You see the drink everywhere. But cold brew coffee still remains a mystery for many people. After all, the phrase ‘cold brew’ isn’t that specific, and may bring to your mind conflicting ideas.
Did the barista just let the coffee get cold? Is it plain iced coffee? Or is it a whole different method of brewing coffee?
While cold brew coffee is a bit of a mystery for many, it’s a delicious mystery. Cold-brew is way more than just a hot coffee that cooled down too much.
There’s an art to brewing the right cold brew, and it requires the right ground coffee, the perfect recipes, and enough time.
At Starbucks, you can order a whole menu of cold brew coffee drinks to beat the heat. Here are our favorites to guide you to your favorite cold or iced coffee combination.
Types of Cold Brew at Starbucks
On their menu, Starbucks puts cold brew coffee in the general category of cold coffee. It does break down that cold drink category a step further.
Within that cold category, you can choose from regular cold brew, nitro cold brew, or other cold coffees like Starbucks iced coffee drinks.
Let’s quickly talk about Starbucks iced coffee drinks. Iced coffee is coffee that is brewed in the normal fashion. Then the barista adds ice.
It’s simple: hot brewed coffee gets a dose of ice to cool it down and make it into a refreshing drink people crave in the hot weather. But don’t let cold weather stop you; iced coffee drinks taste good even when it’s snowing outside.
Along the same lines, you can also order an iced espresso. Again, it’s brewed in the normal espresso fashion. Then the barista adds ice, making it into an iced espresso.
Now let’s move our gaze over the Starbucks menu to the cold brew options. You’ll see that there are two basic types of cold brew at Starbucks. Of course, we haven’t yet delved into all the flavor additions, but we’ll get to them in a minute.
Those two basic categories of Starbucks cold brew are:
- Starbucks Cold Brew
- Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew
What’s the difference between these two? What is cold brew, and why does it need its own section on the menu? And how does it become a nitro option?
Different from classic iced coffee or iced espresso drinks, cold brew is made when coffee grounds are steeped at room temperature for long periods of time.
At Starbucks, they let their cold brew steep for a full 20 hours in (you guessed it) cool water, not hot. That creates a smooth drink with reduced acidity that pairs well with lots of different flavors. This steeping method also enhances the sweetness of the coffee.
What’s not to like with that combination of a sweeter brew and reduced acidity? Additionally, the drinks get a dose of ice, making these Starbucks iced coffee drinks great beverages as the weather turns hot.
Even in cold weather, these iced coffee drinks are great after a workout, long bike ride, or to renew your energy after a tiring hike.
But what about the Starbucks nitro cold brew?
The coffee becomes a nitro cold brew when your barista adds nitrogen gas after it’s brewed. The nitrogen can be nitrous oxide gas or pure nitrogen gas, and Starbucks uses the latter.
Why add nitrogen gas to coffee?
Because the abundance of bubbles, which don’t immediately dissolve in the drink, give the Starbucks nitro cold brew an artistic cascading look, a foamy head like beer, and a velvety mouthfeel.
It even adds a touch of sweetness without adding calories. Nitro adds a touch of elegance that people find irresistible.
Now that you understand the differences between cold brew and nitro cold brew, let’s get to my list of the top cold brew favorites at Starbucks.
Best Starbucks Cold Brew Drinks 2023
1. Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew
In this drink, iced cold brew gives you double the refreshment.
The coffee is brewed cold and then iced. A touch of sweet honey syrup compliments the smooth flavor of the iced coffee, while the sweet almond milk swirls down the dark brew.
The Grande size has 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar, with minimal fat coming from the almondmilk blend that Starbucks uses.
Related Read: No Dairy Starbucks Drinks
2. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
Vanilla sweet cream floats down through this dark brew in a swirling work of art. They add a touch of vanilla to the coffee and top it with vanilla cream.
That gives you a sweet cream cold brew that’s smooth, delicious, and creamy.
Served over ice, the Grande size of this cold brew has 110 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fat. Not bad for an iced coffee that’s so refreshing, sweet, and satisfying.
3. Chocolate Cream Cold Brew
Ready for a chocolate lover’s dream come true?
This icy cold brew is dosed with two pumps of vanilla syrup that give it a sweet boost. Then it’s topped with chocolate cream foam. This silky chocolate touch makes it into a cream cold brew that’s more of a dessert.
That’s why the Grande size weighs in at 250 calories, 28 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of fat. But there’s no remorse when it tastes so good. Right?
Related Read: Starbucks Chocolate Coffee
4. Starbucks Reserve Nitro Cold Brew
Now we’ll start talking about Starbucks nitro cold brew coffees with this first nitro choice on our list.
The Starbucks Reserve Cold brew gets infused with nitrogen. The cascade effect of the nitrogen bubbles filling the drink is gorgeous to look at. But this Starbucks nitro cold brew is more than a visual display.
The nitro gives you a creamy mouthfeel, like sweet velvet. And it adds no fat and no sugar. It’s the ultimate refreshing diet companion.
That’s why the Grande size of this Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew has just 5 calories while giving you a bold yet smooth taste.
5. Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew
One of my personal favorites, this savory yet sweet (and refreshing) drink is a staple on Starbucks menus.
