If you’re searching for the strongest coffee at Starbucks, you’ve come to the right place.
I love breaking down various menus in terms of their calories and macros, but I find it incredibly useful to look at caffeine content as well.
I have a full guide that breaks down the calories of the Starbucks menu that you can find here, but we’re going to put all of that to the side and just look at caffeine here.
Whether you’re trying to keep your caffeine intake to a minimum, or you’re a new parent running on zero sleep that needs the strongest coffee available, I’ve got you covered!
- How much caffeine should you consume in a day?
- Which kind of coffee roast is the strongest?
- Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew vs Nitro Cold Brew
- The Most Caffeinated Drink at Starbucks
- Starbucks Cup Sizes
- Top 5 Strongest Coffee Drinks At Starbucks (based on caffeine)
- Starbucks Caffeine Visual Chart
- Starbucks Caffeine Content Ranking For All Tall Drinks
- Starbucks Caffeine Content Ranking For All Grande Drinks
- Starbucks Caffeine Content For All Venti Drinks
- Tips to maximize your caffeine at Starbucks
- How much caffeine is in Clover brewed coffee?
How much caffeine should you consume in a day?
Before we dive into the Starbucks menu, it’s important we address just how much caffeine we should be consuming in a single day.
The truth is, caffeine tolerance is incredibly individualized. One person may be able to handle large amounts of caffeine without any issues, while another person may feel that even the smallest amount of caffeine affects them far too much.
According to the FDA, 400 mg of caffeine is the upper caffeine limit we should aim for.
That’s just a general rule, and it certainly cannot apply to every person.
We can estimate that a small cup of coffee contains roughly 100mg of caffeine. If you enjoy an average cup of coffee, you’re likely consuming around 200mg of caffeine.
Some days you may find yourself dragging in the afternoon once your morning coffee wears off, so you might turn to an energy drink, many of which contain 300mg of caffeine.
If you consume 500mg of caffeine throughout the day, is that bad? Of course not! If your body can handle that, then it is totally fine.
As with anything, I’d recommend working up to that, though. If you’ve never really had much caffeine in your life, don’t suddenly begin consuming 500mg of caffeine every day. Start with a cup of coffee and bump it up as needed.
Please note that this is not medical advice, and since caffeine consumption can vary so much based on the individual, it’s important to discuss it with your physician if you are concerned.
Which kind of coffee roast is the strongest?
If you’re ordering hot coffee at Starbucks, you’ll have a few main roast options: Verdana (light roast or blonde roast), Pike Place (medium roast), and Dark Roast.
If you’re like me, you’re probably assuming that a dark roast contains the most caffeine. I mean, it certainly has the strongest coffee taste, so surely it contains the most caffeine.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that the opposite is true: the lighter the coffee roast, the more caffeine it contains.
When coffee beans are measured by weight, the differences in caffeine are actually very minimal. A coffee bean is a coffee bean, and it will contain roughly the same amount of caffeine.
However, the lighter the roast, the denser the coffee becomes. So, when coffee is scooped out and measured by volume instead of strict weight, you’re actually getting more coffee. Thus, lighter roasts technically contain more caffeine.
You’ll see this ring true with Starbucks coffee, as the light roast contains the most caffeine, followed by the medium roast, then dark roast.
Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew vs Nitro Cold Brew
As a lover of cold coffee, and a complete cold brew coffee snob, it’s important to me that you understand the differences between these drinks.
I have an entire post dedicated to iced coffee vs cold brew, but I’ll give you a very brief overview here.
Starbucks iced coffee is simply hot coffee that has been cooled down and then served over ice. The coffee is brewed as a regular pot of hot coffee, then chilled in the fridge before being served over ice.
Starbucks cold brew coffee, on the other hand, is brewed by slow-steeping coffee in cold water for 12-24 hours. Cold brew is made as a cold brew concentrate, which is then diluted with water to create a drinkable cold brew coffee.
Generally speaking, cold brew contains more caffeine than iced coffee because it is brewed as a very strong concentrate. However, depending on how diluted the final product is, the caffeine content will vary.
In the case of Starbucks, cold brew coffee contains more caffeine than iced coffee.
But what about nitro cold brew coffee?
Nitro cold brew is a regular cold brew that is served through a nitrogen-infused tap. The nitrogen chills the cold brew and creates a frothy finish, leading to an even smoother cold brew.
Since it is served without ice (you would lose the beautiful cascading effect with ice) you can only order a tall or grande, but you’ll be getting even more cold brew in the smaller cups due to the lack of ice.
And if you are wondering if the nitro cold brew is worth it: yes, it absolutely is.
The Most Caffeinated Drink at Starbucks
We’ll rank all of the Starbucks coffee options below, but which is the most caffeinated Starbucks drink?
