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    15 Strongest Starbucks Drinks (Ranked by Caffeine)

    by Kieran MacRae | Last Updated: August 15, 2021

    This was a hard one to organize because you could drink a tall latte or an espresso and both have the same amount of caffeine in them.

    But it’s a lot easier to drink multiple espresso shots than it is to drink multiple lattes.

    So in the end I decided to organize by the pure amount of caffeine in the drink no matter how big the drink is, rather than get complicated and start doing caffeine by volume.


    I got all the data from the Starbucks website going through the menu to each drink and noting how much caffeine each one has.

    The strongest Hot drink you can order at Starbucks is a Venti Blonde Roast filter coffee, it has the most caffeine at 475 mg. The Strongest Cold Drink You Can order is a Trenta Cold Brew which has 360mg of caffeine in it.

    A starbucks mug and some coffee beans

    And if your local Starbucks doesn’t have Trenta cups then you can order a Venti Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso which has 340 mg of caffeine in it.

    For reference, an espresso has 75 mg of caffeine and one of those 5-hour energy drinks has about 225 mg.

    And you can make almost any drink stronger by asking for an extra shot of espresso in it, or it turns out the blonde roast has more caffeine so if you’re getting an espresso-based coffee you can ask if you can get it as the blonde roast.

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    List Of The 15 Strongest Starbucks Drinks

    NameHot or ColdSizeCaffeine (mg)
    Blonde Roast FilterHotVenti

    475

    Pike Place Roast FilterHotVenti

    410

    Starbucks Cold Brew CoffeeColdTrenta

    360

    Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken EspressoColdVenti

    340

    Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold BrewColdTrenta

    320

    Iced Caffè AmericanoColdVenti

    300

    EspressoHotQuad

    300

    Honey Almondmilk Nitro Cold BrewColdGrande

    290

    Nitro Cold BrewColdGrande

    280

    Iced CoffeeColdTrenta

    280

    Iced Caffè MochaColdVenti

    265

    Starbucks Reserve Dark Chocolate MochaHotVenti

    265

    Iced Caramel MacchiatoColdVenti

    225

    Espresso Frappuccino® Blended BeverageColdVenti

    185

    Starbucks Blonde Vanilla LatteHotVenti

    170

    A starbucks mug in mid-air

    1. Blonde Roast Filter Coffee

    This really surprised me as the strongest drink, not only because it tastes lighter but I was sure that espresso drinks would be stronger. But nope, they are more intense in terms of volume, which could change how it’s digested I suppose but on the highest amount of caffeine, the Blonde Roast leads the charge.

    If black coffee isn’t for you and you were really hoping for a Frappuccino to top this list then ask for vanilla to be added and ask to leave room for milk.

    Vanilla in coffee is really tasty and especially so with the Blonde Roast.

    It also has the advantage of being one of the healthier Starbucks choices because it’s got no sugar and no fat, so long as you have it without anything added.

    2. Pike Place Roast Filter Coffee

    This is as original a Starbucks drink as you can get, it’s the base drink you can order all around the world and it’s been on the menu since it was crafted by the master blenders and roasters in 2008.

    A Starbucks cup on a desk

    One of the most impressive things about Starbucks is that they’ve managed to get their coffee to taste the same in every cafe, a surprisingly difficult task when coffee is so varied.

    The rumor goes that they over roast the coffee to flatten the flavor so it’s more consistent no matter what coffee beans they use but I think that does a disservice to what they’ve achieved.

    Plus the filter coffee is still really tasty and ready to go straight away, and with 410 mg of caffeine in a Venti, it will have you going strong for the next several hours!

    3. Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee

    Having written a few of these now and gotten well acquainted with the Starbucks menu this was what I was expecting to be the strongest drink.

    Partly because it’s thought that cold brew is generally stronger but also because you can get a Trenta which is half again as big as a Venti!

    And if you’ve got half again as much liquid you’re probably going to get half again as much caffeine. But I didn’t factor in that it’s served with ice which takes up a lot of the cup.

    Regardless you still get a ton of caffeine at 360 mg and I think a cold drink wakes up better than a hot drink so this might be a better choice if you’re sleepy.

    The coffee itself is made with a 20-hour cold water steep, which is on the longer end of making cold brew and results in a strong yet smooth drink.

    4. Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso

    4 shots of espresso baby!

    A Starbucks Espresso Shot Cup

    That’s what we’re talking about when it comes to some wake-up juice. And it’s 4 shots of the Blonde espresso which is stronger than the regular espresso for extra punch.

    The espresso is shaken with 6 pumps of brown sugar syrup, oat milk, ice, and is topped off with cinnamon for a little bit of spice as an aftertaste.

    Not only does this make a delicious drink but it’s also secretly vegan friendly, just don’t tell the meat-eaters!

    A nice and light drink between the Blonde Roast and the Oatmilk with plenty of sweetness from the brown sugar.

    5. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

    Does 30 fl oz of black coffee sound like a nightmare rather than a pick me up?

    Fair enough!

    Well, an excellent alternative is the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, it’s got a little less caffeine at 320 mg because space had to be made for vanilla syrup and sweet cream but that makes it a lot more palatable for people who don’t like black coffee.

