Starbucks Cold Brew

Starbucks Cold Brew (Photo by Mr. Kosal on Shutterstock)

Starbucks cold brew drinks offer a smooth, less acidic alternative to their standard hot offerings. Made by slowly steeping coarse-ground coffee in cold water for 20 hours, their signature Cold Brew Coffee boasts a bold, naturally sweet flavor. This base then gets dressed up in various ways, with syrups to toppings. We decided to look to our sources to figure out which cold brew rises to the top.

So, what makes cold brew different than regular coffee? Unlike the quick espresso shot or the steaming hot drip, Starbucks’ cold brew takes its time. It all starts with coarsely ground, dark-roasted coffee beans steeped in cool filtered water for about 20 hours. This slow, cold dance unlocks the beans’ natural sweetness and smoothness, avoiding the bitterness hot brewing can extract. Instead of heat, time becomes the catalyst, gently coaxing out subtle flavors like chocolate, berries, and caramel. Depending on your preference, the resulting concentrate is then diluted with water or ice for a refreshingly smooth and naturally sweet cold brew coffee that’s a world away from your average iced coffee. Each sip is a testament to Starbucks’ dedication to slow brewing, showcasing the hidden depths of their carefully chosen beans.

Why choose cold brew?

Cold brew coffee is a favorite among many coffee lovers. So, what’s all the hype behind this chilly drink? We’ve included a few reasons below:

  • Smooth and Silky: Cold brew offers a silky-smooth texture and naturally lower acidity compared to regular iced coffee. This mellow approach appeals to palates sensitive to bitterness, and the inherent sweetness shines through, making it a naturally delicious sip.
  • Leveled Up Caffeine Kick: Cold brew packs a powerful punch of caffeine due to its extended brewing process. This concentrated goodness satisfies die-hard coffee fans seeking an extra jolt, and its slow-release effect provides sustained energy throughout the day.
  • Customization: Starbucks knows coffee cravers love options. Their cold brew canvas welcomes a variety of playful partners, from creamy cascara cold foam to refreshing nitro infused with cascading bubbles. Each sip becomes a customizable adventure, keeping taste buds entertained.
  • Convenience: Pre-brewed and chilled, cold brew offers instant gratification. It’s the perfect grab-and-go companion for busy mornings, a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up, or a cool treat to beat the heat. No brewing fuss, just pure coffee satisfaction.
  • Beyond the Bean: Starbucks isn’t afraid to get creative! Seasonal and limited-edition cold brew flavors keep things exciting. From toasted coconut to pumpkin spice, there’s always a new coffee escapade waiting to be discovered, fueling a sense of anticipation and delight.

So, America’s love for Starbucks cold brew isn’t just a caffeine craze; it’s a celebration of smooth taste. We combed through nine expert reviews to figure out the best Starbucks cold brew drinks that were mentioned the most. From the first sip of pure coffee goodness to the latest flavor adventure, each cup offers a satisfying escape from the ordinary, one delicious drop at a time. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

Starbucks logo
Starbucks sign (Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash)

The List: Best Starbucks Cold Brew Drinks, According to Pros

1. Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew

This drink balances sweet and salty flavors with coffee’s natural acidity and bitterness to make a delightfully balanced drink. Starbucks fans line up year-round for this iced coffee treat. Tasting Table raves, “Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew comes in at the top spot in our ranking. This is a delicious coffee drink that’s worth every single sip. You may think that this drink would be too sweet considering the addition of caramel, but we don’t find that to be true. Rather, the salt nicely balances out that sweetness.”

Restaurant Clicks chimes in with some additional praise: “Salted caramel seems to be in so many desserts now. Luckily, we can enjoy it as a Salted caramel cream cold brew too. This drink has plenty of caffeine to get you through the day, but it’s got an extra kick from the caramel flavor.”

Your Dream Coffee breaks down the drink build: “The salted caramel cream cold brew tastes like the salted caramels you may enjoy eating during Christmas. This drink combines the following ingredients to make a tasty 250-calorie beverage: Four pumps of salted caramel syrup, salted caramel cream cold foam, ice, cold brew. This delicious cold drink is perfect for a relaxing winter morning by the fireplace.”

2. Cookies and Cream Cold Brew

Oreo sandwich cookies are so popular that they have spawned numerous inspired treats from chocolate bars to ice cream. Starbucks doesn’t miss with this secret cookie flavored cold brew. Coffee Blogger Celeste Lili says, “This drink may be too sweet for some, but that’s the beauty of the cold brew. It has a smoother taste than traditional coffee and can be customized to your sweetness level. If you are a big fan of Oreos and the cookies and cream flavor, this is the drink for you.”

Starbucks is known for their secret menu items and you shouldn’t pass up on this one! How do you order it? Coffee Affection has the scoop: “To place your order, ask for a Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew with one pump of vanilla syrup. You’ll also need 2 pumps of mocha and 2 pumps of white mocha sauce blended into the foamy sweet cream. Add a little ice and you’ll have the taste of cookies and cream in drink form.” Make sure to request cookie crumbs on top as well!

Accrding to Coffee Geek, this drink is “a delightful fusion of coffee, chocolate, and cookie-like goodness! The mixture of cream cold brew, dark chocolate, mocha syrup, and a dash of vanilla sweet cream creates a drink that’ll make anyone feel like they’re sipping on liquid Oreos. It’s seriously the best way to satisfy your cookie cravings while getting a caffeine fix.”

3. Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew, infused with creamy nitrogen bubbles, boasts a cascading, foamy texture and a naturally sweet coffee taste. Elite Daily comments, “Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew features the chain’s classic cold brew infused with nitrogen. The final result is a smooth and sweet flavor, and it has 280 milligrams of caffeine.”

This icy beverage delivers a delightful sensory experience alongside a potent caffeine punch, all without needing to add any extras. “Nitro cold brew is creamy and sweet, even without added milk or sugar,” adds Coffee At Three. In other words, this foamy delight is very low in calories and nearly guilt-free!

The Cozy Coffee also loves this option. Why? “Nitro Cold Brew is the ideal way to enjoy cold brew coffee because it’s served at a temperature just below the optimal brewing temperature. This allows the coffee to retain its rich flavors and aromas without adding extra heat or altering the taste. Nitro Cold Brew is an excellent option for those who want the taste of their favorite cold brew without all the extra calories.”

4. Chocolate Cream Cold Brew

Starbucks’ Chocolate Cream Cold Brew marries their signature cold brew’s bold richness with a whisper of sweet, frothy chocolate cream, offering a decadent yet refreshingly chilled coffee experience. Tasting Table explains, “just as the name suggests, it’s a chocolate treat in a cup. We’d recommend this one for chocolate lovers, but we were surprised to discover that the chocolate flavor isn’t that strong. It’s just got a touch of cocoa that makes every sip taste a little bit richer. There’s definitely some sweetness there as well, but we didn’t think it was overpowering in the slightest.”

It’s like a grown-up milkshake masquerading as a caffeine kick, tempting both coffee and chocolate fans alike. Your Dream Coffee adds, “My favorite of the cold brews is the chocolate cream cold brew…I’ll happily drink the chocolate cream cold brew anytime, day, or season. The perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate makes a cup of this cold brew an irresistible treat. It’s smooth, creamy, and incredibly flavorful.”

Coffee Geek also approves: “I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate? Imagine sipping your cold brew infused with rich chocolate flavors, complemented by a velvety vanilla sweet cream cold foam on top. It’s a chocoholic’s dream come true! And don’t worry, I won’t judge you if you start craving this brew at odd hours of the day; I’ve been there too.”

5. Cold Brew with Milk

Ordering the classic Starbucks Cold Brew with milk balances the bold, naturally sweet cold brew with a splash of creamy whole milk. Coffee At Three claims, “This can be ordered with any kind of milk or syrup. Caramel and hazelnut syrups are often swapped out with the vanilla syrup.”

This order crafts a smooth, approachable coffee escape that’s light enough for everyday sipping yet delivers a satisfying caffeine hug. Coffee Affection relates that simple can sometimes be best: “Yes, it’s that simple. If you want one of the best cold brew drinks at Starbucks, simply add a little milk. The best part is, you can choose the milk you want: almond milk, coconut milk, plain milk, or whatever suits your taste. You’ll get the great taste of cold brew with a hint of sweetness to make it great.”

This is a smooth and mild way to enjoy cold brew. “Of course, not everyone likes to drink their coffee black, even when the drink in question is cold brew. That’s why we have to get on board with Starbucks’ cold brew coffee with milk. It adds a layer of creaminess to the equation that makes every sip that much more approachable,” notes Tasting Table.

6. Straight Cold Brew

Steeped slow for 20 hours, Starbucks Cold Brew packs a smooth, naturally sweet punch. According to Tasting Table, “if you already know you love iced coffee, but you’re looking for a more interesting flavor, cold brew is probably exactly what you’re looking for. Since it does have that natural sweetness to it, you don’t have to add anything to make it delicious — it’s smooth, rich, and sweet all on its own.”

Its chilled embrace offers a less acidic escape for coffee lovers seeking a bold, convenient buzz. Restaurant Clicks likes how the long brew time extracts deep flavors, writing, “A grande size cup will give you a nice jolt of 205 mg of caffeine. There are only five calories in this simple cold brew and no sugar is added. Of course, that will change if you decide to customize it with one of the many syrup options available.”

It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this when ordering coffee. “The Starbucks cold brew coffee is the standard cold brew coffee that you can purchase without any syrups or sweeteners. You can add various flavors to this coffee because it is a simple baseline for many other flavored cold brews on the menu,” writes Your Dream Coffee.

7. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks’ Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew marries the smooth, potent punch of cold brew with house-made vanilla sweet cream. It’s not your average iced latte, but a cool, sophisticated take on a classic caffeine fix. Coffee Geek says, “If I’m feeling a little fancy and in search of a sweeter experience, I reach for the Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew. It’s ever-so-slightly less sweet than the regular cold brew, but the added creaminess makes it a divine treat. It’s like my regular Nitro Cold Brew got dressed up for a night on the town.”

Your Dream Coffee assures that the vanilla notes in this drink are top notch: “It is definitely a go-to when you prefer a coffee that doesn’t make you purse your lips every time you have to take a sip. It isn’t bitter in the slightest!”

Why do experts love it? “The Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew ranks higher on our list for the ever-so-slight reduction in sweetness, and, of course, the added caffeine. When you order a cold brew, you’re probably looking for a decent dose of the stuff, and trust us when we say that this drink will help you wake up no matter what time of day it is,” mentions Tasting Table.

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About Alan Corona

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