As someone who travels frequently and just frankly has a serious caffeine addiction, I’m always on the hunt for which Starbucks drinks have the most caffeine. 

I was misled a few times, but after becoming a Starbucks barista, I learned quite a bit about the strongest drinks the chain has to offer. 

When I'm hanging by a thread and need a miracle to get through the day, I have an arsenal of about 20 drinks that I know will have my back. 

These drinks certainly pack a punch in the best of ways, from the extra-bold to nice and sweet. 

This list has been compiled by the level of caffeine in the 'most ordered' versions of the drink. The caffeine content may differ, based on the size of the coffee drink.  

1. Blonde Roast Espresso Beans 

Starbucks Blonde Roast Americano

On my first day as a barista, I vividly remember my trainer informing me that light roasts actually contained more caffeine than dark roasts!

It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Dark roasts may taste bolder, but they don’t equate to a  ‘stronger’ coffee.   

I always skimmed right past the Blonde Roast option at Starbucks, as I’d made the mistake in thinking darker equaled stronger, myself. 

The Blonde Roast is Sbux's version of a light roast, roasted at lower temperatures for less time.[1] 

Lighter roasts contain more caffeine because the moisture and oils are retained, meaning you'll get more caffeine in the espresso shots.  

A doppio blonde espresso (made with two espresso shots) has 170 mg of caffeine, compared to their signature roast, which contains 150mg. 

With notes of lemon and fruity undertones, I love pairing it with the Lemon Loaf or a croissant.

2. True North Blonde Roast Filter Coffee 

Starbucks True North Brewed Coffee

Known as the popular ‘Veranda’ outside of Canada, the True North Blonde Roast Filter Coffee is the strongest beverage you can get at Starbucks.

It may be smooth and mellow in flavor, but it’s definitely not lacking in caffeine content. In fact, baristas often use a smaller scoop of beans because of their strength when brewed. 

Starbucks' nutritional information website does indeed confirm that you’ll get 475 mg of caffeine in a venti size.   

This is one of the most popular hot drinks on Starbucks menu, not only due to its tangy citrusy notes, but to the energy burst it provides. 

3. Starbucks Clover Brewed Coffee 

Starbucks Reserve Jamaican Blue Mountain Clover Brewed Coffee

Clover coffee machines use a unique kind of immersion brewing to eliminate batch brewing and create an intense, full-bodied cup of coffee.

A Clover brewed coffee is only available in stores that have the Clover machine, though they’ve recently made a big comeback. 

This machine is bringing back handcrafted coffee drinks, with precise control over every aspect.

What I love about this, is I can specifically request to have a stronger brew, and the barista will do it. 

The Clover brewed coffee is available in dark roast, medium roast, and light roasts, with the levels of caffeine ranging from lower to higher, respectively.

  • Dark Roast: 425mg 
  • Medium Roast: 445mg 
  • Light Roast: 475mg 

4. Iced Shaken Espresso (Doubleshot On Ice) 

Starbucks Iced Oat Milk Shaken Espresso

Originally named Doubleshot on Ice, it was renamed because the confusion to customers and baristas alike thinking it only included 2 shots, when it was actually 5 (for a Venti).  

This simple yet effective drink is strong, with a hint of sweetness and creaminess. 

The espresso shots are poured over ice, shaken, and then poured into more ice and topped with milk and syrups. 

Containing up to 375 mg of caffeine, it’s strong and highly-customizable. 

Tips from a Barista: 
  • To make it even tastier, I like adding a pump or 2 of vanilla syrup or brown sugar cinnamon syrup instead of the classic (simple) syrup. 
  • Instead of the default Signature Espresso Roast, switch it out for Blonde Espresso Roast. 

5. Blonde Caffè Americano 

Starbucks Blonde Caffe Americano

Americanos are already known for being strong, but it has even more of a kick when made with Blonde espresso!  

A Blonde Caffè Americano boasts up to 340mg of caffeine, and I love how much I can customize it. 

Add an extra shot of espresso, and it’ll taste more robust, due to the espresso replacing some of the water. 

What I love about adding a shot, is that the blonde roast is still smooth enough that it isn’t unbearably bold or bitter. 

Tips from a Barista: 
  • Caffè Americano without water is amazing with blonde roast. It’s still very palatable and you’ll maximize caffeine content!

6. Iced Brown Sugar Oat Shaken Espresso 

Starbucks Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Every sip of the luxurious Iced Brown Sugar Oat Shaken Espresso provides a straight supply of caffeine and caramelized sweetness.

