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Guides & Tips | Blog

Best Hot drinks at Starbucks

While Starbucks drinks come in just about every format imaginable, from iced to hot to frozen to bottled, hot drinks are classic for the coffee chain. 

Whether you like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or cider, Starbucks’ selection of hot drinks has something for everyone. 

But if you’re overwhelmed at the choice, it’s good to have a starting point of the best options.

Read on to learn more!

hot drinks starbucks

Best Hot Drinks at Starbucks

The drinks on this list come from surveys and sales numbers, indicating the most popular choices by Starbucks patrons.

While some of our favorites are on the list, using the data for the most popular choices is as close to objective as possible, so you can choose from what people generally consider the top hot drinks at the global coffee chain.

1. White Chocolate Mocha

Popular both hot or over ice, Starbucks white chocolate mocha is a balanced, sweet option for both espresso newbies and longtime fans. 

The drink includes white chocolate sauce, espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream. But, of course, this is just the most basic version, and you can jazz things up easily from the standard white chocolate mocha.

If you want to avoid dairy, ask for your white chocolate mocha to be made with oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. 

You can also request nonfat milk and no whip to lower the fat or add other flavored syrups to make the flavor more complex. 

Popular extra syrups include raspberry and blackberry. You can request an extra espresso shot if you want a little more of a coffee kick.

2. Caramel Macchiato

Starbucks gets the credit for inventing–or at least, popularizing–the caramel macchiato, a take on the espresso macchiato, a popular Italian coffee drink. 

A Starbucks caramel macchiato gets vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and shots of espresso in that order so that the espresso marks the foam at the top (hence the name). Finally, it gets a caramel drizzle in a crosshatch pattern.

As with almost all Starbucks drinks, you can customize the milk choice on your caramel macchiato with almond milk, oat, coconut milk, or soy instead of dairy milk. 

You can also ask for your caramel macchiato “upside down,” with the espresso shots added with the syrup instead of after the milk. And yes. It will look picture perfect!

Lastly, you can swap out vanilla syrup for other flavors for a more complicated macchiato.

3. Blonde Vanilla Latte

This classic drink isn’t a Starbucks invention, but it does get a unique Starbucks twist with the blonde espresso.

The blonde vanilla latte features light roast espresso with vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and a little bit of foam at the top is a great introduction to Starbucks espresso versatility and options.

The blonde vanilla latte is sweet but not over-the-top and still full of coffee flavor.

Because this Starbucks menu item is so basic, the sky is the limit when it comes to customizing your blonde vanilla latte. 

You can switch out the milk, add whipped cream, or tweak the sweetness-to-coffee ratio by adding shots or subtracting them. 

Of course, you can add other syrups to deepen the flavor: a popular choice is a pump of hazelnut to make French vanilla.

Related Read: Blonde Roast Coffee

4. Americano

The Americano is an American espresso staple, named after American GIs who wanted their coffee a little less potent and more sippable than straight espresso.

The Starbucks Americano features shots of espresso and hot water, but you can make it more than that if you want to.

Some Americano fans add syrups to flavor their high-octane coffee, like caramel syrup or toffee nut syrup. 

If the flavor is still too strong for your taste, you can ask for one-shot less; on the other hand, if it’s not strong enough, you can ask for an extra shot or two. 

Some people even get their Americano with sweetened whipped cream.

5. Espresso Macchiato

Almost as simple as hot drinks get at Starbucks, the espresso macchiato was born in Italy and adapted to American tastes. 

The classic Starbucks recipe is a small amount of steamed milk, two scoops of milk foam, and espresso shots poured over top to stain the foam. “Macchiato” actually means “marked” or “stained,” so the name is appropriate.

The easiest way to customize this drink is by swapping out the milk or by changing the number of shots. 

The classic options are a solo macchiato or a doppio macchiato (single- or double-shot espresso). 

You can also request cinnamon powder on top or ask for sweeteners mixed into the small amount of milk before the foam and espresso go in.

6. Honey Flat White

A flat white is somewhere in between an espresso macchiato and a latte, with an equal proportion of coffee to milk. 

The most popular option at Starbucks is the honey flat white, made with a honey blend syrup, espresso, and steamed milk. 

You can get it with any milk of your choice. Most choose the honey almond flat white, made with Starbucks’ almond milk blend.

The honey almondmilk flat white still leaves plenty of room to customize, like every great Starbucks drink. 

Add some vanilla syrup for more depth of flavor and sweetness, or deviate from the honey almondmilk flat white with a different milk choice, or blend milks like almond and coconut.

7. Regular Cappuccino

The standard cappuccino still carries a lot of weight at Starbucks and is one of the canonical drinks that a barista has to learn to make perfectly before their training is complete. 

The ideal Starbucks cappuccino includes shots of espresso and 50% steamed milk, 50% hot milk foam. Since it’s such a blank canvas, you can customize it in many different ways.

Consider adding syrups if you want your cappuccino flavored and sweet; vanilla is a popular option, but some Starbucks regulars swear by a pump or two of bittersweet mocha sauce to heighten the experience. 

You can also request cinnamon powder on top for a traditional touch or additional shots for more caffeine. 

Feeling different? Request blonde espresso in place of the usual Starbucks espresso.

8. Cinnamon Dolce Latte

The cinnamon dolce latte quickly established itself as a classic on the Starbucks menu, available all year instead of the original seasonal offering it was intended to be. 

