving a chocolate bar, but still needing your daily caffeine hit. Well, we got some good news. Now you can enjoy both with a side of ice.

The java chip frap is about as chocolatey as it can get. Like all good fraps, it starts with the base — ice, milk, and a splash of quality coffee. The chocolate kick comes from the coffee frappuccino syrup, coffee and mocha sauce, cocoa, frappuccino chips, and cookie crumbs. Overall it’s the perfect combination of cocoa, fat, and sugar to satisfy that chocolatey craving.

However, you can’t have chocolate without paying a steep price. There is about 60g or almost 6 Tbsp of added sugar in a 16 fl oz cup of this decadent chocolate dream. But, much like a Snickers bar, you aren’t having these for 3 meals a day. So as an occasional treat to brighten up your bad day, this frap absolutely hits the spot.

• Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Blended Beverage


Image source: Starbucks.com

After the chocolate come the cookies. This coffee blends crumble cookies with caffeine, in a sugary concoction that is saccharine enough to satisfy even the most powerful craving. How could it not, since it contains a whopping 55g of sugar per 16fl oz.

Its base is of course coffee, milk, and ice, along with a plethora of add-ins. Some of Coffee Frappuccino Syrup, vanilla syrup, Coffee Mocha sauce, Frappuccino chips, Cookie Crumbs Sugar, and chocolate cookie grind topping. Predictably the base of all of these is of course sugar and water.

Coffee Mocha sauce and Frappuccino chips also contain cocoa butter, coconut oil, and cacao, while chocolate chip cookie crumbs and cookie grinds are literally pulverized cookies.

In light of this, calling this drink a coffee seems kind of deceptive. It’s definitely a liquid dessert. Plus, since you also get a generous dollop of whipped cream on top, you can eat it with a spoon. This is perfect when you’re in the mood for ice cream, coffee, and cookies all at once.

• Caramel Ribbon Crunch Blended Beverage


Image source: Starbucks.com

No list of the best sweet drinks at Starbucks would be complete without some caramel. This frap hits all the beats. It has a nice, creamy texture, with a sweet kick, and a nice crunchy layer on top. Too bad that it has a whopping 60g of sugar per 16fl oz cup.

But if this list has taught you anything, it’s that you can’t have flavor without sugar. In the case of this frap that flavor comes from the milk and ice blended with a whole host of sauces and syrups. These syrups include the Créme Frappe syrup, vanilla syrup, dark caramel sauce, caramel sauce, and caramel sugar topping.

Predictably, all these concoctions use some form of sugar, water, natural flavors, and preservatives. Dark caramel also uses condensed milk, while regular caramel relies on butter and heavy cream. So once again, sugar, but with a side of fat. However, since this is caramel we’re talking about, this shouldn’t surprise you.

Plus, if caramel is something you absolutely can’t live without, then the sugar and fat is definitely worth it — especially while you’re lounging in the summer sun.

• Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino Blended Beverage


Image source: Starbucks.com

You didn’t think we would do the best sweet drinks at Starbucks out without including the one and only pumpkin spice? Admittedly, this iconic blend is a bit overhyped. However, when you try it, you can absolutely understand why. It’s just that good.

The ice, milk, and coffee base gets infused with a hefty pump of Coffee Frappuccino syrup, vanilla syrup, Pumpkin Spice sauce, and Pumpkin Spice topping. While all the syrups are a combination of white sugar, water, preservatives, and condensed milk, the pumpkin spice topping is just a basic blend of spices. Namely, it consists of the iconic fall 4 — cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

Sadly, that doesn’t make this drink any less sugary. In fact, it’s the worst offender in our cold drinks section. A small, 16 fl oz cup contains a mind-blowing 65g or just over 5 Tbsp of added sugar.

But consider this. The pumpkin spice blend is a fall exclusive. Therefore, you get to enjoy it for a limited time. Plus, it hits all the notes. It’s creamy, sweet with a nice spicy kick to tie it all together. And even though it’s iced, the flavor alone makes it worth buying even during a chilly autumn downpour.

3. Bonus Round: Other Beverages

Coffee is such a popular drink, that it’s so easy to forget that not everyone likes it. If you’re one of those people who aren’t obsessed with these bitter beans, we got some good news. Starbucks has plenty of incredible, coffee-free drinks you can enjoy when you’re having a sweet craving.