This vegan friendly Starbucks drink features 4 shots of blonde espresso, 6 pumps of brown sugar syrup, and is topped with oat milk

Creamy oat milk complements both the flavor and texture of espresso, containing a whopping 340 mg of caffeine for a Venti. 

I love this one as a midday treat to give me the energy I need to get through the afternoon slump. 

Ask for half the amount of oat milk for a more robust taste and more caffeine. 

Tips from a Barista: 
  • For more caffeine and less sweetness, ask for it with ristretto blonde shots and a splash of sweet cream. 
  • Add a pump or two of white mocha for a creamier drink without compromising the amount of caffeine. 

7. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew 

Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

With aesthetic appeal and smooth flavor, the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is one of my favorites when I want something “softer” in taste but still provides a high-octane boost of energy. 

Sometimes, I prefer something with really low acidity and sourness. 

This Starbucks cold brew is perfect, as it’s easy on the stomach, full of caffeine (320mg for venti), and balances the sweet creaminess with bold espresso very well. [2]

The first time I tried it, it was surprisingly bitter until I actually shook the drink, so it’s important never to forget that part! 

The Vanilla Sweet Cream Starbucks Cold Brew is made as standard and is then topped off with vanilla syrup and vanilla sweet cream, cold foam, or cascara cold foam. 

8. Pike Place Filter Coffee 

Starbucks Pike Place Brewed Coffee

Filter coffee, aka ‘brewed coffee’ in the US, has a surprising amount of caffeine!

I was always under the impression that a drink like the Americano had more per volume, but I was proven wrong. 

Pike Place is a medium-roast coffee that is very easy to drink for me, but I know that’s perhaps a controversial take. 

The smooth, rich roast has been around for about 15 years now and I’ve ordered it innumerable times.

Not to mention, I love knowing that I can get up to 410 mg of caffeine per Venti, no matter where I am in the world. 

Tips from a Barista: 
  • Ask for a ‘Red Eye’ for a much stronger cup! This drink is drip coffee plus double shots of espresso and 1/2 cup of the milk or cream of your choice! It’s ultra-invigorating, but the inclusion of milk reels in the bitterness. 

9. Cold Brew Coffee 

Starbucks Cold Brew

I’m a fan of pretty much all of Starbucks cold brews, but sometimes I can do without the extra sugary syrups.

Starbucks cold brew coffee drinks are made different from the rest of their coffee, as it’s brewed for longer. 

In order to retain the same flavor found in brewed coffee, the coffee beans are steeped for anywhere from 8-20 hours. 

Their classic Cold Brew Coffee is made with a darker roast, with layered cocoa and nutty flavors. 

If I’m on keto or simply watching my calorie intake, this 360-mg powerhouse is at the top of my list.
Tips from a Barista: 
  • When I’d like to add a splash of coconut milk and 1 pump of white chocolate sauce. 

10. Iced Caffè Americano 

Starbucks Iced Caffe Americano

Simple yet never overrated, the Iced Americano originated in WWII when American soldiers in Italy would water down the strong espresso shots they were served.

They provide a strong caffeine kick, without any of the fluff.

Iced Americanos have saved my sanity a time or two, and I find it brings out the Starbucks espresso flavor even more than hot Americanos.

Not only that, but they make for a great summertime drink - it’s thirst-quenching but still espresso. 

Starbucks tends to use more shots of coffee in their iced drinks, which means the iced Americano has a more intense flavor.

Because of the extra shots, an Iced Americano packs 300 mg of caffeine. 

11. Nitro Cold Brew 

Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew

The Nitro Cold Brew became practically an overnight sensation, and when I tried it, I understood why.

It reminds me of a Guinness with its velvety smooth texture, robust taste, and its mood-boosting properties. 

This slick cold brew isn’t served any higher than a grande (280 mg of caffeine), though I’ve opted to get it in a pint glass when enjoying it at the cafe.  

Infused with nitrogen, the nitro cold brew is served through a tap and notably sweeter and smoother than a ‘regular’ cold brew. 

12. Nitro Cold Brew With Dark Cocoa Almond Milk Foam

Starbucks Nitro cold brew with Dark Cocoa and Almond Milk Foam

I’m a huge fan of nut milks with the Nitro Cold Brew.

They just seem to meld seamlessly with the velvety texture, and bring out the natural nutty flavors of the brew, itself.

The Nitro Cold Brew with Dark Cocoa Almond Milk Foam is made with the regular Nitro Cold Brew and cold foam made with almond milk and 2 pumps of mocha.  