That title goes to the Venti Blonde Roast Coffee.
A Venti (20oz) Verdana Blend / Blonde Roast Coffee contains 475mg.
For comparison purposes, the most caffeinated drink at Dunkin’ is a large iced coffee with 396mg of caffeine, and this Starbucks coffee contains almost 100mg more than that!
A venti medium roast coffee contains 410mg, while the dark roast contains 340 mg.
In other words, if you’re looking for the strongest coffee at Starbucks, order yourself the blonde roast.
Starbucks Cup Sizes
Avid Starbucks coffee drinkers are familiar with the Starbucks cup sizes by now, but if you don’t frequent Starbucks, it may seem like a foreign language.
While the verbiage may not make the most sense (I mean, why is “Tall” referring to a small drink anyway?) the sizes themselves are actually straightforward. Here’s a very simple breakdown of Starbucks drink sizes that are available:
The most common sizes that are available for all drinks are Tall, Grande, and Venti. However, you can go extra large with “Trenta” for cold drinks only, and small with a “Short” for hot drinks.
Since cold drinks come with ice, the large 30oz is offered, but the smallest 8oz is not (I mean, once you add ice, you’d have no coffee left!)
The names of the cup sizes seem to always trip me up, so hopefully this visual can help you!
Top 5 Strongest Coffee Drinks At Starbucks (based on caffeine)
As you can see by the size chart above, it’s pretty clear that a Trenta coffee is going to contain more caffeine than a Tall coffee.
So, rather than simply list all of the Trenta beverages with the most caffeine, I’m going to provide you with the top 5 strongest drinks at Starbucks regardless of size. If you’re ordering a Grande, it’s only fair that you can order the one with the most caffeine if you need that boost!
5. Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is some of the strongest coffee you’ll find because it comes as a concentrate. However, the end result is diluted with water and served over ice, so the caffeine content comes back down to Earth a bit. Still, it’s one of the drinks at Starbucks with the highest caffeine content.
4. Dark Roast
I know it sounds like a dark roast would be the strongest coffee, but it actually contains the least amount of caffeine of any of the Starbucks coffee roasts.
Still, compared to the same-size iced coffee or specialty drink, you’re still getting plenty of caffeine to get your morning started off right.
3. Nitro Cold Brew
Nitro cold brew isn’t served over ice, so it ends up being a stronger coffee than regular cold brew.
And even though nitro cold brew is the strongest Starbucks coffee (when it comes to cold drinks) its taste is some of the smoothest!
2. Pike Place Coffee
Pike Place is Starbucks’ medium roast, and it’ll give you a nice boost over the dark roast.
1. Veranda / Blonde Roast Coffee
Starbucks’ Blonde Roast (also known as Veranda Blend) is by far the strongest coffee on the Starbucks menu. If you need a coffee to wake you up, the blonde roast will do it.
Many people think that a light roast means less caffeine, but the Veranda Blend is here to prove to you that the exact opposite is true.
Starbucks Caffeine Visual Chart
Want to easily identify the strongest Starbucks’ drinks? I put together this handy infographic to help you out.
A few quick notes on this visual caffeine guide:
I did not include shots of espresso in this infographic, but a single shot of espresso contains 75mg of caffeine. That means that short and tall espresso-based drinks contain only one shot of espresso.
A Starbucks Frappuccino is going to vary a bit based on the flavor you choose. The caffeine content here is for a Coffee Frappuccino, but there may be slightly more or less caffeine depending on the flavor. Certain flavors, like the Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino, contain no coffee at all (and thus no caffeine).
If any of your favorite coffee drinks are missing from this guide, be sure you check out the Starbucks menu on their website. They provide great information, so you should be able to find what you’re looking for!
Starbucks Caffeine Content Ranking For All Tall Drinks
Both the hot and cold tall drinks at Starbucks come served in 12oz cups. While hot drinks also come in a smaller size (short, or 8oz) this is the smallest cup size for cold drinks.
Decaf Coffee: 20mg
Iced Tea: 20mg
Hot Chocolate: 20mg
Starbucks Refresher: 30-45mg
Matcha Latte (Hot or Iced): 55mg
Cappuccino (Hot or Iced): 75mg
Latte (Hot or Iced): 75mg
Macchiato (Hot or Iced): 75mg
Chai Latte (Hot or Iced): 75mg
Iced Flat White: 90mg
Caffe Mocha (Hot or Iced): 95mg
Frappuccino (Varies by Flavor): 95mg
Iced Coffee: 120mg
Flat White: 130mg
Americano (Hot or Iced): 150mg
Iced Shaken Espresso: 150mg
Cold Brew: 155mg
Dark Roast Coffee: 195mg
Nitro Cold Brew: 215mg
Pike Place (Medium) Coffee: 235mg
Verdana Blend (Blonde) Coffee: 270mg
Starbucks Caffeine Content Ranking For All Grande Drinks
Grande is the standard “medium” coffee, served in a 16oz cup whether you order a hot or cold Starbucks drink.
