Starbucks Iced Coffee Drinks Ranked
There are two types of people in this world: Those who drink iced coffee year-round and those who need it to be a certain temperature before ordering one. I guess there's a third: People who don't drink iced coffee at all, but the list below may convince you to change your ways.
Regardless of where you fit on the spectrum, Starbucks is where it's at for iced coffee (and all things coffee, really). The Seattle-based chain offers a crazy-cool number of ways to customize any beverage, iced caffeinated ones included. Coffee-drinkers can get their fix with Americanos, macchiatos and nitro cold brews (and that's before we get into all the syrup choices, milk options, shots of espresso...).
A Starbucks menu can be a tad intimidating, especially if you're groggy. As a Starbucks regular and tired mom of two, I've indulged in my share of iced caffeinated beverages. Allow me to give you the cold hard truth about which Starbucks iced coffee options deserve a regular spot in your rotation (and why).
About Starbucks Iced Coffee Types
As I said, you're not just getting coffee with ice when you roll up to Starbucks and order a cold, caffeinated beverage. I mean, that's available, but you've got other options if you want them. Here's a quick glossary before we get into the ranking:
Cold brew: These drinks are created by putting coffee grounds in water at room temperature or colder for several hours. It is more caffeinated than coffee.
Nitro cold brew: Starbucks' small-batch cold brew infused with nitrogen, which creates a smooth velvety texture.
Latte: A creamy milk coffee with a shot (or more) of espresso
Americano: Espresso shots combined with cold water and served over ice for a rich-tasting beverage.
Macchiato: An espresso drink with just a touch of milk (typically foamed).
Flat White: A flat white appeals to people who just can't with lattes and cappuccinos. They have less milk than a latte and aren't as frothy as a cappuccino but there's plenty of espresso.
Frappuccino. A Starbucks-exclusive, frappucinos start with a base of coffee or creme and may include syrups. Whipped cream on top isn't a must, but it usually happens.
The Best 20 Starbucks Iced Coffee Drinks, Ranked
20. Iced Coffee
It may sound strange to start a reverse-order ranking of iced coffee off with a plain iced coffee. However, most go to Starbucks for the customization and specialty sippers — you can get plain iced coffee anywhere. Still, if the familiarity of Starbucks' plain iced coffee is what you crave, the option is there (and certainly not a bad one).
19. Iced Caffè Latte
Same issue as the coffee: A plain latte isn't reinventing the wheel, though it's a touch more challenging to DIY at home. I think it's better as a base, but you do you.
18. Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew
Ooof. One of the most polarizing menu options, just putting the Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew on this list may elicit major cringe (and GI issues?). Starbucks dropped olive oil-infused offerings in the spring of last year, hoping to bring a taste of Italy that was smooth and delicious to the table. Some called the Oleato beverages delicious. Others say it had them running to the bathroom and not back for more. The Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew is highly caffeinated and aromatic and has a smooth-like-butter taste. But I don't want to be held responsible for what happens after the aftertaste leaves your tastebuds, so it's toward the end of my "best of" list.
17. Reserve Iced Hazelnut Bianco Latte
Housemade hazelnut-praline-infused milk and small-batch Starbucks Reserve espresso sound like a recipe for something special. And for some, it certainly is. The subtly sweet, nutty taste is palatable and accessible for some. However, taste is subjective, and some people feel like this coffee just tastes like burnt beans. The inconsistent reviews make this one worth mentioning, but not higher up. Decide for yourself.
16. Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte
Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the PSL. It's too rich and heavy for my liking. However, I respect that it has its legions of fans. That said, fall calls for cozy sweaters and warm beverages, right? Doesn't ice defeat the purpose? I guess maybe not in warmer climates.
On that note...
15. Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte
As people increasingly go off the dairy-beaten path, Starbucks has responded. For starters, people swap cow's milk for their alternative of choice in any beverage. However, the chain has started offering specific beverages with non-dairy milk. Enter the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, a holiday menu staple since 2021. This beverage is essentially a liquid dessert, which is fine. The thing is that when people think "sugar cookie," their thoughts usually drift to buttery baked goods fresh out of the oven. While the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte has "buttery" covered, the cold temperature is slightly off-putting (consider ordering it hot for a more authentic sipping experience).
14. Pistachio Cream Cold Brew
I recently got an email saying pistachio milk will be the new "dairy-free" milk trend. Time will tell on that one, but Starbucks launched the Pistachio Cream Cold Brew, which is topped with a smooth pistachio cream cold foam, in 2021. If you're new to a Pistachio-flavored beverage, this one is an excellent place to start. The pistachio is mild, though the salted brown buttery sprinkles add a sweetness that soothes the soul on a winter afternoon (in spite of the "cold" beverage). If you came for the pistachio, skip this one.
13. Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino
I guess I'm cheating here. The Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino doesn't have any coffee, but it does have a small amount of caffeine (15 mg) — and you can add espresso shots for a liquid treat for the tastebuds. This blended beverage still has a coffee-style flavor courtesy of the mocha sauce, which combines perfectly with chocolate chips. The mocha-topped whipped cream beats the cherry.