The result is a buttery, almost cozy taste when combined with the rich cold brew clocking in at 280 mg of caffeine

13. Iced Caffè Mocha 

Starbucks Iced Caffe Mocha

The first time I tried a mocha, I couldn’t believe how well the rich chocolate and bitter espresso flavors went together. 

It's made with espresso, chocolate malt powder, milk, and it then topped with whipped cream. 

To be honest, I have never really ordered a mocha with the intention of receiving an energy boost, but I think the combination of 265 mg of caffeine and the sugar certainly make it easier to get through my to-do list! 

While the Starbucks Mocha comes in hot, frappucino, and iced, I prefer the latter. 

It kind of tastes like a rich chocolate milk for adults (although whipped cream and cold foam are always welcome additions). 

14. Iced Coffee 

Starbucks Iced Coffee

The Starbucks Iced Coffee kind of reminds me of a refreshing glass of cola, which I know may sound weird.

Rather than espresso, Starbucks mixes their iced coffee blend (filtered) brewed double-strength to keep the flavor from diluting. I was surprised that it was quite sweet, seeing as they add 6 pumps of Classic Syrup in a Venti. 

However, for those who aren’t too keen on the strong espresso flavor of an Americano, it’s a fantastic alternative. 

Their largest variation of this (Trenta) gives you 235mg of caffeine content and several pumps of sugar syrup. 

I’ve ordered the Iced Coffee with a shot of blonde espresso before, and it not only ramps up the caffeine, it also creates a more complex flavor. 

Tips from a Barista: 
  • During the autumn months, I love substituting the Classic Syrup for Apple Brown Sugar or Cinnamon Dolce Syrup. 
  • For a keto-friendly alternative, either get your coffee without the Classic Syrup or substitute it for Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup. 

15. Blonde Caffè Latte 

Starbucks Iced Blonde Caffe latte

The best-selling drink at Starbucks is the latte, but an easy way to ramp up the caffeine is to switch to a Blonde Caffe Latte.

The blend of fluffy, steamed milk with shots of Blonde espresso is ideal for any time of the day. 

I enjoy having fun customizing it in virtually endless ways, from Pumpkin Spice sauce and cold foam to extra shots of mocha and white chocolate syrups. 

While the ‘regular’ latte has a strong espresso taste at the forefront, the Blonde espresso works in perfect harmony with the milk.

While the Venti boasts 225mg of caffeine, I always add an extra shot in my lattes, as they can be a bit too “milky” for me, otherwise. 

16. Caffè Americano 

Starbucks Americano

Americanos are arguably the strongest coffee at Starbucks. It’s a classic drink that’s existed since the 1940s when American soldiers found the Italian espresso too strong.

What’s interesting about the Americano, is the barista has a ton of control over how it tastes. That means that your Americano could taste vastly different, depending on which location you go.

In terms of size, the Tall/Grande/Venti Americanos come with 2/3/4 shots of coffee. The average grande Americano will have 225mg of caffeine content in it. 

I love ordering mine with ristretto shots, an extra shot, and light water (alternatively, ask for extra room).  

Tips from a Barista: 
  • Caffè Americano without water. This equates to essentially just espresso shots. I really like getting in iced, so the ice cubes melt and water it down a bit. 
  • A quadruple-shot Grande Americano will come with an extra shot, and less water. I recommend taking this step before ordering one without water to make sure you don’t get too jittery. 

17. Iced Caramel Macchiato 

Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato

Just because a drink is sweet and decadent, doesn’t mean it can’t also be packed with caffeine!  

Made my pouring fresh espresso shots into steamed milk, Starbucks’ recipe adds vanilla syrup and caramel drizzle on top (just an insider tip, when I was a barista I learned they also add caramel drizzle at the bottom of the cup, too!).

A grande contains 150 mg of caffeine,  and adding a shot and switching to ristretto shots make this drink absolutely mouthwatering. 

For a smoother, more indulgent taste, switching to blonde espresso will also provide more caffeine and a slightly sweeter taste. 

Tips from a Barista: 
  • For vegans, switch the milk to a plant-based milk like oat, almond, or coconut. 
  • Get a quad Blonde ristretto with toffeenut instead of vanilla syrup. Ask for 'normal pumps' of toffeenut, rather than the 2 less the recipe normally calls for (macchiatos lose a pump and blonde shots lose one).

18. Triple Shot Espresso 

Starbucks Iced Triple Shot Espresso

For a long time, I was waking up at 4 am every day and the only way I felt human was by starting it off with a Triple Shot Espresso.

