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12 Best Espresso Drinks at Starbucks 

Starbucks is famous for its coffee, but many of their popular drinks are actually espresso based. There are a wide range of Starbucks espresso drinks to try, from the classic cappuccino to creative concoctions.

Starbucks coffee espresso

Coffee brings people together. Some like it plain black, while others love a little bit of spice.

Starbucks has grown to be one of America’s top producers of coffee and espresso drinks. You will find a Starbucks in most cities in America, meaning that satisfying your caffeine cravings is never too hard.

Seasonal favorites and everyday classics have kept Starbucks in business for over 50 years, meaning they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their drink formulas.

But what are the best Starbucks espresso drinks? I wanted to know the answer to this question, so I went on a coffee-tasting spree to rank my favorite Starbucks espressos!

Best Starbucks Espresso Drinks

Check out these popular espresso based drinks from Starbucks.


A classic Starbucks Cappuccino has 2% milk and regular foam, all steamed hot.

Two shots of their signature espresso roast are paired with steamed milk. The bottom layer is the espresso, with the milk on top.

It’s hard to mess up a Cappucino, but Starbucks definitely sets the bar for this classic coffee drink

I had my Cappuccino plain since I wanted to taste the roast espresso. The Cappuccino has a bold coffee flavor from the espresso, with a hint of sweetness from the milk.

The rich texture was my favorite part! This cup of coffee was dense but still lighter than a latte.

The cappuccino has a classic coffee flavor, making it ideal for those who love the taste of coffee beans.

Flat White

Next on my list is a Flat White from Starbucks. It’s a cup of steamed whole milk over two shots of signature espresso roast.

The Flat White has extra ristretto as well. Ristretto is much stronger than espresso. It is a more concentrated, sweeter shot than espresso and gives a bolder flavor to your cup of Joe. 

My favorite part about my Flat White from Starbucks was its texture. The velvety foam with rich espresso covered my mouth like a hug and went down very smoothly.

The whole milk balanced the bold ristretto perfectly. My Flat White had less of a milk taste and more of a coffee taste compared to a latte, which I enjoyed.

Peppermint Mocha

This drink is a wintertime favorite! A Starbucks Peppermint Mocha is a seasonal drink that comes out during the holiday season.

A Peppermint Mocha uses steamed 2% milk and two shots of signature espresso roast. Four pumps of peppermint syrup and four pumps of mocha sauce give the Peppermint Mocha its signature holiday flavor. 

My favorite part about the Peppermint Mocha was the peppermint flavor. It wasn’t overpowering and gave just the right amount of bite along with the espresso’s kick.

I wouldn’t pick it for an everyday drink, but it is a delicious and refreshing mocha to have around the holidays!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Another seasonal favorite is Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. This popular drink becomes a staple during autumn.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte uses steamed 2% milk and milk foam. Two shots of signature espresso roast and four pumps of pumpkin sauce give it the warm feel of autumn. The latte has pumpkin spice topping and whipped cream.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are one of Starbucks’ most popular fall drinks, and I can see why! The delicate flavor of espresso, milk, pumpkin, and sweet spices brings you autumn in a cup.

I like my coffee pretty plain, but I always have a pumpkin spice latte every year around the beginning of autumn and a couple throughout the season. 

Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso

While taking a break from hot drinks, I wanted to try the Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso! Just the name intrigued me.

The shaken espresso uses cold oat milk and three shots of espresso.  Four pumps of brown sugar syrup and cinnamon powder give it the right amount of sweetness.

Why is the espresso shaken? An Italian drink called shakerato inspires the shaken espresso.

Mixing the espresso fast causes dilution, cooling, and aeration which gives the coffee a smoother taste.

I loved this drink in September when it still felt like fall but heated up in the afternoon. It’s one of my favorite vegan drinks at Starbucks since it uses oat milk!

Caffe Americano

A Caffe Americano is a classic that is hard to mess up, and Starbucks is one of the best places you can find it.

A Caffe Americano uses three shots of signature espresso roast and hot water.

Normal brewed coffee infuses coffee beans with hot water, while an Americano uses shots of espresso and water, giving it a stronger, coffee-filled flavor. 

My Americano had a strong, richer flavor than Starbucks’ regular brewed coffee.

It was a good option for the mornings when I needed a pick-me-up without too much sugar! The strength of this drink is sure to wake you up, even on a Monday. 