• Kiwi Starfruit Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers Beverage


Image source: Starbucks.com

Opening up this section of the best sweet drinks at Starbucks is a summer must-have. This lemonade combines two tropical superfruits — kiwi and starfruit. However, since this is a sugary treat we’re talking about, they aren’t using the actual fruit.

Rather, the tropical flavor comes from the Kiwi Star Fruit refresher base. Much like the syrups, this viscous liquid is just sugar combined with a white grape concentrate. Starbucks also adds natural flavors, citric acid, fruit juice, and of course iced lemonade to the mixture. On the upside, the drink isn’t entirely devoid of fruit, since they finish it off with freeze-dried kiwis.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s pure sugar. One 16 fl oz cup contains 30g of sugar. That is admittedly less than some of the coffee drinks we covered earlier. Plus, on a hot summer day when you could use a good lemonade to cool off, this tropical delight is the way to go.

• Matcha Tea Latte


Image source: Starbucks.com

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know the matcha craze that’s been sweeping social media lately. This striking powder is a type of green tea that differs from the traditional stuff in terms of how farmers cultivate it. 20-30 days before harvest time, farmers cover green tea leaves to protect them from sunlight.

This ups the leaves’ amino acid content, which in turn gives them a darker hue. Not only that but it also increases the leaves’ caffeine levels, making matcha a much stronger stimulant than most coffee beans. Lastly, the leaves are loaded with plenty of beneficial vitamins and antioxidants. Therefore, you aren’t just getting empty calories with this drink, but some impressive health benefits.

Yet these health benefits come with a side of 32g of sugar of course. Come on, this is Starbucks we’re talking about — you have to add a bit of sugar and milk to make the matcha tea into a latte. Plus, seeing the other options on this list, 32g actually isn’t that bad. Especially for something that is so simple, yet so delicious.

• Chai Latte

Chai Latte

Image source: Starbucks.com

While on the subject of teas, this entry is yet another good option for tea lovers. In America, most people associate chai with a special type of tea, just like matcha. It actually isn’t. In India, where this tea originated, chai literally translates to tea. The region adopted the practice of tea drinking from the British, adding their own unique spin to the classic black tea with milk and sugar.

The spin turned out to be a delicious blend of spices — ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. It’s this secret ingredient that transformed a basic cup of tea into a universally beloved autumn/winter treat. Naturally, Starbucks had to take things to the next level and transform this simple drink into a liquid dessert with 42g of sugar per 16 fl oz.

They add plain white sugar, along with honey, natural flavors, and chai tea concentrate to a blend of milk and water. This in turn creates a beverage with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. Just what you need on a foggy winter evening.

• Caramel Apple Spice

Apple Spice

Image source: Starbucks.com

Ending our list of the best sweet drinks at Starbucks is another favorite fall flavor. Caramel apples. But this drink is so much more than a cup of steamed apple juice.

It’s a mix of Cinnamon Dolce syrup, vanilla syrup, and Caramel Sauce, topped with a hefty dollop of whipped cream. If that doesn’t fall enough for you, you can always add an optional drizzle of caramel syrup on top, and even more whipped cream.

Sadly, this warm apple juice concoction is going to cost you. Though it’s quite basic, when compared to the other specialty beverages we’ve listed so far, it actually has one of the worst sugar contents as of yet. Just one 16 fl oz cup contains a staggering 72g of sugar. That’s enough to give anyone a stomach ache.

However, when it’s cold and windy outside, you sometimes need those 5+ Tbsp to get you through the day.

Can You Have Starbucks With Less Sugar?

Let’s be honest — most people don’t go to Starbucks to get a healthy kale smoothie. However, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to want to cut back on added sugar, while still enjoying your favorite drink. The good news is that you can absolutely do this.

For starters, you can ask the barista to use sugar-free syrups when making your order. It may not taste exactly like the original, but your drink will still be sweet enough to satisfy your cravings. But if you aren’t a fan of the artificial stuff, you can still enjoy the original.

Just be sure to ask for your drink in a smaller size. This will help you take in less of the added sugar and calories. Plus, it will give you plenty of room to make your way through all the sweet drinks at Starbucks!

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