Espresso Drinks at Starbucks
From lattes, to macchiatos, flat whites and cappuccinos, Starbucks espresso drinks can be confusing. So let’s get back to the basics.
If you’re new to coffee, Starbucks, or just aren’t sure what espresso drink to order, this guide is for you.
Here, I show you every foundational espresso drink you can get at Starbucks, what’s in each drink, the order the components go in the cup, and any special drink-making techniques used.
Starbucks Lingo: Every Term Explained
What Starbucks drinks have espresso?
Starbucks has nine basic types of espresso drinks on the menu that contain just espresso, or a combination of espresso and milk. The Caffè Mocha and Caramel Macchiato have flavored syrup and sauce added in, as well. With the exception of a cappuccino, Starbucks espresso drinks are available hot or iced.
- Doppio (shots of espresso)
- Caffè Americano
- Espresso Macchiato
- Espresso con Panna
- Flat White
- Caffè Latte
- Caffè Mocha
- Caramel Macchiato
RELATED STARBUCKS DRINK GUIDES
–Starbucks Espresso Shots: Sizes, Caffeine & Options
–All Starbucks Cup Sizes for Hot & Cold Drinks
Features of Every Starbucks Espresso Drink on the Menu
Have you ever wondered how a latte is different from a macchiato or if a flat white really tastes different than a latte?
From bold to creamy, here’s a list of all the basic types of espresso drinks you can order from Starbucks. See key features for each drink, such as ratio of espresso to milk, milk steaming method used, amount of foam, type of shots, and the order each ingredient goes into the cup.
Two Shots of Espresso
The Doppio is the most basic of all Starbucks espresso drinks with two shots of espresso. Plain and simple.
Like all espresso beverages you can select the roast: dark, light or decaf.
Straight espresso shots come in the following sizes: solo (.75 fl. oz.), doppio (1.5 fl. oz.), triple (2.25 fl. oz.) and quad (3.0 fl. oz.).
Key Features of Espresso Shots at Starbucks:
Espresso shots come in four sizes at Starbucks and are available in three types of espresso beans.
RELATED: 17 Cheapest Starbucks Drinks on the Menu (No Hacks)
Brewed Espresso + Filtered Water
A Starbucks Caffe Americano is espresso combined with filtered water with a light layer of crema on top. It’s served black, but you can add in milk and sweetener if desired.
This basic espresso beverage is an excellent alternative to a cup of brewed coffee. The caffeine content in a Starbucks Americano is also higher than many other espresso drinks.
And since there’s not decaf iced coffee at Starbucks, a decaf Iced Caffe Americano is a great option.
Key Features of Starbucks Caffe Americano:
– A Caffe Americano is a black espresso beverage that’s like a bolder version of a brewed coffee.
– An Americano has one more shot of espresso compared to other Starbucks espresso drinks of the same size.
RELATED: 19 Most Caffeinated Starbucks Drinks: Highest to Lowest
Brewed Espresso + 2% Milk
An espresso macchiato is simply shots of rich espresso marked with a dollop of steamed milk. Macchiato means marked, and in this case, milk foam marks the espresso.
An Espresso Macchiato is available in solo, doppio, triple or quad sizes.
Key Features of an Espresso Macchiato at Starbucks:
– An Espresso Macchiato at Starbucks is a milk and espresso beverage comparable to a true European macchiato.
– Espresso is poured into cup first and marked with steamed milk foam.
Espresso con Panna
Brewed Espresso + Whipped Cream
An espresso con panna is espresso shots with a small dollop of whipped cream on top. Starbucks sweet vanilla whipped cream perfectly balances the espresso’s bold flavors.
An Espresso con Panna is available in solo, doppio, triple or quad sizes.
Key Features of an Espresso con Panna at Starbucks:
– If you want straight espresso with just a touch of cream, this is the drink to get.
– Starbucks whipped cream is sweetened with vanilla syrup which balances the bold espresso.