This Starbucks drink consists of cinnamon dolce syrup, espresso, milk, whipped cream, and cinnamon dolce sprinkles, which are a blend of cinnamon and superfine sugar.

The cinnamon dolce syrup that Starbucks uses is a starring ingredient in many Starbucks secret menu drinks, but the cinnamon dolce latte can take some custom adjustments as well. 

Some people like to add caramel or vanilla syrup to heighten the sweet, warm flavor of the cinnamon dolce latte, while others request whole milk. 

Others ask for no whipped cream or more cinnamon dolce sprinkles.

9. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Although this drink gets the most attention during the winter, Starbucks makes it available year-round.

It contains peppermint syrup, bittersweet mocha sauce, espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream. 

Starbucks adds an extra little touch during the winter holidays: red sprinkles on top of the whipped cream for a festive look.

Although the drink is already rich in flavor, you can still customize it, by changing up the milk you request or by altering the syrups. 

Some Starbucks fans like to add one or two pumps of vanilla to their peppermint hot chocolate to make it a little sweeter, while others ask for a mocha drizzle to deepen the chocolate flavor.

10. Peppermint Mocha

If you already like the caffe mocha but want to branch out a bit, the peppermint mocha is excellent among Starbucks drinks. 

It’s a relatively simple recipe for such a decadent drink: peppermint syrup and mocha sauce, with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream.

As with the peppermint hot chocolate, the peppermint mocha is pretty easy to customize. 

You can opt for nonfat milk and no whipped cream to get a less calorific version, or indulge your sweet tooth with extra pumps of syrup or mocha drizzle on top of your whipped cream. 

While most people think of this as a holiday drink, you can order it any time.

11. Toffee Nut Latte

The toffee nut latte is an old-school classic among Starbucks drinks, a favorite with a dedicated following. 

Available hot or cold, the original drink features toffee nut syrup, espresso, and steamed milk, with whipped cream optional but highly recommended. 

The toasted nuts flavor of the syrup marries beautifully with the coffee flavor, which explains the consistent love this gets among all the drinks at Starbucks.

You can jazz up your toffee nut latte by adding other flavors, such as cinnamon syrup, or by requesting caramel drizzle or mocha sauce! 

The drink is a versatile starting point towards making more complicated secret menu-style drinks to satisfy your sweet tooth or just give your basic latte game a little more flavor.

12. London Fog Tea Latte

If you want the satisfying creaminess of a latte with the satisfaction of hot tea, the London fog tea latte is a great option. 

This Starbucks drink consists of hot earl grey tea, vanilla syrup, and frothed milk for a complex, intriguing marriage of flavors. 

But just because it’s relatively complex at its base, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some more nuance.

The easiest way to tweak this drink at Starbucks is to change the milk selection, using coconutmilk blend or almond or soy milk for a different flavor. 

You can also swap out the vanilla for cinnamon syrup or other flavored syrups.

13. Molten Hot Chocolate

Presenting a decadent hot chocolate experience perfect for the end of winter, Starbucks molten hot chocolate generally appears around Valentine’s Day for a limited time only. 

This royal choice among Starbucks hot drinks features bittersweet chocolate sauce melted chocolate chips mixed with steamed milk and whipped cream before receiving an extra drizzle of chocolate.

You can cut the sweetness by adding espresso shots or reinforcing the decadence by adding syrups like cinnamon dolce or caramel or toffee nut to add an almond flavor and toasted nuts to your drink.

14. Honey Citrus Mint Tea

If you can’t decide between green tea and herbal tea, this complex and satisfying drink is an excellent choice to make. 

The honey citrus mint tea by Starbucks combines the Peach Tranquility herbal tea blend with Jade Citrus Mint green tea, steamed lemonade, and honey blend syrup to make one of the most intriguing hot drinks Starbucks has on offer.

You can customize this drink by swapping out the honey blend syrup for another choice–like Starbucks classic syrup, for a more neutral flavor–or by asking for it served as an iced tea. 

Whether hot or cold, the combination of dried fruit, herbs, mint, and tea with sweet-tart lemonade is a winner.

Related Read: Caffeine Free Starbucks Drinks

15. Chai Tea Latte

The Starbucks chai tea latte has been around for a long time and has a passionate following among patrons. 

The classic drink combines chai tea concentrate, hot water, and steamed milk for a rich, spicy take on chai tea that satisfies coffee lovers and tea fans alike.

There are a few key ways you can tweak your chai latte, including choosing different milk. 

Classically made with whole milk, Starbucks uses 2% as a default for the chai tea latte, but you can make things a bit more diet-friendly with nonfat milk or go dairy-free with almond, soy, oat, or coconutmilk blend. 

If you want extra caffeine, request a “dirty chai,” made with 1-2 shots of espresso.

You can also make your drink richer in flavor by asking for extra pumps of the chai tea latte syrup or by requesting no water be added. Some people also add other syrups, like pumpkin spice.

Wrapping Up

There is no shortage of options for hot drinks at Starbucks, and fan favorites abound. 

Whether you go for a pumpkin spice latte in the winter or a classic latte, you know exactly what Starbucks delivers regardless of which city you’re in. 

Hopefully, this list of the best hot drinks at Starbucks can help to steer you towards new flavors and experiences and even step beyond coffee beans to the tea and hot chocolate options!