It’s perfectly normal to crave a little something sweet every now and then.
Many of us enjoy a touch of sugar to complement the flavors of coffee and tea. But we also want to be conscious of how much sugar we’re having.
The popular coffee chain Starbucks offers many different types of sweetened beverages. Thankfully, not all of them are completely loaded down with sugar.
Here are 15 different sweet Starbucks drinks you might be interested in trying, plus a few tips for reducing the sugar in your order.
What you should know about added sugar
It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a sweet Starbucks drink from time to time, but be aware of the added sugars they contain and try to enjoy them occasionally rather than daily.
Added sugars are added to foods and beverages during the cooking or manufacturing process. Sugar-sweetened beverages — including sweet coffee drinks — are a major source of added sugars for many people (
Added sugars go by many names, including some of the sweeteners used in these Starbucks drinks, like honey, cane sugar, and brown sugar.
Studies have linked added sugars with adverse health effects including an increased risk of cancer and higher amounts of harmful visceral fat tissue, among other chronic disease risk factors (
Health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), recommend consuming no more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars (
For example, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, that would be no more than 200 calories or 50 grams of added sugars. For a 1,500 calorie per day diet, aim for no more than 150 calories or 38 grams of added sugars.
Keep these recommendations in mind as you view the sugar content in the Starbucks drinks below.
Generally speaking, most of Starbucks’s sweet hot coffee drinks contain a moderate amount of sugar — more than many of their sweetened teas and iced coffees yet still less than other drinks, like frozen Frappuccinos.
On average, a grande-sized (16 ounces or 473 mL) sweet hot coffee at Starbucks contains about 30–35 grams of sugar.
For reference, this is about 7–9 teaspoons of sugar or just slightly less than the average amount of sugar in 1 soda. One teaspoon of sugar is equal to about 4 grams.
Here’s a look at how a grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) Starbucks caramel macchiato, dark chocolate mocha, and blonde vanilla latte compare in the sugar, calories, and carbs they contain (10, 11, 12):
|Caramel Macchiato||Dark Chocolate Mocha||Blonde Vanilla Latte|
|Sugar||33 grams||33 grams||35 grams|
|Carbs||35 grams||38 grams||37 grams|
1. Caramel Macchiato
The caramel macchiato is a quintessential Starbucks drink.
Steamed milk and espresso are paired with vanilla syrup and topped with a caramel drizzle, each of which gives the caffeinated drink a sweet taste.
2. Starbucks Reserve Dark Chocolate Mocha
A sweet dark chocolate mocha swaps the syrups and sweetened flavorings in exchange for cocoa and ground chocolate.
If you find the traditional Starbucks syrup too sweet for your taste, you might enjoy the subtle sweetness of the ground dark chocolate used in a Dark Chocolate Mocha instead.
3. Blonde Vanilla Latte
This classic latte uses vanilla syrup to accentuate the rich flavors of a light-roast espresso.
You can easily add extra flavors like caramel or raspberry, but keep in mind these additions will likely increase the amount of sugar, calories, and carbs your drink contains.
Starbucks offers a number of slightly sweetened cold brews, iced lattes, and shaken espressos that contain less than half the amount of sugar found in many of the brand’s hot coffee drinks.
Here’s a look at how three grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) cold coffee drinks from Starbucks compare in the sugar, calories, and carbs they contain (13, 14, 15):
|Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso||Honey Almondmilk Flat White||Iced Hazelnut Bianco Latte|
|Sugar||13 grams||18 grams||26 grams|
|Carbs||20 grams||22 grams||30 grams|
4. Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
When you order it without any extra sweetener, this cinnamon-spiced iced espresso contains less sugar than many of Starbucks’s other sweet coffees.
The brown sugar syrup used to sweeten the espresso also sets it apart from drinks flavored with their classic white-sugar syrup. However, keep in mind that brown sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.
5. Honey Almondmilk Flat White
This drink switches things up, using a “honey blend” instead of Starbucks’s classic simple syrup as a sweetener.
The almond milk itself also has a hint of sweetness to complement its nutty base flavor.
6. Starbucks Reserve Iced Hazelnut Bianco Latte
Hazelnut flavorings are a common addition to roasted coffee beans and flavored coffees alike.
Instead of a typical sweetener, this latte gets its sweetness from a hazelnut-praline infused milk that’s poured over espresso and ice.
Starbucks’s sweet drink options aren’t strictly limited to coffee. The brand also offers sweetened teas, steamers, and more.
Some of those options — such as a White Hot Chocolate or Steamed Apple Juice — are very high in sugar with more than 50 grams packed into a single grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) serving.
However, a few options pack less added sugar.
Here’s a look at how a grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) Starbucks’s Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte, Honey Citrus Mint Tea, and Hot Chocolate compare in the sugar, calories, and carbs they contain (16, 17, 18):
|Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte||Honey Citrus Mint Tea||Hot Chocolate|
|Sugar||21 grams||30 grams||37 grams|
|Carbs||21 grams||32 grams||43 grams|
7. Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte
Many Starbucks’s drinks are sweetened with their classic simple syrup, which is made from granulated white sugar derived from sugar beets.
The Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte is a black tea latte sweetened with cane sugar syrup derived solely from sugarcane instead, though you probably won’t notice much difference in taste between the two.
Nutritionally speaking, beet sugar and cane sugar are nearly identical, though they may have slightly different tastes.
8. Honey Citrus Mint Tea
Starbucks’s Honey Citrus Mint Tea is jam packed with flavor. It’s a combination of steamed lemonade and two different tea blends. You might notice hints of flavors like lemongrass, pineapple, chamomile, and more.
Like many teas, this Starbucks drink is sweetened with honey.
9. Hot Chocolate
Starbucks’s Hot Chocolate combines mocha sauce, whipped cream, and a chocolate drizzle with steamed milk.
It’s an ingredient combination that puts it on the higher end of the sugar scale, though it still contains nearly 20 grams less sugar than its White Hot Chocolate counterpart.
Coffee isn’t the only sweet pick-me-up you can find at Starbucks. The brand also offers a variety of fruit-infused and tea-based beverages you can cool off with.
Here’s a look at how three other grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) cold drinks from Starbucks compare in the sugar, calories, and carbs they contain (19, 20, 21):
|Iced Peach Green Tea||Kiwi Starfruit Refresher||Iced Matcha Tea Latte|
|Sugar||12 grams||19 grams||28 grams|
|Carb||15 grams||22 grams||29 grams|
10. Iced Peach Green Tea
If you’re craving something sweet but want to avoid too much added sugar, consider Starbucks’s Iced Peach Green Tea.
The tea blend is mixed with peach-flavored fruit juice that contains natural sugars but doesn’t have any added sugars on top of that.
11. Kiwi Starfruit Starbucks Refresher
The Kiwi Starfruit Refresher also uses fruit juice as its main ingredient and flavor component, but unlike the Iced Peach Green Tea it also has extra sugars added to the mix.
Fun fact — Starbucks’s “Refreshers” line of drinks are the only drinks at the chain that use green coffee beans, which are not roasted yet still high in caffeine.
12. Iced Matcha Tea Latte
Starbucks’s Iced Matcha Tea Latte is a very simple, refreshing drink. It contains just three ingredients: milk, matcha (ground green tea), and sugar.
Because the sugar is pre-mixed with the matcha tea powder, there’s no real way to cut back on the amount of sugar in this drink without also cutting back on the amount of matcha tea or ordering a smaller size.
Because added sugars contain calories, it makes sense that Starbucks’s drinks that are lowest in calories also tend to be low in sugar.
Here’s a look at how three grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) low calorie drinks from Starbucks compare in the sugar, calories, and carbs they contain (22, 23, 24):
|Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew||Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade||Iced Shaken Espresso|
|Sugar||4 grams||11 grams||14 grams|
|Carbs||4 grams||12 grams||17 grams|
13. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew
The Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew is the sweet Starbucks’s drink that contains the least amount of sugar when ordered as is.
It’s the perfect choice if you’re the type of person who likes just a small pinch of sugar in their coffee to help cut the bitterness.
14. Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade
Starbucks’s Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade is a mix of lemonade and fruit juice that’s been infused with the flavors of hibiscus flowers, cinnamon, lemongrass, and more.
It’s a real punch of flavor and color!
15. Iced Shaken Espresso
The Iced Shaken Espresso is a simple mix of milk, espresso, and Starbucks simple syrup.
It’s a sweetened drink with a very classic coffee flavor. It typically comes with 4 pumps of simple syrup, though to cut back on sugar you could ask your barista to use just 1 or 2 pumps instead.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy an occasional sweet drink at Starbucks. But there may also be times when you want to enjoy a beverage while limiting your sugar intake.
On those occasions, here are a few tips you can keep in mind for choosing healthier sweet drinks:
- Ask for 1–2 fewer pumps of sweetener in your drink.
- Try sugar-free syrup instead of regular.
- Ask to sweeten your drink with stevia instead of classic syrup.
- Skip the whipped cream on top.
- Enjoy smaller sizes. Try a short (8 ounces or 237 mL) or tall (12 ounces or 355 mL) drink instead of a grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) or venti (20 ounces or 591 mL).
There are also a few Starbucks drinks that are particularly high in sugar you might want to avoid.
For example, a grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) Starbucks’s Frappuccino contains between 40–60 grams of sugar depending on the flavor. That’s nearly twice the amount of sugar in 1 can of soda or many of the other sweet drinks you can get at Starbucks (25).
Some other grande (16 ounces or 473 mL) Starbucks drinks that contain large amounts of sugar are:
Starbucks coffee shops offer an extensive menu of sweet drinks in a wide variety of flavors.
Some drinks, like frozen Frappuccinos, are much higher in sugar than others, so you may want to enjoy these in moderation.
Others contain much less sugar, like their iced cold brews and espressos.
If there’s a drink you’ve been wanting to try, but are worried about how much sugar it contains, ask your barista for tips on how to reduce the sugar content.
Just one thing
Try this today: Next time you order a sweet drink from Starbucks, ask for fewer pumps of syrup or flavoring than your drink normally comes with. You might discover that you enjoy a lower-sugar version just as much as the original.