You just never know when a blog topic is going to strike a chord with folks. At least I don’t. My post from 2018 listing 6 drinks I regularly order at Starbucks was, unexpectedly, one of my most popular of all time. (Thank you Pinterest!) So in this strange time of staying at home and looking for tiny bits of pleasure where we can find them, I figured it was about time for a follow-up list highlighting some new faves.
I’ve tried a bunch of the fancy new stuff at Starbucks like Iced Almondmilk Honey Flat White with Blonde Espresso and Cold Brew with Dark Cocoa Almondmilk Foam and just couldn’t hit on any winners, until I did. These are my three new go-tos in the drive-thru.
Grande Nitro Cold Brew with 2 Sugar Packets and a Splash of Soymilk
All I can say is this cup of liquid gives me a lot of joy for so few calories. I’m making an educated guess for my particular concoction, mind you. Each sugar packet is about 16 calories and there is a lot of room for interpretation by the barista for a “splash” of soymilk. So I guestimated 2 fluid ounces, which is another 32 calories. The nitro cold brew on its own is 5 calories. The best way to describe this drink is…smoooooooth. And it doesn’t come with ice so you get a full 16 ounces of actual coffee and stuff.
And yes, I order soymilk. For two reasons. First, the protein content is higher than any other non-dairy milk on Starbuck’s menu. Second, when added to the bit of fat in soymilk, the protein gives a creamy mouthfeel and is a nice counterpoint to the bitter coffee flavors. And no, soymilk isn’t dangerous or harmful. But feel free to try this beauty of a beverage with almond, coconut, or oat milk and see what you think.
Grande Cold Brew with 1 Pump White Mocha, 1 Pump Raspberry Syrup, and Strawberry Puree Cold Foam
There are different versions of this drink online, which inspired me to try it, and most are too sweet for my blood. Possible titles include Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cold Brew or Strawberry Cold Foam Cold Brew, and it’s considered a Starbucks Secret Menu item.
Of the three drinks I’m recommending today, it’s definitely the most dessert-like. And the drawback is that it’s so special and so over the top, I haven’t found a way to order it on the app, so you’ll have to ask for this thing the old-fashioned way: by talking. When I ordered mine I asked first if they knew what the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cold Brew was, and they very politely replied that they didn’t but they’d be happy to let me describe the recipe to them.
This one was harder to run the numbers on, because there are more ingredients whose nutrition facts needed to be tracked down. I did my best to estimate amounts of each for the grande with a little online research. The cold brew is 5 calories on its own, 20 for the raspberry syrup, 60 for the white chocolate, and I estimated 4 ounces of cold foam (3 ounces nonfat milk + 1 ounce strawberry puree) for another 40 calories. If any baristas out there want to set me straight I’ll happily adjust my calculations.
Iced Venti Black Tea with 2 Pumps Liquid Cane Sugar and 1 Ristretto Shot
This cup of caffeine is based on one of my all-time favorite bottled iced teas. It’s made by Harney and Sons and I like it so much I fussed around coming up with a recipe to make it at home. Thank goodness I did, because they don’t sell it anymore! It’s basically a super refreshing iced beverage that brings together the flavors of black tea and coffee. So I tried ordering something similar at Starbucks and was quite happy with the result.
I’m going to estimate 40 calories for the 2 pumps of syrup. The iced tea and espresso shot are each estimated at about 5 calories, so that would mean a total of 50 calories for all 20 ounces.
The balance of flavors is just perfect for my palate when I order it as listed above. It’s not overly sweet, it starts with a lovely black tea bite, and and has a mild coffee finish. The Starbucks website notes the ristretto shots have a “sweeter, richer flavor.” For me that means more mildness and less bitterness. But if you’d like a stronger coffee flavor to shine through you could order it with a regular shot instead of ristretto or or double up on the shots. Oh, and this is another one I couldn’t figure out how to order in the app either. Got to do it verbally.
Apparently two years is enough time for me to explore the Starbucks menu and come up with some new favorites. It took me from 2018 to 2020 before I settled on anything worth recommending or blogging about. Hopefully one of them will work for your particular taste buds and nutrition goals. Happy summer and happy sipping.