    A big sweetness without being overpowering and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, vanilla in coffee just works.


    And if Trenta is just too obscenely big even the Venti size has 275 mg of caffeine which is still a lot.

    6. Iced Caffè Americano

    You can have this hot or cold and it will have 4 espresso shots in it if you don’t know it’s simply espresso topped up with either hot or cold water depending on how it’s being served.

    Black coffee extra black is how I think of it, and if you want to make it stronger it’s the perfect drink to ask for an extra shot of espresso in, or you can swap to the blonde roast and you’ll get a little over 10% extra caffeine in your cup.

    And if black isn’t your thing, ask for some caramel or vanilla and ask for room to be left for milk, even a little sweet cream would hit the spot.

    A guy holding a cool iced starbucks coffee

    7. Espresso

    We need caffeine and we need caffeine now, no messing around, a Quad espresso, 4 espresso shots you can bang down in no time for a kick up the pants and a fast pass for the toilets.

    I’d believe this would wake you up faster than drinking a Trenta of cold brew coffee would, but it depends what you’re in the mood for and if you need a buzz to get something done now or you’re trying to sustain yourself to keep working through the night.

    No matter what, if you want a strong coffee, an espresso is always going to be a good idea.

    And if you want an even stronger experience you can go for blonde roast which will add 40 mg of caffeine if you have 4 shots.

    8. Honey Almondmilk Nitro Cold Brew

    For some reason, this has 10% more caffeine than the unsweetened version does, and I’m not sure why, I don’t think almond milk would have caffeine, so maybe the honey syrup has it?


    Strange…

    Regardless this is a really tasty drink, nicely sweetened without going over the top and having a ton of sugar. Plus it’s strong as anything so will have you bouncing off the walls in no time.

    And if you want an unsweetened version you have…

    9. Nitro Cold Brew

    Have you always wanted to have a coffee that looks like Guinness? No? Me neither but here we are…

    But seriously, the Nitro cold brew is made in small batches and served by infusing it with nitrogen so it comes out a tap similar to a beer tap, this creates a sweeter flavor and gives it that Guinness look where the bubbles are cascading.

    And interestingly the Nitro Cold Brew isn’t served as a Venti not because it would be too strong to handle but because you don’t get the cascading bubble effect when you pour it.

    This is a shame because if you could get it as a venti it would have 350 mg of caffeine in it and be much higher up our list!

    A Cold Frothy Glass of Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

    10. Iced Coffee

    I am always surprised that the Iced Coffee at Starbucks isn’t simply their filter coffee pourer over ice. It is filter coffee poured over ice, with classic sugar syrup…

    So in the Trenta, you are getting 7 pumps of sugar syrup!

    But this isn’t looking at the Sweetest Starbucks drinks so I guess we’ll gloss over it for now…

    The extra sugar actually gives this more of a wake-up kick, it will lead to a bigger crash after but if you need the boost now and plan on riding the high while it’s there then you’re going to be onto a winner with this.

    You can also get it served with milk if you can’t handle the black coffee.

    11. Iced Caffè Mocha

    A hot chocolate served cold with 3 shots of espresso in it. Sounds like a good time to me!

    This is a perfect drink to ask for an extra espresso without it becoming too overpowering, a nice chocolaty boost but it’s served cold so that it doesn’t lull you off to sleep like a pleasant good night drink.

    And you still get more caffeine than you do in your average can of energy drink!

    Plus if you’re trying to pull an all-nighter this might be just the treat and pick me up that you need.

    12. Starbucks Reserve Dark Chocolate Mocha

    This is an interesting one because it’s one of the only hot drinks that comes as standard with 4 shots of espresso in a Venti, but it only has as much caffeine as 3 regular shots of the Starbucks espresso roast.

    That’s because while the Blonde roast has more caffeine the Starbucks Reserve Roast actually has less, but balances that with an extra shot and you’re off to the races.

    Not to mention the fact that dark chocolate is another excellent partner to coffee and put both of them inside a mocha and you’re on to a winner.

    This is what I look for when I’m in the mood for a sweet coffee, it was my halfway house when I was transforming myself into a coffee drinker so mochas will always be a favorite of mine.

    13. Iced Caramel Macchiato

    starbucks frappuccino vs cappuccino the differences

    The iced caramel Macchiato is stronger than a hot caramel macchiato because it’s made with 3 shots of espresso as a venti rather than 2.

    Which seems a little unusual, I know the cup’s bigger but I thought that was to accommodate the ice that goes in, so for the same volume of coffee, you’re getting an extra shot in it as standard.


    Strange right?

    Not that it really matters, all you need to know is that this is the stronger choice.

    14. Espresso Frappuccino® Blended Beverage

    a starbucks frappuchino on a wall

    Most of the Frappuccinos are surprisingly low in caffeine, relative to most of the other drinks, coming in at around 110-140 mg in a Venti.

    But what they lack in caffeine they sure as anything makes up for in sugar so if you find a frappuccino wakes you up more than a coffee does then this is definitely why.