Cold coffee gets two pumps of vanilla syrup, ice, and a topping of Salted Caramel cream cold foam. It’s savory, it’s sweet, and it’s entirely satisfying. Of course, just the name of this drink tells you there will be calories and fat involved.
The Grande size gives you 220 calories, 24 grams of sugar, and a whopping 13 grams of fat. Is it worth it? I’ll let you decide.
6. Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew
After talking about the rich dessert-like Salted Caramel and Chocolate cold brews, this Starbucks cold brew coffee can seem simple.
But when you’re looking for straightforward, low-cal cold brew drinks that let you revel in the pure flavors of cold brew, this is the iced coffee for you.
The Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew is smooth yet has enough complexity due to the 20-hour steep time. It’s sweet with no additions of sugar, and it has no fat.
At just 5 calories, it’s a guilt-free way to enjoy a sweet coffee drink.
7. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew
Revel in the milky appearance of the swirling nitro as it mixes with the vanilla sweet cream.
Served from the tap, the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew with nitro gets a delicious addition of vanilla sweet cream for even more texture.
The Grande size has just 70 calories, which is a low number for most Starbucks drinks. It does have 4 grams of sugar from the sweetness in the sweet cream, as well as 5 grams of fat.
8. Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee with Milk
Keep it simple and truly revel in the flavors of cold coffees with this simpler drink, with just milk added. The long steep time that Starbucks uses for their brew makes it sweet.
This drink is just coffee, ice and milk. Refreshingly simple, the Grande size has a minimal 35 calories, 3 grams of sugar, and just 1.5 grams of fat that come from the milk.
9. Nitro Cold Brew
After slowly steeping the coffee for 20 hours, the barista gives it a hit of nitrogen that leaves you with a sweet impression.
Enjoy the cascading look of this nitro cold brew as the nitro bubbles expand throughout your drink.
The Grande size of this nitro cold brew has a measly 5 calories. With no sugar and no fat, this nitro cold brew drink is an astonishingly creamy treat.
Cold Brew Customization at Starbucks
Customizations are what Starbucks is all about. If you want to customize your Starbucks iced coffee drinks, you have four main ways.
Add cold foam
At Starbucks, you have plenty of foam additions to choose from.
The best ones are chocolate cream, salted caramel, and vanilla sweet cream. In my opinion, foam works way better in iced coffee than whipped cream. And you can add their foam to any cold drink.
Related Read: Cold Foam Drinks At Starbucks
Which are the best syrups for cold brew coffees?
The good thing about this brew is that it goes with nearly anything. And Starbucks certainly has options. For comforting notes, try out vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, or Cinnamon Dolce. For a roasted nut taste, add hazelnut, toasted vanilla, or toffee nut.
If you want an eye-opening zing, add raspberry syrup. If you need to go sugar-free, they have a vanilla syrup with no sugar. And if you want to give your coffee the feel of a dessert, add Irish cream syrup.
To order syrup, keep in mind they are measured out by the pumps. If you’re hankering for Irish cream, for instance, you can order two pumps of Irish Cream Syrup.
Order different milk products
Cold brews go well with any kind of milk.
At Starbucks you can get a variety of milk products, both dairy and non-dairy. Try out milk, cream, or half and half.
For non-dairy options, choose from almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or oat milk. Keep in mind that their milks from almond, soy, and oats are house blends.
Add Your Powder Sprinkle
Get a dash of cinnamon on top of your cold or iced coffee. This powder is especially good if you ordered your brew with cold foam.
You can often make any iced coffee variation into cold brews. What’s the difference? Instead of serving you iced coffee, they swap it out for a cold brew.
You can order, for instance, an Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte but convince your barista to serve it with cold brew instead of espresso.
How to Order Cold Brew at Starbucks
When you order your favorite Starbucks iced coffee drinks, there are a few details you should decide on before you’re face to face with the cashier.
They basically have to do with the type of drink, the size, and any additions such as syrups, foam, milk, and toppings. Let’s break down each of those options.
Take In Or Take Out?
Start with the basic but vital choice of where you want to drink your beverage. Do you want to consume your beverage in the store or take it out? This is the easiest decision to make.
Nitro Cold Brew Or Regular?
Figure out if you want nitro cold brew or regular cold brew. Remember, nitro cold brew is going to give you the extra mouthfeel, almost like a beer. If you just want a straightforward, refreshing cold drink, go with regular cold brew.
Pick your Starbucks cup size. For cold brew drinks, these are the Starbucks cup sizes:
- Short: 8 ounces
- Tall: 12 ounces
- Grande: 16 ounces
- Venti: 24 ounces
- Trenta: 30 ounces
Make It Sweeter?
Request any syrups you want to add, or swap out one syrup for another. You have quite a choice here, so deciding in advance is a good idea.
Pick Your Milk
State which type of milk you want, if the drink contains milk (or if you want it in there!).
For instance, a drink might come with Starbucks’ almondmilk blend, but you can change it up for oat milk or eliminate the milk altogether.
Add toppings to your drink, such as cold foam or powder, to finish off your beverage.
Now you just have to wait for your barista to create your dream drink and enjoy your favorite cold coffee!
Iced coffee drinks are popular before, during, or after a hike, workout session, or bike ride to keep your energy levels high. But you don’t have to wait for a special moment or time of day to sip on a delicious cold brew.