RELATED: Easy & Delicious Espresso con Panna
Ristretto Espresso Shots + Whole Milk
A Starbucks Flat White is sweet ristretto shots finished with steamed whole milk. It’s not too strong and not too creamy. A well-made flat white has a dot of foam on top.
Key Features of a Starbucks Flat White:
– A Starbucks Flat White is made with whole milk, whereas the standard for most other espresso beverages is 2% milk.
– Starbucks baristas pull more concentrated, but less-caffeinated ristretto shots for flat whites.
– Flat Whites get one more shot of espresso than other Starbucks espresso beverages of equal size.
Brewed Espresso + Steamed 2% Milk with deep layer of foam
A Starbucks cappuccino is dark espresso topped with a deep and airy layer of foam.
What sets a cappuccino apart from other espresso beverages is the foam layer. To create the perfect cappuccino microfoam, Starbucks baristas steam and aerate the milk stretching it so that the milk doubles in volume.
Key Features of a Starbucks Cappuccino:
– Like all cappuccinos, a Starbucks Cappuccino has a very thick layer of foam on top, almost filling half the cup.
– If aerated properly, a cappuccino has a distinctively lighter feel compared to other milk espresso drinks.
Brewed Espresso + 2% Milk with Light Layer of Foam
A Starbucks Caffe Latte is espresso shots combined with steamed milk and a light layer of foam on top. This beverage is the basis for all types of flavorful Starbucks lattes.
With the addition of syrup and perhaps whipped cream, a Caffe Latte is transformed into everyday favorites like a vanilla latte, or popular seasonal drinks like a Pumpkin Spice Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte or Caramel Brulee Latte.
Key Features of a Starbucks Caffe Latte:
– Starbucks lattes are the milkiest espresso drinks on the menu where milk fills the remaining portion of the cup after the espresso with only a small layer of foam on top.
– Starbucks Caffe Latte can be made into a wide variety of latte beverages with flavored syrups, sauces and toppings.
RELATED: Starbucks Coffee Guide: Lattes
Espresso + Mocha Sauce + 2% Milk + Whipped Cream
Starbucks Caffe Mocha combines a layer of bittersweet chocolate sauce, rich espresso and steamed milk. It’s topped with a generous swirl of whipped cream. You can think of it as a hot chocolate with espresso in it.
Key Features of a Caffe Mocha at Starbucks:
– This milk espresso beverage adds in creamy mocha sauce with a topping of whipped cream.
– For a variety of flavors, Starbucks has white mocha sauce, too. Toasted white mocha sauce is usually available on during the holiday season.
RELATED: Starbucks Coffee Guide: Mochas; 21 Starbucks Chocolate Drinks: Menu Favorites & More
Vanilla Syrup + 2% Milk with light layer of foam + Espresso + Caramel Sauce
While a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is beyond a basic espresso beverage, it’s worth mentioning because it’s such a popular caramel drink at Starbucks and because it’s not really a macchiato. Confusing, I know.
A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is basically an upside down latte. The proportions of the espresso, milk and foam are like a latte but the milk goes into the cup first and is marked with the espresso.
Additionally, a caramel macchiato is flavored with vanilla syrup and topped with creamy caramel sauce.
Key Features of a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato:
– A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is not a traditional macchiato where the milk marks the espresso.
– For a Caramel Macchiato, the milk goes in the cup first and is marked with espresso, but you can order it upside down.
– The ratio of milk and foam to espresso is similar to a Caffe Latte.
RELATED: Guide to Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Drinks, Iced and Hot
Questions You May Have
An Espresso Macchiato is a classic coffeehouse beverage where shots of espresso are marked on top with little bit of steamed milk and foam. On the other hand, a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato begins with vanilla flavored steamed milk which is marked on top with espresso shots followed by caramel drizzle.
The boldest, most-caffeinated espresso drink you can get at Starbucks is a 3 fl. oz. Quad which is four shots of straight espresso. A dark roast Quad is contains approximately 300 mg of caffeine and a blonde roast Quad has about 340 mg of caffeine. Decaf espresso is also available.