After all, a blonde triple shot espresso contains up to 235 mg of pure energy

This is a straight beverage of espresso shots. It has the ability to be a respite from chaos or the origin of it. 

The earthy aroma and and robust flavor can certainly be overpowering, but adding a bit of breve can equalize the flavor a bit more. 

Alternatively, it tastes great on ice, and as it waters down, the bold flavor isn’t quite as much of a surprise. 

19. Espresso Frappuccino Blended 

Starbucks Espresso Frappuccino with White Mocha

Most blended frappuccinos at Starbucks contain very little caffeine, but most customers ordering are drawn to them more for the sugary flavors, anyway.  

Frappuccinos use a special kind of frap roast, which is instant coffee made in a cold brew. 

It contains less caffeine content, but gives the Starbucks drinks a smoother taste.  

The espresso frappuccino is the only exception. These are espresso shots blended together with the frap roast and coffee base to create a stronger frappuccino.

It contains 185mg of caffeine, which is higher than the others. 

For a cool treat that won’t result in a sugar crash, this is just the ticket.  

20. Flat White 

Starbucks Flat White

The flat white is a fairly new addition to the coffee scene, and while Australia has been enjoying it since the mid-1980s, it didn’t hit big in the US until about 10 years ago. 

Simply put, it’s a mix of espresso shots with smooth, textured milk giving it a velvety taste.

It’s stronger than a latte because the milk isn’t suppressing the coffee flavor and gives you a stronger taste.  

Overall, a flat white at Starbucks gives you 130mg of caffeine, which is a nice amount to get you through your day. Its texture and strength make it a classic drink to fuel you through whatever you need it to! 

What Makes These Starbucks Strongest Coffees? 

The strongest coffee, True North Blonde filter coffee, is simply brewed with the exact right amount of grounds to give it a heavenly balance of coffee flavor and caffeine content. 

All the blonde roast coffees in Starbucks contain approximately 10% more caffeine.  
If you want stronger than strongest, order a espresso roast Clover coffee (if available at the Starbucks location in question).

The caffeine in these Starbucks drinks packs more caffeine, which is retained through the brewing process.

I’m talking nearly 500mg in one Clover coffee![3] 

You’ll find that the other strong Starbucks drinks, such as the Americano or cold brew, become stronger when you add stronger roasts to them. 

Mixing up your coffee and trying lighter roasted beans can give you the extra boost while retaining the flavors you enjoy.  

Even a sweet drink like the iced white chocolate mocha can become one of the strongest on the Starbucks menu with extra shots added. and you don't have to rely on  strong cold brewed coffee to get your fix. 

Consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine a day can cause trouble sleeping, anxiety, irritability, stomach issues, and heartburn, so it’s important to watch consumption. 

Common Strong Starbucks Drinks Questions 

Which Starbucks drink gives you the most energy? 

There are a lot of caffeinated Starbucks drinks, but the nitro cold brew with vanilla sweet cream gives you the most caffeine content, as well as a good hit of sugar.

What is a sweet, strong coffee at Starbucks? 

The iced caramel macchiato is a good mix of sweet and strong. The vanilla and caramel mix is retained in the drink, while the coffee added provides a better dose of caffeine. 

Is espresso stronger than coffee? 

An espresso shot contains 63mg of caffeine per 1 ounce, whereas coffee contains 12 - 16mg per ounce. A straight espresso shot is stronger than regular coffee. 

Does a darker roast mean stronger coffee? 

Not necessarily. A darker roast means it has been roasted for longer in higher temperatures. This means there’s been more time for the caffeine to burn away or dissolve with the moisture. Lighter roasts are considered stronger in caffeine, but darker roasts are stronger in taste. 


Conclusion - Get Your Caffeine Fix!

Starbucks has plenty of strong drinks, but where to start?

I highly recommend my 2 favorites: Iced Shaken Espresso and the Americano.

The Iced Shaken Espresso is easy to customize, and I can add more or less milk as I wish. The Americano is strong in flavor and heavy in caffeine, with clean, robust flavors that never disappoint.  

However, between these 20 curated, caffeine-filled drinks, there really is something for everyone!

References:

1. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2122186/whole-bean

2. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2121859/iced

3. https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/kitchen/clover-coffee-maker.htm

ShayAnne Weeks

Author

ShayAnne Weeks
Shay is a fun-loving content writer and DJ who enjoys traveling the world whenever, wherever possible. The lifeblood that makes it all attainable has always been a strong cup (or 3) of coffee.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A Café Cubano con Leche

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback

Leave a Comment