The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: Summer Cheatsheet

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Searching for a cold, refreshing iced coffee but feeling overwhelmed by the menu at Starbucks? Yeah, we feel you.

From secret, off-menu drink orders to blended, milkshake-resembling coffee drinks, the coffee retailer’s concoctions can be a bit of a departure from, well, coffee.

But fear not, fellow coffee enthusiasts. Starbucks has a variety of iced coffee beverages that will satisfy even the most selective coffee consumers.

The trick is knowing which coffee drink to order, and we’re here to help you with that.

Ordering an iced coffee shouldn’t be complicated, so we’ve rounded up the best iced coffee orders at Starbucks to keep you cool and caffeinated all summer long.

The Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks

Starbucks is known for its coffee innovation, and the iced coffees on the menu certainly live up to its reputation.

But some beverages simply taste better hot, while others shine over ice. Knowing which iced coffees to order at Starbucks will change your coffee experience.

I mean, what exactly is an iced coffee anyway?

Iced coffee is a general term that is used to describe several different types of iced caffeinated beverages. There are flavor nuances in each preparation that make them unique.

Let’s take a look at the various types of iced coffees and the differences between them before diving into the best iced coffees at Starbucks.

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Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is just what it sounds like. It is coffee brewed hot, then poured over ice. Done.

Iced coffee is straightforward to prepare and totally delicious.

Starbucks offers basic iced coffee or iced coffee with milk options on the menu, and all of the Clover brewed coffees over ice.

The flavor of iced coffee is less pronounced than some of its cold coffee counterparts due in part to the hot extraction process and the dilution of the coffee from the ice.

Iced coffee is blander overall and lacks the subtle nuances of cold brew coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee

What’s cold brew coffee?

Cold brew is a deliciously refreshing iced coffee beverage that you can find in your local grocery store, grab at just about any coffee shop, or even easily make at home.

What makes cold brew different from other cold coffee drinks lies mainly in the brewing process.

The term “cold brew” actually refers to the brewing method and not to the serving temperature. Cold brew steeps slowly (like 12+ hours slow) at room temperature versus regular coffee brewed hot in mere minutes.

Cold brew coffee is extraordinarily smooth and less acidic than traditional iced coffee.

Starbucks offers various cold brew options, and you’ll find a few gracing our list below.

Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro cold brew is cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen for an ultra-creamy, velvety texture. It is sinfully delicious.

Nitro cold brew is served without ice, which is an essential factor to consider when ordering. While you won’t experience additional dilution from the ice, your beverage won’t stay cold very long unless it’s in an insulated mug.

Chug, chug.

Iced Espresso

Iced espresso, like iced coffee, is espresso brewed hot then poured over ice. It’s delicious as is or when combined with your favorite milk.

When milk is added to an iced espresso, it’s instantly transformed into an iced latte, iced flat white, iced macchiato, or iced mocha.

The type of milk and order in which the ingredients are combined are the main differentiating factors between these beverages, other than the mocha, which also includes cocoa in all preparations.

Starbucks is most well known for its espresso-based beverages, and the iced espresso drinks are no exception.

You’ll notice that these preparations are listed separately on the Starbucks menu, which adds to the confusion a bit. 

An iced macchiato and an iced latte, for all intents and purposes, will taste nearly identical despite the differences in preparation, so don’t get too wrapped up in the names of the drinks. 

Focus on the ingredients, and you can’t go wrong. If you don’t own an espresso machine, ordering espresso drinks at Starbucks is the way to go.

The Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

1. Starbucks Reserve Nitro Cold Brew

No surprise here; our top pick of the best iced coffees at Starbucks is a nitro cold brew. This particular cold brew is a newer addition to the Starbucks lineup, and we can’t get enough.

The Starbucks Reserve coffee is a unique small-lot roast with exceptional flavor and depth. The nuances of the roast shine through in this bright, chocolatey, smooth cold brew.

