Starbucks is well-known for its coffee, fancy espresso drinks, teas, cold brews, and cold foam. And, only Starbucks can make a true “Frappuccino.”
Starbucks is also known for the price tag it puts on drinks. If you make a Starbucks run daily, you can easily spend over $1,000 per year.
Most of us try to save money when we go to Starbucks. Starbucks Reward points and Starbucks hacks can help you bring the costs down. But, if you want to get “extra” with your drink order, you can drive the price up. So, how much is the most expensive drink at Starbucks?
If you order a drink as-is from the Starbucks menu, the most expensive drink costs about $5.95. However, some Starbucks fans took things to the extreme in an internet challenge. They went over the top with extra espresso shots and brought in coffee cups so large they should be illegal. One drink called the sexagintuple vanilla bean mocha frappuccino, valued at about $55. Others spent over $100 on one drink.
Let’s see which concoctions made it into the “most expensive Starbucks drinks in the world” list. We’ll also look at the Starbucks drink order policies and which add-ins are free, and which cost you money.
The Most Expensive Starbucks Coffee Orders
The challenge to use Starbucks rewards points to make the most expensive drinks possible started around 2014. The trend lasted a few years while Starbucks patrons vied for first place.
In 2014, Andrew Chifari from Dallas, Texas was one of the first to jump on the trend and make headlines. He ordered a Frappuccino rewards drink with 60 espresso shots, protein powder, whipped cream, chocolate and white chocolate syrup, caramel and hazelnut drizzle, and nut and cookie toppings. He drank it over five days.
Others who had Starbucks rewards points to spend, tried out for the position of the most “extra” Starbucks customers in the world. Here are the Starbucks drinks that got the top spots and a moment of fame for being the priciest drinks.
1. The Super Venti Flat White: $148.99
The Super Venti Flat White takes the cake for the” most expensive Starbucks drink in the world.” The Florida native, William E. Lewis Jr., stopped at a Starbucks store in Bethesda, Maryland on his way to Washington D.C. for an inauguration ceremony in January 2017. That’s as good a time as any to treat yourself in a major way.
He brought his own (giant) mug and ordered a 240-ounce Super Venti Starbucks Flat White with coconut milk. This drink contained 170 shots of espresso plus the three ristretto shots from the original recipe. The super venti Flat White contained 11,200 mg of caffeine. Yikes! Thankfully, Lewis shared it with friends and didn’t try to drink it alone.
According to Lewis, if his Starbucks reward points had been applied correctly the drink should have cost him nothing. However, it seems he paid had to pay $5.89 because the cashier on duty had difficulty applying rewards points to this super-extra drink. Still, that’s not a bad price for a 240-ounce drink.
This was not his first rodeo, either. In 2014, William E. Lewis Jr. attempted to win the internet with a coffee drink that cost $83.75. This drink contained 17 pumps of vanilla syrup, green tea, and matcha powder. It contained 6400 mg of caffeine and, for this drink, he used his rewards.
2. Caffé Americano: $102.15
On January 21, 2017, YouTuber Elton Castee also won the position for the most expensive drink with a Caffe Americano deluxe drink. This drink was 160 ounces with 102 extra shots for a total of $102.15. He documented the experience on YouTube. At the time, the record for the most expensive drink was $86. The non-coffee drinker took his YouTube team to the birthplace of Starbucks in Seattle and filled up a small-sized clear trash can with the drink. However, Castee’s victory was short-lived when on January 27 of the same month, William E. Lewis Jr regained his title. However, technically, we could say Elton Castee won since he paid full price for his drink with cash and Lewis relied on Starbucks rewards.
3. Thomas’s White Mocha Frappuccino: $102.04
The third place for the most expensive Starbucks drink goes to a man named Thomas. On January 15, 2016, this Starbucks patron ordered an Iced White Mocha Frappuccino and paid for it using his Starbucks birthday reward. His free drink included 102 extra shots of espresso, 70 pumps of white chocolate mocha sauce, 54 pumps of Frappuccino coffee, 4 pumps of caramel syrup, 5 bananas, and 70 grams of protein powder. This giant iced coffee drink got a topping of Frappuccino chips, and caramel drizzle, and included extra ice. It contained 800 mg of caffeine. Now that’s a birthday present!
4. Justin’s White Mocha Frappuccino: $101.50.
On March 11, 2016, a Starbucks store customer named Justin ordered a White Mocha Frappuccino but didn’t quite succeed in beating out Thomas’s White Mocha Frappuccino record. Justin ordered a Frappuccino with 112 espresso shots, 55 Frap Roast pumps, 5 bananas, 70 shots of white mocha sauce, and an unspecified amount of caramel syrup. Justin never won the title of the most expensive drink and fell behind Thomas’s White Mocha Frappuccino by 54 cents. He was about two shots of espresso shy.
5. Quad Espresso Rewards Drink: $92.55
On November 21, 2015, Kiersten Vorv and Shaine Choen in Maryland claimed a Starbucks birthday rewards drink. They ordered a Quad Espresso which usually contains four espresso shots. However, Kiersten and Shaine added 116 extra shots of espresso for 120 total shots of espresso. Rumor has it that the two women drained the large Starbucks glass full of espresso on site. That’s a lot of caffeine to down in one sitting.
