We aren’t going to tell you that Starbucks is behind the best coffee in the world. But for a giant company with locations on pretty much every street corner on the planet, the convenience is pretty tasty. And, if you order right, you can come away with something that resembles the work of a real barista.
Sure, there’s a lot to joke about when you’re this popular. The Pumpkin Spice Latte has become an annual event more than a drink, and people wait every year to see what the holiday cup might look like. We’ve all stood behind the person with a ridiculous order (extra pumps, any number of creamer substitutes, and oh, make it decaf), and many of us love a good, clean Starbucks bathroom during a road trip.
But let’s not forget that the mega chain does coffee, too. Not the most expensive coffee in the world nor fun grown-up drinks like Irish Coffee (St. Patrick’s Day is on its way), but a lot of coffee and tea-based options. If you find yourself in a Starbucks in 2022, a near certainty, try one of these five standout drinks out.
It’s no surprise that a company that specializes in a solid standard latte would make some good flavored ones, too. This relatively new addition to the menu puts forth the nutty flavor of pistachio, which complements the roasted elements of the espresso nicely. There’s even a salted brown butter topping if you want to make the thing a dessert, but we just like the drink as is. In fact, add an extra shot of espresso for the best balance of flavor, not to mention a jolt of energy.
Texturally, this drink is hard to beat, unless you go the nitro route. A blend of steamed milk and espresso, it’s softer than a traditional latte and often more caffeinated. The espresso flavor can’t really hide anywhere, so the drink is forced to flex the might of its bean sourcing. We suggest one right after lunch, when you feel like a nap, but work says otherwise. If you want something a little different, try the honey almond milk version.
Reserve Nitro Cold Brew
Starbucks turns just about all of their drinks into iced versions, but they don’t all translate well. The ice can dilute the drink quickly, especially on a hot day (those days are coming, by the way). So, risk nothing with this cold brew option, always served chilled and retaining its integrity until the very last sip. Coffee critics were skeptical with the company’s decision to go the cold brew route as it can be tricky to pull off (no, you don’t just chill down regular coffee), but the results are of quality.
Matcha Tea Latte
Starbucks would be silly not to hop aboard the matcha train. This hot latte is easy on the eye and showcases matcha’s one-of-a-kind vegetal, green, leafy flavor. Try hitting it with a shot of blonde espresso and a little honey, although the regular version is quite good. Matcha fans will argue that you won’t crash quite as hard once the stimulating power of the drink wears off, and we tend to agree.
This is one of the chain’s most popular and refreshing drinks, a mix of strawberries, acai berries, coconut milk, and ice. It’s a pretty pink hue and sips like a warm spring breeze. You can add additional tea if you want more of a caffeine kick, although there is caffeine in the acai base. If you are coffee’d out for the day but still want a little something to mobilize you, this is the way to go.
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