Best Starbucks Drinks: Top 5 Beverages Most Recommended Across Expert Reviews

Starbucks offers an enticing array of beverages that have garnered a loyal following worldwide. From the rich and velvety indulgence of a classic latte to the refreshing zing of an icy refresher, the best Starbucks drinks are consistently crafted to suit every palate. Each sip is a delightful journey characterized by expertly blended flavors, artful presentations, and a commitment to quality that has made Starbucks a household name among coffee and tea enthusiasts.

Believe it or not, the caffeine in your Starbucks order may benefit your heart health. While science has long debated the benefits of coffee, a recent study finds that drinking two or three cups a day could add years to your life by keeping your heart healthy. Researchers found that the world’s most popular beverage lowers the risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms — helping people live longer. The study reveals this benefit applies to healthy individuals and those with cardiovascular disease.

Plus, researchers in Portugal found that people who regularly drink coffee are more alert and see more activity in their brains. According to the European Food Safety Authority, moderate coffee consumption is typically three to five cups per day. In the new study, researchers from the University of Minho reveal consuming this much caffeine each day can make coffee drinkers more focused while also displaying greater memory and learning abilities.

If moderate coffee consumption is part of your daily routine, a trip to Starbucks is probably in your not-too-distant future. Whether you’re a regular looking to switch up your typical order, or a total Starbucks beginner, there are plenty of delicious drinks that are well worth a try. From enduring classics to brand new favorites, there’s an order out there for every customer. To help you prepare for your next trip to the drive-through, StudyFinds sought out expert opinions on the best Starbucks drinks. This list includes the most frequently recommended beverages, but as always, be sure to let us know if you have a favorite we missed in the comments!

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

The List: Best Starbucks Drinks, According to Experts

1. Pumpkin Spice Latte

For many of us, one of the first markers of autumn is the return of the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. This indulgent beverage is a cocktail of warm flavors like pumpkin, vanilla, and cinnamon, all topped with Starbucks’ signature house-made whipped cream. As Coffee At Three says, “what’s fall without the PSL, a drink so popular you can refer to it by its initials and everyone knows what you’re talking about. The Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice sauce.”

You may be thinking that this drink is too overrated to deserve the top spot, but experts disagree. All the rave reviews have to be worth something, and that’s not to mention the serious staying power of the PSL. “The Pumpkin Spice Latte is probably the most-memed drink on this entire list,” notes Tasting Table. “‘Basic’ jokes are most often targeted at its drinkers, but critics of the Pumpkin Spice Latte surely have never tasted it before. If they had, they would think twice; this is both an infamous and delicious Starbucks drink.”

“Make fun all you want, but there’s a reason the Pumpkin Spice Latte is an icon among boring beverages,” adds Thrillist. “While it can occasionally come out a little overly sweet (you can always ask for less syrup), it’s a treat. The espresso is the perfect compliment to the latte’s pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove combo.”

2. Brown Sugar Oat milk Shaken Espresso

This drink is a relatively new addition to the Starbucks menu, but it’s made a big impression. Made with creamy oat milk and the warm sweetness of brown sugar syrup, this iced beverage became a near instant classic. “Between seasonal drinks and shaken espresso, Starbucks really knows what they’re doing,” raves Taste of Home. “Do we want to buy a brown sugar shaken espresso every day? Yes. Does the bank account cry a little every time we do? Double yes.”

“Baristas add ground cinnamon, Blonde espresso shots, and four pumps of brown sugar syrup together, then shake them. The result is a drink that’s already been perfectly mixed. Do you know how people with those green straws are always twirling their iced coffee cup to mix it? This drink makes it so that you never have to do it ever again,” notes Tasting Table. “Also, the brown sugar flavor is nostalgic and sensory (just like how Starbucks wants to be). It’s there to remind you of simple memories like baking cookies while sipping your morning coffee.”

As an added bonus, the standard recipe for this drink is 100% vegan. Whether you are lactose intolerant, plant-based, or just love the taste of oat milk, you won’t have to double check that this order was made with the right milk. As Homegrounds says, “this shaken espresso is your best bet if you want a cool, refreshing drink based on Starbucks’s Blond Espresso. This is a vegan treat you can’t miss out on, made with a delicious blend of brown sugar, cinnamon, Blond Espresso, and oat milk.”