12. Iced Honey Almondmilk Flat White
Non-dairy milk can be polarizing. And, frankly, so is this drink, at least in my Starbucks circle. Some friendly taste testers called it "too nutty." Others tasted nothing at all. Still, others liked the sweetness but gave all the credit to honey. The texture of a flat white — less creamy and frothy than lattes and cappuccinos — probably doesn't help if you're looking for something more decadent.
11. Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
The Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso became a smash hit when it debuted in 2021. As an oat milk drinker myself, I can tell you that not all are created equally. Some oatmilks have an overpowering nuttiness — to the point they simply aren't palatable. Starbucks' recipe calls for unsweetened oat milk, and it's relatively mild, allowing the sweetness of the brown sugar and cinnamon to shine through.
10. Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Espresso
Keeping on the non-dairy gravy train: The Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Espresso has been another winner. It debuted in 2021 and has become a cult favorite. Almond milk has a nutty flavor that may initially catch dairy drinkers off guard, but the chocolate malt plays nicely with it. Consider this sipper an adult, dairy-milk answer to the chocolate milk of your carefree childhood days.
9. Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte
This drink doesn't reinvent the wheel, and that's part of the appeal. The creaminess that you want in a latte? Check. A touch of sweetness to mask the bitterness of coffee? Also, check. And you can add another layer of sweetness with whipped cream, which Starbucks will top with the namesake cinnamon dolce. All in all, it's an accessible option with near-universal appeal;
8. Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew
A worthy contender for 2023 "Rookie of the Year" in the cold-caffeinated-beverage space, the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew has quickly won over fans, landing it in my top 10. The sweet flavor profile — not much bitterness here — comes from a mix of two comforting flavors in cinnamon and caramel (cold foam!), the former of which makes sipping this beverage a bonus aromatherapy session. Speaking of bonuses, this drink's "nitro" nature gives it a smooth texture.
7. Iced Blonde Americano
Talk about complexity. The light layer of crema (courtesy of a blend of jolting espresso shots and water) yields a smooth-textured beverage. Since the blonde beans are light, they've been roasted for less time, adding a pair of bonuses: More caffeine and a gentler taste. The latter — combined with a slight sweetness — provides an element of (welcome) surprise to those who aren't into bitter-tasting coffee.
6. Iced Caramel Macchiato
Caramel and vanilla are two of Starbucks' most beloved syrups for their slightly sweet, completely familiar taste. In the caramel macchiato, you get notes of both. The recipe calls for espresso, vanilla syrup, milk and caramel drizzle. Of course, you can make swaps, such as opting for a seasonal syrup like pumpkin over the much-loved vanilla. Regardless, the caramel generally dominates the drink, and that's not a complaint.
5. Iced White Chocolate Mocha
This TikTok-loved beverage is creamy and sweet. Made with 2% milk, white chocolate syrups and espresso roast shots (plus whatever foams and drizzles you care to add), it's buttery-smooth and delicious. Coffee-averse types who need a pick-me-up adore this beverage — the white chocolate's sweetness melts away any bitter aftertaste.
4. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew
Elegantly sweet (without going over the top) and truly creamy, the Nitro Cold Brew blends familiar with trendy in all the right ways. The ever-popular vanilla flavor is enhanced because your neighborhood barista mixes syrup with sweet cream, resulting in a treat for vanilla aficionados that's still accessible to those who don't necessarily fit that bill (yet). This drink is especially good for people who find regular cold brews too bitter for their liking. While the 20-hour slow-steeping process gives a Nitro Cold Brew a sweeter flavor, the lack of sugar can be noticeable to people veering from their usual lattes or fraps. What's more, the creaminess and foaminess will appeal to cappuccino and latte lovers alike.
3. Caramel Frappuccino
A classic, if there ever was one, the Caramel Frappuccino blends caramel syrup, coffee, milk, ice, and caramel sauce to perfection. Yes, a caramel frappuccino veers into "sweet tooth" territory, especially when topped with whipped cream and additional syrups (Caramel? Chocolate? You pick, obviously). However, caramel is such a universal flavor that the sweetness comes with a touch of comfort, and the proprietary nature of the frappuccino makes this sipper special.
2. Nitro Cold Brew
A skinny vanilla latte is my regular Starbucks beverage (iced or hot). However, the nitro cold brew trend has piqued my interest in recent years, and Starbucks just nails it. Starbucks steeps its nitro cold brew for 20 hours, epitomizes the whole "slow food/drink" term. Starbucks' nitro cold brew is creamy like a latte, sweet without feeling like a liquid dessert, and low-sugar (New Year's resolution, saved). Though you can order a nitro cold brew in various flavors, I recommend going with sans syrup if you're new to the trend and adding on if you think it needs a boost. You can also get this one in canned form at local grocery chains and retailers like Target and Walmart.
1. Vanilla Iced Latte
Familiar but just a tad different than your run-of-the-mill, plain beverage, a Starbucks Vanilla Iced Latte simply hits all the right notes. When I spoke to baristas about the best Starbucks syrups last year, they universally lauded vanilla for its simplicity and ability to elevate a beverage. The iced latte is no exception — and it's my go-to as well. You'll get all the creaminess you came for when you order a latte with a touch of sweetness from the vanilla. The flavor has year-round appeal, unlike seasonal syrups like peppermint and pumpkin. In short, you really can't go wrong with this one, whether you're ordering a vanilla iced lattes in the dead of winter or the balmiest of summer days.