Caffeine in Starbucks Coffee
How much caffeine is in Starbucks coffee? This question has certainly crossed the minds of many Starbucks customers in need of a caffeine pick-me-up.
One look at a morning Starbucks drive-thru line and it’s obvious, people are in need of caffeine as much as craving a tasty cup of joe.
It’s no secret, Starbucks coffee and caffeine go hand-in-hand.
But how much caffeine is actually in Starbucks coffee?
Well, it depends.
In fact, the caffeine content in a coffee drink at Starbucks depends on (1) the brewing method, (2) the drink size, and (3) the coffee roast.
RELATED: 19 Most Caffeinated Starbucks Drinks: Highest to Lowest
Starbucks Coffee Brewing Methods and Caffeine Content
The way coffee is brewed has a big impact on the amount of caffeine that’s extracted.
At Starbucks they use four different methods to brew coffee.
4 Ways Starbucks Brews Coffee
- Brewed Espresso
- Drip/Filter Coffee
- Iced Coffee
- Cold Brew Coffee
This is a quick brewing method.
Hot water is pulled through tightly-packed, finely-ground espresso beans.
Starbucks espresso shots are about .75 ounces each, but ounce-for-ounce, each shot is very strong, both in flavor and caffeine.
RELATED: Starbucks Espresso Shots: Sizes, Caffeine & Options
This type of brewed coffee is similar to what many people make at home.
Ground coffee beans are placed in a filter, hot water passes through, and brewed coffee slowly drips out.
This hot brewing method is what extracts caffeine from the coffee grounds.
Pike Place, is an example of a popular Starbucks drip coffee.
RELATED: Starbucks Pike Place Caffeine Content
Starbucks iced coffee is brewed exactly like filter coffee but with half the amount of water.
The hot concentrated coffee is poured into a pitcher full of ice. This cools down the iced coffee and makes it less concentrated.
RELATED: 12 Types of Starbucks Iced Coffee Drinks on the Menu
Cold Brew Coffee
Starbucks cold brew coffee drinks are made from coffee that’s brewed in room temperature water for about 20 hours.
Unlike espresso and drip coffee, cold brew coffee never comes in contact with heat.
When it comes to cold brew, time is what extracts flavor and caffeine, not heat.
RELATED: Starbucks Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew (Hint, They’re Different)
Which brewing method extracts the most caffeine at Starbucks?
Now that you see all the ways Starbucks brews coffee, you’re probably wondering which method produces the most caffeine.
When comparing the caffeine content for 1 fluid ounce of coffee for each of the four brewing methods, here’s how they rank.
|Brewing Method||Caffeine per Ounce|
|Espresso (dark roast)||100mg|
|Drip (dark roast)||16mg|
Starbucks Drink Sizes and Caffeine Content
Even though brewed espresso has the highest caffeine content per ounce, Starbucks espresso-based beverages actually have the least amount of caffeine when compared to the other types of brewed coffee drinks.
This is because only a small portion of the drink is actually espresso. The rest is syrup or sauce, and one of Starbucks milk options.
For instance, a hot caramel macchiato gets 1 or 2 shots of espresso, depending on drink size. At most, only 1.5 ounces of a 20 ounce beverage is espresso.
And an iced white mocha, is made with 1, 2 or 3 shots depending on the size ordered. At most, 2.25 ounces of a 24 ounce drink is espresso.
Bottom line, the caffeine content in a latte is way less than a cup of hot drip coffee, iced coffee or cold brew which is filled almost entirely with coffee.
Shots of Espresso in Each Size*
Here’s the number of brewed espresso shots that go in each size drink. For reference, each shot is approximately .75 ounces.
- Short (8 ounces): 1 shot
- Tall (12 ounces): 1 shot
- Grande (16 ounces): 2 shots
- Venti Hot (20 ounces): 2 shots
- Venti Iced (24 ounces): 3 shots
*Exceptions include Americanos and shaken espressos which get 1 more shot of espresso and flat whites which are made with less-caffeinated ristretto shots.
If you want to add more caffeine to a Starbucks espresso drink, order it with an additional shot.
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Caffeine Content per Drink Size
This chart shows how much caffeine is in each Starbucks coffee according to drink size and brewing method.
Notice, even though a shot of brewed espresso has more caffeine per ounce than other Starbucks coffees, handcrafted espresso beverages actually have the least caffeine.
Here’s a closer look at the strongest iced coffee at Starbucks.
|Caffeine in Starbucks Coffee||Short*||Tall||Grande||Venti||Trenta*|
|Nitro Cold Brew (has no ice)||n/a||215||280||n/a||n/a|
|Iced Espresso (dark)||n/a||75||150||225||n/a|
RELATED: All Starbucks Cup Sizes for Hot & Cold Drinks
Starbucks Coffee Roasts and Caffeine Content
The final factor that determines the amount of caffeine in a Starbucks coffee drink is the coffee roast or blend.
The rule of thumb is, the lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine content.
As far as iced coffee and cold brew coffee go, you don’t have a choice of roasts to pick from. That’s why the only way to get a decaf iced coffee at Starbucks is to order a decaf iced espresso beverage.
Caffeine in Starbucks Espresso Roasts
When it comes to espresso, Starbucks offers three roasts: signature espresso roast (dark), blonde espresso roast (light) and decaf espresso roast.
Starbucks signature dark roast is the basis of most of their espresso drinks, but it can be substituted with blonde or decaf.
|Starbucks Brewed Espresso||Per Shot|
|Signature Dark Roast||75|
Caffeine in Starbucks Drip Coffee Blends
Brewed coffee is available in four roasts: Starbucks Dark, Pike Place (medium roast), Veranda Blend (light roast) and decaf Pike Place.
|Starbucks Drip Coffee||Short||Tall||Grande||Venti|
|Pike Place (medium)||155||235||310||410|
RELATED: 6 Ways to Order Starbucks Decaf Coffee Drinks
Amount of Caffeine in Starbucks Coffee
In conclusion, the amount of caffeine in Starbucks coffee depends on three factors: brewing method, drink size and coffee roast.
How much caffeine is in Starbucks coffee?
Overall, Starbucks drip coffee has 130 to 475 milligrams of caffeine and espresso-based beverages range from 75 to 255 milligrams. Caffè Americano and iced shaken espressos are exceptions. Each gets more espresso and has up to 300 milligrams of caffeine in a venti. Depending on size, Starbucks iced coffee has 120 to 280 milligrams of caffeine and cold brew has 155 milligrams in a tall and up to 360 milligrams in a mega-size trenta.
The Starbucks roast with the most caffeine is blonde roast espresso or Veranda blend light roast brewed coffee.
The Starbucks coffee drink with the absolute most caffeine is a venti Veranda blend, hot-brewed drip coffee. It clocks in at 475 milligrams of caffeine!
The Starbucks coffee drink with the lowest caffeine content, is any short or tall dark roast espresso beverage that’s made with 1 shot of espresso. Options include a cappuccino, latte, macchiato and mocha. All have a total of 75 milligrams of caffeine.
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