Decaf Coffee: 25mg
Iced Tea: 25mg
Hot Chocolate: 25mg
Starbucks Refresher: 45-55mg
Matcha Latte (Hot or Iced): 80mg
Chai Latte (Hot or Iced): 95mg
Iced Flat White: 130mg
Cappuccino (Hot or Iced): 150mg
Latte (Hot or Iced): 150mg
Macchiato (Hot or Iced): 150mg
Iced Coffee: 165mg
Caffe Mocha (Hot or Iced): 175mg
Frappuccino (Varies by Flavor): 175mg
Flat White: 195mg
Cold Brew: 205mg
Americano (Hot or Iced): 225mg
Iced Shaken Espresso: 225mg
Dark Roast Coffee: 260mg
Nitro Cold Brew: 280mg
Pike Place (Medium) Coffee: 310mg
Verdana Blend (Blonde) Coffee: 360mg
Starbucks Caffeine Content For All Venti Drinks
“Venti” actually means 20 in Italian, so a venti hot coffee will come in a 20oz cup. However, if you order a cold venti drink, it will be served in a 24oz cup. If you want one size larger, cold drinks also come in a “trenta” size, which is 30oz.
Decaf Coffee: 30mg
Hot Chocolate: 30mg
Iced Tea: 40mg
Starbucks Refresher: 70-85mg
Matcha Latte (Hot or Iced): 110mg
Chai Latte (Hot or Iced): 145mg
Iced Flat White: 175mg
Caffe Mocha (Hot or Iced): 185mg
Frappuccino (Varies by Flavor): 185mg
Flat White: 195mg
Cappuccino (Hot or Iced): 225mg
Latte (Hot or Iced): 225mg
Macchiato (Hot or Iced): 225mg
Iced Coffee: 235mg
Americano (Hot or Iced): 300mg
Iced Shaken Espresso: 300mg
Cold Brew: 310mg
Dark Roast Coffee: 340mg
Pike Place (Medium) Coffee: 410mg
Verdana Blend (Blonde) Coffee: 475mg
Tips to maximize your caffeine at Starbucks
If the strongest coffee at Starbucks is still not strong enough for you, here are some of my favorite tips for maximizing your caffeine.
1. Add an extra espresso shot to your drink.
If you order any espresso drinks, like a caffe Americano or latte, you can add an extra espresso shot to kick the caffeine up. One espresso shot contains 75mg of caffeine, making it a really easy to infuse more caffeine. Or, you can add an espresso shot to your favorite coffee drink for an extra caffeine boost.
2. Get less ice in your cold drinks.
When you order a grande iced coffee, you’re not actually getting 16oz of coffee. It’s more likely you’re getting about half of that.
To maximize the amount of coffee you’re getting, ask for less ice! Doing this is a great way to get more bang for your buck, along with more caffeine to keep your day moving.
3. Limit the number of add-ins you order.
If you order a black coffee, it’s going to have much more caffeine than coffee with oat milk and multiple pumps of syrup, since the latter will contain less coffee overall.
While I don’t expect everyone to order just black coffee, you should try to limit the number of add-ins you’re adding to your drink if you want to maximize your caffeine intake.
How much caffeine is in Clover brewed coffee?
Starbucks has recently rolled out Clover brewed coffee at select locations, so if you’re lucky enough to be near one of these locations, you have a ton of additional coffee options.
Clover brewed coffee is a way for Starbucks to offer small-batch coffee roasts without making full pots of drip coffee like with the standard light, medium, and dark roast coffee.
The Clover machines are able to brew single cups, allowing Starbucks to offer lots of unique limited-supply coffee beans from all around the world.
Since this Clover coffee is not offered at all locations, I didn’t include the caffeine amounts in the full guide, but I’ll include them here for you.
The specific coffee beans that Starbucks offers will vary, but they can be broken down into 4 categories: Reserve Roasts, Light/Blonde Roasts, Medium Roasts, and Dark Roasts.
Clover Starbucks Reserve Coffee
Costa Rica, Hawaii, Zambia, Vietnam, Peru, Rwanda, Italian Roast
Clover Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee
Veranda Blend Clover, Willow Clover
Clover Starbucks Medium Roast Coffee
Breakfast Blend, Pike Place, Ethiopia
Clover Starbucks Dark Roast Coffee
Espresso Roast Clover, French Roast, Sumatra Clover, Caffe Verona