3. Pink Drink

If coffee isn’t your jam, this pastel beverage is about to become your new best friend. The Pink Drink began as a fan creation but grew enough popularity that it earned an official spot on the Starbucks menu. Made with refreshing coconut milk, strawberries, and a strawberry açaí base, it’s definitely a summer must-try. “The Starbucks drink is simply the chain’s Strawberry Açaí Refresher made with coconut milk and one scoop of sliced strawberries, and the result is light, refreshing, and fruity,” claims Tasting Table. “The flavor has been likened to that of a pink Starburst.”

Even if you’re a diehard coffee lover, sometimes it’s nice to have something a little different. For those days where you’re looking to switch it up, this Refresher offers a pretty pink alternative. As one Thrillist reviewer says, “while it’s not necessarily my idea of an everyday order, it is refreshing and a sweet deviation to my usual coffee routine. The fresh strawberries are a bonus!”

Of course, this drink is delicious, but it’s also undeniably beautiful to look at. If you need a pick-me-up or a fun drink to pose for summer photos with, you can’t go wrong with a Pink Drink. “This drink looks pretty in pink and is excellent on a hot summer’s day,” adds Food Drink Life. “If you love fruity and sweet pink beverages, this is the ideal drink!”

4. Caramel Frappuccino

Caramel lovers rejoice! This frozen beverage beautifully blends flavors of coffee and caramel to make a delicious Starbucks classic. Topped with an artful swirl of whipped cream and caramel drizzle, this drink is ready to be photographed for your Instagram story. “The classic Caramel Frappuccino is sweet, has a hint of coffee flavor, a very creamy texture, and a loads of caramel flavor,” says Let’s Eat Cake. “If you don’t like coffee, but still need that caffeine boost, this one’s for you. Hope you don’t mind if sugar tags along.”

If you’re looking for bold coffee flavor and minimal sweetness, run far away from this drink. But if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll likely find the Caramel Frappuccino to be an instant favorite. As Coffee At Three explains, “this drink is like a meeting of two Starbucks classics: the caramel macchiato and the Frappuccino. Although some might call this drink slightly too sweet, it is common to ask for extra caramel.”

Some Starbucks lovers say the toothache inducing sweetness of the Caramel Frappuccino is just part of the fun. It may not be an everyday drink, but it sure is an enduring favorite. As Taste of Home asks, “if you don’t run to the car just to scrape up all the caramel-drizzled whipped cream before it melts, did you even consume this Frappuccino properly? It’s a classic for good reason!”

5. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

If you love the taste of coffee but don’t mind when it’s paired with a hint of sweetness, this drink is for you. Marrying the bold flavors of cold brew with the creamy sweetness of vanilla sweet cream, you’ll get a strong hit of caffeine that goes down easy. It’s the perfect order for a coffee aficionado that isn’t quite ready to make the leap to black coffee. As Delish puts it, “it packs all the punch of a good cold brew, but cuts the overt coffee flavor with the addition of vanilla sweet cream.”

The Starbucks menu is full of complicated drinks with long ingredient lists, but sometimes it’s best to keep things simple. When you aren’t feeling anything complex, opt for this tried-and-true beverage. “Coffee drinks that don’t overpower your tastebuds are always a delight,” says Taste of Home. “The vanilla sweet cream cold brew drink may sound sophisticated, but in reality, it’s sweet and simple.”

“It’s incredible what a little splash of Starbucks’ sweet cream can do to elevate its regular cold brew. That sweetness cuts through the bitterness, but isn’t overpowering,” adds Thrillist. “As an added bonus, it’s pretty trippy to watch the cream spread out in the ultra-dark coffee.”

Editor’s Choice: Chai Tea Latte

“Yes, Starbucks is a coffee shop first — but let’s not forget it’s got some decent tea options too. Though I’ve only turned into a coffee drinker myself in the past couple of years, the Starbucks’ Chai Tea Latte is still a favorite of mine when I’m in the mood for something other than coffee that’s sweet and will give me a jolt,” says StudyFinds Editor-in-Chief Steve Fink. “It’s not going to wake me up like a caffe latte might, but it’s definitely a nice midday treat!”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.