Espresso Macchiato

Starbucks’ Espresso Macchiato is the perfect drink to order when you need a quick energy boost in the morning.

A dollop of 2% milk foam tops two shots of signature espresso roast. This 1.6 fl oz shot is a lot of character in a small cup, making it perfect when you need to down your drink before a morning meeting. 

Compared to a regular espresso shot, the Espresso Macchiato had a touch of sweetness and a creamier body from a dollop of steamed milk.

This was an excellent option for me because the bold taste of a straight espresso shot can be too much! However, the Espresso Macchiato shot was just right. 

Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso

Coming in hot (but not literally!) is the Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso.

This refreshing iced coffee has almond milk and 3 shots of Blonde Espresso Roast. Some chocolate malt powder gives the drink that beloved chocolate flavor.

There are times when I try to get off of dairy. While some people don’t like the taste of almond or oat milk as much as regular milk, I cannot tell that this drink features almond milk.

When I first tasted it, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t regular dairy! This is the best option for hot days when I am on one of my dairy-free Starbucks kicks.

Espresso Con Panna

I was super excited to try this one when I saw it on the menu! Little did I know that it would end up on my list of the best Starbucks espresso drinks!!

The Espresso Con Panna is a 1.5 fl oz shot of signature espresso roast topped with whipped cream. 

I thought the Espresso Con Panna was similar to the espresso macchiato. The difference between the two drinks is that the Espresso Con Panna has a dollop of whipped cream instead of 2% milk foam.

I loved both variations of espresso shots, but the light sweetness of the whipped cream in the Con Panna was for sure a winner. 

Apple Crisp Macchiato

The Apple Crisp Macchiato is another autumn favorite! It is not as popular as the Pumpkin Spice Latte, but it takes the cake for apple-flavored coffee drinks in my book!

Steamed oat milk and 2 shots of Blonde Espresso Roast are the base of this drink. The special touch comes from the three pumps of apple brown sugar and spiced apple drizzle on top.

It’s like an apple crisp in a cup! My Apple Crisp Macchiato was layered with flavors of apple, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon.

Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso Roast gave just the right amount of rich coffee flavor without being overpowering.

When I get tired of Pumpkin Spice Lattes this autumn, I am going to grab an Apple Crisp Macchiato!

Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte

I am normally not a fan of dirty chai. The spices from the tea mixed with coffee’s strong flavor are often overpowering, but the drink becomes weak if you try and dilute it.

Coffee and chai just don’t work well together, or so I thought. However, Starbucks’ Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte changed my view on dirty chai forever. 

Starbucks makes their Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte with cold 2% milk and their signature iced chai tea. Four pumps of chai give this coffee a spicy, refreshing sip.

It is still not my favorite drink, but this iced pick-me-up was perfect on a mild autumn day. I like the chai flavor much better in an iced drink than I do in a hot drink!

Caramel Macchiato

Coming in both iced and hot forms, the Caramel Macchiato comes in last, but not least, on my list of the best Starbucks espresso drinks.

It has 2% milk and 2 shots of espresso roast. Three pumps of vanilla syrup for a sweet ending, and the drizzle gives the slightest hint of delicious caramel!

I tried the iced version and the hot version. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better, so I added them both to the list!

Some days are iced coffee days, and other days are hot coffee days! Since it depends on the day for me, I thought both versions deserved to be on my list of favorites—you can never go wrong with a good Caramel Macchiato, hot or iced.

This is one of the most popular caramel drinks at Starbucks, which is a classic coffee flavoring!

Best Starbucks Espresso Drinks

  1. Cappuccino
  2. Flat White
  3. Peppermint Mocha
  4. Pumpkin Spice Latte
  5. Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso
  6. Caffe Americano
  7. Espresso Macchiato
  8. Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso
  9. Espresso Con Panna
  10. Apple Crisp Macchiato
  11. Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte
  12. Iced Caramel Macchiato/Caramel Macchiato

Final Thoughts

From humble beginnings, Starbucks has grown to be a superpower in the coffee world. It quickly became the most popular coffee house in the United States!

Returning seasonal favorites are now signs of the change in seasons, making Starbucks a favorite location all year round. Their coffee is delicious and you can find it almost anywhere you go. 

I loved tasting and ranking the best Starbucks espresso drinks. Each of these drinks is a winner in my book, so try all of these drinks and more! Share this list with your friends over a hot (or cold!) cup of America’s morning drink of choice.

Check out some of the most popular Starbucks drinks of all time!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.