    But you can get an Espresso version, and this is just the basic blended espresso made with the Frapp roast coffee so it isn’t overly sweetened compared to most of the other drinks.

    But you can just ask for an espresso in any normal Frapp drink and it will boost the caffeine and probably taste pretty good.

    Just don’t do it with the Frapp Creme, they are coffee-free and often flavored differently so an espresso shot will likely taste very strange.

    15. Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte

    This is here largely as a comparison, to show that all the basic espresso drinks barely make the cut in terms of caffeine because they’re all made with 2 espressos as a venti.

    You get a little extra boost if you go with the Blonde Roast but to get a real punch you’re going to want to ask for an extra espresso in it.

    And save your money because both the Grande and the Venti are made with 2 shots of espresso in them.

    So if you want a cappuccino or a latte that’s going to give you a buzz then get yourself a grande size and ask for an extra shot in it. Or go for a Venti and ask for 2 extra shots if you mean business!

    How To Make Your Starbucks Stronger

    Ask for an Extra Shot

    This is the simplest method you can use to get your coffee stronger, ask for an extra shot of espresso in it.

    More coffee = more caffeine!

    And if you’ve ordered a larger drink it doesn’t change the flavor too much if you’re trying to avoid black coffee. And you can even ask for an espresso in your filter coffee which is known as…

    Order a Red Eye Coffee


    Red-eye coffee is one hell of a creation. It’s when you order a filter coffee and ask for an espresso shot in it. Which if you order a Venti Blonde Roast will bring you to over 500mg of caffeine!

    Just be warned, that is some exceedingly strong coffee so make sure there’s a bathroom to hand!

    Definitely not the caffeine hit you want to keep you going in a marathon. But if you are a self-confessed “caffeine junkie” then it might be just the coffee you’re looking for.

    Go For Blonde Roast

    As I’ve said a few times the blonde roast is a lighter flavor (because it’s a light roast) but it has more caffeine in it, just a little over 10% more in this case but it can’t be denied it’s a stronger coffee.

    And it’s a delicious choice if you’re wanting a stronger coffee that still tastes really good, rather than a black coffee served in the dark at midnight.

    Grades of Coffee Roasting from White to Black

    Avoid Frappuccinos

    They provide a huge sugar hit but they just don’t cut the mustard in terms of caffeine, sure you get some but it’s not much more than having a couple of cans of Diet Coke.

    Ask For Your Espresso As a Long Shot

    It’s debatable as to what difference this will make, but you can usually ask for your espresso as an espresso or a long shot.

    Now a long shot means more water has been run through it to make it twice as big, which should result in more caffeine being present. But because the volume of coffee is twice as big there’s less room for milk or whatever is being added so it changes the drink completely.

    I’m also not sure how much extra caffeine this would produce but logically it should produce a little more.

    Keep this on the back burner for if things get desperate, or even just order a second coffee in an hour, it’d be much easier!

    F.A.Q

    Which Starbucks Refresher has the most caffeine?

    White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino Blended Beverage

    All the Starbucks Refreshers that get made that you can order as a Trenta size have 90mg of caffeine. So they are all as strong as each other.

    The only exception is the Blueberry Acai which is served in a can so only one size is available and it has 50mg of caffeine.

    Is Espresso stronger than coffee?

    In terms of pure volume yes espresso is stronger, but you can’t order a Venti espresso.


    So actually your regular filter coffee has more caffeine because you can order it as a bigger size. This was really surprising to me but that’s why I do so much research!

    What Is The Best Drink at Starbucks to wake you up?

    An espresso is the best choice at Starbucks if you need to wake up, it’s a quick blast of caffeine that zings you awake.

    Even though it doesn’t have as much caffeine as the filter coffee does, drinking it all at once has a different effect and wakes you up quicker. Perhaps downing a whole filter coffee would be even more effective but it doesn’t remotely sound enjoyable.

    What Is The Best Starbucks Drink To Keep You Awake

    This is where the filter coffee comes in.

    Filter coffee is the best Starbucks drink to keep you awake because it has the most caffeine and you can make it last longer so the caffeine keeps up over time.

    More caffeine will mean a bigger crash but if you need to wake up and stay awake it’s the best choice.

    Final Thoughts

    I’m still surprised that espresso wasn’t the top of the list, but it does explain why one of my friends at college would have to make a beeline for the toilets not long after we went to Starbucks. Because he would always order himself a Venti black coffee.

    I hope this has helped, and if you have any special order you like to make for a quick boost or that you think is the strongest Starbucks drink then please let me know in the comments below!

    Related Reading

    What are the Cup Sizes at Starbucks?
    21 Best Caffeine Free Starbucks Drinks (Ranked by Popularity)
    15 Sweetest Starbucks Drinks Ranked by Sugar Content
    Healthiest Low Calorie Starbucks Drinks Ranked + How To Order Them
    15 Healthiest Low Calorie Starbucks Drinks Ranked + How To Order Them
    15 Best Iced and Cold Starbucks Drinks Ranked
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    Kieran MacRae tried getting into wine but didn't like it, tried getting into whiskey and it was too expensive, then thought "I really love coffee. I wonder if you can get really into coffee?" Turns out you can!