Many customers felt that if Starbucks rewards give you free rein to make a super-extra concoction, why not pack in as much as you can?
But, is that much caffeine even good for you? No, not really. The FDA sets the recommended max limit at 400 mg of caffeine per day. This translates to about four to five cups of coffee or about six shots of espresso.
What does Starbucks think about the most expensive drink trend? They were not fans and reminded stores about their policies when it comes to extras.
Let’s take a look at the Starbucks drink policy.
Starbucks Drink Policies and Limits
While this Starbucks challenge certainly brought in some publicity with a few high-priced drinks, Starbucks did not encourage this trend. It wasn’t long before the company sent out reminders about Starbucks policies when it comes to drink sizes and add-ins.
So what policies does Starbucks have for drinks?
A Starbucks hot Venti size is 20 ounces, but a cold Venti holds four ounces more making it 24 fl oz. According to Starbucks policy, the cold Venti is the max size allowed for Frappuccinos and espresso drinks. This includes personal cups.
Starbucks added the Trenta to their coffee cup sizes in 2011. This cup can hold 31 ounces of liquid goodness. However, you can’t get any Starbucks coffee in this size. Only the Teavana® Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana® Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew, and Starbucks Refreshers get the green pass.
Since 2019, Starbucks also now limits the number of modifiers you can add to a drink through the app. You can still add as many unique modifiers as you want, however, you can only add the same “extra” to your drink up to 12 times on the app.
If you for some reason need more than 12 extra shots of espresso or 12 extra pumps of vanilla, you can always order your drink face-to-face with a barista. Starbucks baristas say that the POS allows customers to order each modifier up to 99 times for one drink.
Most expensive Starbucks drinks on the menu
You can pile in the extras to drive up the cost of any coffee drink. However, if you order a drink as-is from the Starbucks menu, Frappuccinos and seasonal drinks are some of the most costly. These drinks tie for first place with a price tag of $5.95 making them the most expensive Starbucks drinks. Prices may vary based on your location.
- Venti Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
- Venti Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato
- Venti Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Venti Iced Honey Almondmilk Flat White
- Venti Iced Honey Oatmilk Latte
- Venti Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- Venti Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso
- Venti Apple Crisp Crème Frappuccino
- Venti Pumpkin Spice Crème Frappuccino
- Venti Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème Frappuccino
- Venti Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino
- Venti Strawberry Funnel Cake Crème Frappuccino
So, if you are wanting to use up Starbucks Rewards points and treat yourself, you can choose a Venti-sized drink from this list.
What Makes a Starbucks Drink Expensive? Starbucks coffee add-ins and charges
Starbucks lets you have your drink your way. You can make your drink as fancy as you want, but some add-ins also cost you extra. Starbucks usually adds an upcharge for the following items:
- Espresso shots
- Soy milk (and other non-dairy milk)
- Syrup shots
- Frap roast shots
- Drizzles and crumble toppings
- Heavy cream and half-and-half
Most of these extras cost between 30 and 80 cents each. This depends on which extra you choose and the Starbucks store’s location.
While some modifiers add to your total beverage cost, others are free. Here are some extras you can add on with no extra cost to you:
- Whipped cream topping
- 2% or whole milk
- A splash of any milk (4 ounces or less)
- Cinnamon and cocoa toppings at the bar
- Sugars and sweeteners at the bar
You can also get free extra syrup as long as the syrup is part of the recipe. For example, most Starbucks stores don’t charge for extra shots of vanilla if you order a vanilla latte. If you are a Rewards member, you can get free refills on hot tea, iced tea, hot coffee, and iced coffee.
If you are looking for other ways to hack your favorite drink, we’ve dedicated an entire article to how to get the most for your money at Starbucks: Starbucks Drink Hacks (Tips To Save Money and Customise Your Coffee).
For years, many fought for the position of the most expensive Starbucks drink, and most competitors got their drinks for free by hacking the system. However, it seems that the trend has died down in the last years. It seems that drinking 60 or more shots is a challenge in itself.
If money is no object, what is your dream Starbucks drink? Let us know your favorite recipe on (or off) the menu in the comments! We might just give it a try.
What’s the most expensive coffee in the world?
Kopi Luwak, also known as Monkey Poop coffee, is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. One cup of this coffee can cost 35 to 100 dollars. This coffee is made from partially digested coffee cherries harvested from a civet cat’s excrement. Many say that the stomach acid refines the taste of the drink for a sweeter, less acidic coffee. However, this coffee is controversial as many civet cats are kept in captivity and force-fed coffee berries.
What is the best Starbucks drink?
To create the best Starbucks drink, you want to look at all the choices available to make the best concoction. You can choose which syrups, toppings, and drink size you want. Also, you should decide if your drink should be hot, iced, or blended. Starbucks Reserve drinks are usually made with more natural ingredients and unique flavor combinations. Other favorite choices are the Vanilla Latte, Iced White Chocolate Mocha, and the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
What is a long-shot espresso drink at Starbucks?
A long shot at Starbucks is an espresso shot that is pulled for 45 seconds. This means that a long shot is close to twice the size of a regular solo shot, but tastes weaker. A regular shot of espresso is pulled at about 20 seconds at Starbucks. The long shot and single espresso shots use the same amount of coffee grounds. However, a long shot may have slightly more caffeine since it runs through the grounds longer.