This cold brew is served without ice, making it an exceptional value compared to other iced coffees from Starbucks.

Add milk or sweetener to your liking, or consume this beauty just as she comes. This cold brew has 280 mg of caffeine and 0 sugar as served.

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

2. Iced Shaken Blonde Espresso

The Iced Shaken Espresso is a delightfully refreshing drink for summer. But we take it one step further and swap the traditional espresso for Starbucks Blonde Espresso.

We find the blonde espresso less bitter than the regular espresso, making it particularly delicious over ice. We also love the subtle fruity notes of the roast.

The shaken espresso is essentially a few shots of espresso mixed with a bit of syrup and a splash of milk. Just about perfect if you ask me.

But if you prefer it less sweet or without milk, simply customize it to your liking. As served, the Iced Shaken Blonde Espresso has 225 mg of caffeine and 14 g of sugar.

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

3. Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew

This is a pretty special iced coffee. It tops our best iced coffees at Starbucks because of its addictive salty-sweet characteristics.

This cold brew comes in a nitro version, but we prefer to order this flavor without the nitro. The caramel cream gives this cold brew a richness that benefits from a bit of dilution from the ice. 

It’s a bit extra for us on nitro, but if you like a rich, sweet beverage, it might be right up your alley.

This is one of the more indulgent iced coffees on our list, with 280 mg of caffeine and a whopping 23 g of sugar. But 100% worth it.

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

4. Starbucks Reserve Iced Latte

We love a classic iced latte, and the Starbucks Reserve Iced Latte is no exception. The small-lot reserve espresso has a delicious roasty quality without any bitterness. 

It’s a bit more robust than the blonde roast but lacks the harshness that’s sometimes associated with Starbucks espresso roast.

Lattes are notoriously milky and smooth and go down oh-so-easy. Customize this iced latte as you like with any type of milk or sweetener, but we like it just as it comes.

The standard preparation for this iced coffee is two shots of reserve espresso with whole milk. As served, the Reserve Iced Latte has 135 mg of caffeine and 16 g of sugar.

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

5. Iced Honey Almond Milk Flat White

This Iced Flat White from Starbucks is like summer in a cup. With almond milk in place of conventional whole milk, it’s a much lighter version of a flat white.

The Iced Honey Almond Milk Flat White is made with Starbucks Blonde Espresso, almond milk, and a touch of honey for the perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness.

But what is a flat white?

What makes a flat white different from a latte is the use of ristretto espresso shots. A ristretto shot is made using the same espresso roast like a traditional shot, but less water is pushed through the grounds, resulting in a smaller, more concentrated shot with a sweeter, richer taste.

The Iced Honey Almond Milk Flat White is absolutely perfect as served, with 225 mg of caffeine and 17 g of sugar.

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

No list of the best iced coffees at Starbucks would be complete without the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. This drink is basically perfect.

This is a go-to order for me when anyone is making a Starbucks run. It’s easy to order and even easier to drink. Much like the Caramel Cream Cold Brew, the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew has a beautiful sweet foam cascading through the cold brew, sweetening it just enough.

It’s light, refreshing, and just the right balance of sweetness and milk. As served, the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew has 185 mg of caffeine and 14 g of sugar.

The 7 Best Iced Coffees At Starbucks: An Easy Cheatsheet

7. Iced Caffé Americano

Last but in no way least is the classic Iced Americano. We feature it in our roundup of the best iced coffees at Starbucks because this fabulous iced coffee option is often overlooked (primarily out of confusion over what it actually is).

An Americano, or Iced Americano, is the European version of “American” coffee. It’s essentially espresso with a shot of water over the top, which creates a light layer of crema.

The result is a surprisingly robust and beautifully smooth cup of iced coffee with depth and nuance. I love it with a splash of milk and sugar, but it is wonderfully refreshing as is.

As served, this classic has 225 mg of caffeine and 0 sugar.