Starbucks Coffee Guide: Cold Brew

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See everything there is to know about Starbucks cold brew coffee drinks with this helpful drink guide.
starbucks cold brew coffee

Starbucks Cold Brew

In 2015 Starbucks launched their line-up of cold brew coffee drinks. Ever since, Starbucks cold brew has been an extremely popular way to enjoy cold coffee.

Your order can be as simple as a delicious cup of cold brew over ice. Or you can turn it into a whole new drink with all Starbucks syrup, milk and cream options.

Now, you might think cold brew coffee is just for summer. But, that’s just not the case. In fact, Starbucks cold beverages make up 50% of their total sales.

I’m sure that’s why Starbucks seasonal cold brew coffee drinks are now a thing.

For instance, if pumpkin spice lattes are your go-to fall coffee of choice, you might want to try a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.

This last winter, a special cold brew even popped up on the holiday menu: Irish Cream Cold Brew.

And of course, Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew is by far one of the most popular beverages.

No matter the season, Starbucks has lots of cold brew drink options.

In this Starbucks Cold Brew Guide I show you all there is to know about ordering cold brew and nitro cold brew coffee.

Take a look and see not only how Starbucks make this rich and smooth cold coffee, but also all the types of cold brew available. In other words, here’s everything you need to know about Starbucks cold brew coffee.

Starbucks cold brew in cup with lid sitting on napkin.
Starbucks Cold Brew with Ice

How Starbucks Makes Cold Brew

Starbucks makes cold brew by steeping coffee in cool water. This mixture is steeped for 20 hours at room temperature.

The cold brew method is basically the opposite traditional iced coffee. To make typical iced coffee, double-strength coffee is brewed with hot water and then poured over ice.

Of course, Starbucks also has lots of iced espresso drinks. These specialty coffee drinks are combination of hot shots of espresso with cold milk or water, and ice.

In addition to the long steeping process, cold brew is made using Cold Brew Blend.

According to Starbucks, this blend “combines coffees from Latin American and Africa, and [was] specially designed by the Starbucks coffee team for this brewing method.” The result is a cold brew coffee that they describe as, “smooth and rich, [and] very refreshing with chocolate and light citrus notes.”

Sweet cream flowing into cup of cold brew.
Delicious Cold Brew with Sweet Cream

RELATED: Starbucks Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew (Hint, They’re Different)

Difference Between Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew

You may have noticed that Starbucks has two types of cold brew beverages: cold brew and nitro cold brew. Just so you know, they both use the same cold brew coffee recipe.

However, nitro cold brew goes a step further. It’s served from a tap which combines the cold brew with nitrogen gas.

As you can imagine, this on-tap cold coffee beverage has a head of foam, similar to beer. And all those tiny nitrogen bubbles injected into the drink create a really smooth texture.

Nitro cold brew is available at Starbucks corporate locations. Make a note, however, nitro cold brew isn’t in all licensed stores (Target, grocery stores, hotels, airports, etc).

Caffeine in Starbucks Cold Brew

Let’s talk caffeine. After all, caffeine is a big reason many of us grab a cup of coffee in the first place.

Did you know Starbucks cold brew contains more caffeine than their other iced coffee drinks? This is a result of the long brewing process.

As a matter of fact, cold brew makes the list of Starbucks most caffeinated drinks.

However, have you ever noticed that nitro cold brew drinks have more caffeine than regular cold brew? In fact, ounce-for-ounce, a nitro cold brew is the strongest iced coffee drink at Starbucks for the same size.

There’s a simple reason for this.

Cold brew is served with ice, nitro cold brew is not. In fact, ice would disturb the foamy head and break up the tiny nitrogen bubbles. Not to mention, the nitrogen gas chills down the cold brew.

Anyway, no ice means more coffee in the cup. More coffee means more caffeine. It’s as simple as that.

Starbucks cold brew with vanilla sweet cream and ice.
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a customer-favorite drink.

What’s in a Starbucks Cold Brew Drink

Starbucks has quite a few flavorful cold brew menu options. And newcomers are always making their way to Starbucks permanent menu.

Like most Starbucks drinks, the different flavors of cold brew come from syrup, milk, sweeteners and toppings.

And actually, many Starbucks cold brew drinks are topped with sweet cream cold foam.

Here’s a look at how you can customize a Starbucks cold brew coffee.

  • Cold Brew
  • Flavored Syrup (optional)
  • Sweet Cream or Milk (optional)
  • Cold Foam made from Sweet Cream or Milk (optional)
  • Flavored Cold Foam (optional)
  • Ice (for regular cold brew, not nitro)
vanilla sweet cream cold brew coffee from starbucks
Starbucks cold brew in cup with strawless lid.

Cold Brew Coffee Menu

Each of the following Starbucks cold brew coffees is also available as nitro cold brew.

  • Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee
  • Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee with Milk
  • Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew
  • Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew
  • Irish Cream Cold Brew (seasonal)
  • Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew
  • Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
  • Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew (seasonal)
  • Cold Brew with Cinnamon Almondmilk Foam (no longer on menu, but still can order)
  • Cold Brew with Cinnamon Oatmilk Foam (no longer on menu, but still can order)
  • Cold Brew with Dark Cocoa Almondmilk Foam (no longer on menu, but still can order)
creamy cold brew coffee

How to Customize Cold Brew

When it comes to ordering cold brew, if you don’t see an exact flavor you want, you can always customize your drink. Here are three tips for customizing cold brew.

1. Select a Syrup

Add a flavored simple syrup to cold brew and nitro cold brew. Starbucks has a wide variety of syrups, so feel free to swap out vanilla for sugar-free vanilla or switch caramel for cinnamon dolce. It’s all up to you.

2. Mix in Milk

If you want a little milk mixed in cold brew, I suggest getting a regular cold brew, not nitro. This is because the milk will break up all the tiny nitro bubbles.

Of course, Starbucks has plenty of dairy on plant-based milk options. So go ahead and select your favorite.

Additionally, Starbucks created vanilla sweet cream for its cold brew drinks and customers love it. Vanilla sweet cream combines vanilla, milk and heavy cream and is the perfect addition to a cup of cold brew on ice.

3. Top it with Cold Foam

Cold foam is perhaps the most popular way to enjoy cold brew coffee with milk.

In a nutshell, Starbucks cold foam is a cloud of blended milk that’s layered on top of cold brew. Cold foam can be made from any type of milk , but vanilla sweet cream cold foam, almondmilk cold foam and oatmilk cold foam are popular selections.

But would it be Starbucks if we stopped there? Of course not. Cold foam can be topped with sprinkles of cinnamon, cocoa powder and more.