The 17 Best-Value Drinks To Order At Starbucks

Navigating the plethora of options at Starbucks can sometimes feel daunting. Before you realize it, you might find yourself stepping out of the store with an extravagantly priced blended concoction in your hand, wondering whether the taste will justify the cost. This scenario is all too familiar for many Starbucks customers, especially if you're a novice to the menu or an infrequent visitor. We empathize.

Rest assured that Starbucks offers an array of beverages that are not only delightful but also won't break the bank. Plus, some hidden value gems on the Starbucks menu often go unnoticed because they don't share the limelight with their more ostentatious or viral counterparts. To unearth the best value at a global chain like Starbucks, it often requires a bit of patience to familiarize yourself with the menu to make informed financial decisions. Please note that throughout these comparisons and menu analyses, the prices of items are based on the prices they were at the time this article was written. Please also be aware the prices near you may vary (we found out the hard way!).

Espresso con panna

While some of the more picturesque drinks at Starbucks tend to get the majority of the attention, some more simple drinks at Starbucks should also get their time in the sun. For an ultra delicious and surprisingly caffeinated quick drink, check out the espresso con panna.

For this one, you will only shell out $3.45. With that, you get two espresso shots and a nice whipped cream dollop. Since Starbucks flavors its whipped cream with vanilla syrup, you also get a little vanilla flavoring, and — for a little extra — you can ask for added flavor syrup if you can't quite do just espresso and whipped cream. We are firm believers that you can make any coffee better by simply adding whipped cream, and this drink is a shining example of that fact. 

This is also an excellent drink to add any of Starbucks' specialty sprinkles. Any extras that get put on top of seasonal Frappuccinos or even the classics and the classic cinnamon dolce sprinkles are fair game here.

Espresso macchiato

If you prefer the bold espresso flavors, try the Starbucks espresso macchiato. Unlike the espresso con panna, where your espresso is paired with a dollop of vanilla-flavored whipped cream, the espresso macchiato takes a simpler approach.

In an espresso macchiato, your barista will top your potent espresso shots with just a dash of foamed milk. This results in a beverage that retains the robust character of the espresso, softened slightly with the creamy addition of milk. However, since no sweetener is added, you get to appreciate the true, unadulterated essence of the espresso.

What's more, the espresso macchiato costs the same as an espresso con panna, so you can enjoy this stripped-down, yet flavorful, espresso drink without incurring any extra expense. Of course, you can add some flavoring or alternative milk if you wish, but that will, of course, cost a little more than the drink will with just steamed milk and espresso.

Brewed Coffee

Perhaps the simplest drink you can get at Starbucks is the classic brewed coffee. Baristas take time to refresh and rebrew coffee as needed throughout the day, so you can bet there is always a fresh pot available.

One of the major benefits of Starbucks' freshly brewed coffee is that you don't have to wait very long for it. At most locations, after your barista rings you up, they will immediately pour the coffee into a cup and hand it to you. On only very rare occasions will you need to wait at the other end of the bar for a barista to hand you a drink; it's almost instantaneous. 

Plus, the price is pretty spectacular. A Grande cup of brewed coffee will set you back just $3.45. The same-size latte with no added flavoring will cost $5.25. With brewed coffee, you can still add whipped cream, a splash of cream, and even your favorite flavoring for only $3.75.

Chai tea

When exploring the assortment of chai-based beverages at Starbucks, your primary options boil down to two quintessential drinks: chai latte and chai tea. Each boasts its unique preparation method and flavor profile, thus offering a divergent experience for your taste buds.

The chai latte is a luscious treat crafted using a rich, spicy chai concentrate and steamed milk. This results in a creamy beverage that seamlessly melds the comforting warmth of chai with the smoothness of milk, creating a luxuriously frothy delight.

On the other hand, its chai tea is a nod to the traditional roots of this beverage. Brewed using chai tea bags, this option provides a taste of chai's heritage. The preparation involves steeping the tea in hot water, which enhances the bold flavors of the spices and gives you a more genuine chai experience. Plus, you will find that this drink is generally around $2 cheaper than its latte counterpart. 

Iced chai latte

We love a cold chai, and Starbucks offers a few different base options for getting your chai a little chilly. Our top picks are the iced chai latte and the chai Frappuccino. Between these two, the iced chai latte comes with a more appealing price tag.

What's more, when you opt for an iced chai latte, you're treated to double the amount of chai concentrate compared to the chai Frappuccino. With each sip, you'll enjoy a much more robust chai flavor. On the flip side, the chai Frappuccino does offer a slightly smoother texture owing to its blended nature, but the taste of the iced chai latte outshines it in terms of vibrancy.

In our view, the iced chai latte gives you more flavorful delight for your dollar. Not only does it offer a stronger chai flavor due to the extra concentrate, but it's also more cost-effective than the chai Frappuccino. Plus, in the fall, you can get it with pumpkin cold foam.

Iced coffee

If you find that an iced tea just won't suffice in fulfilling your caffeine requirements, then an iced coffee stands as your next logical choice at Starbucks. You can enjoy a chilled, sweetened iced coffee for just an additional dollar compared to the iced tea. This invigorating beverage is sure to deliver that much-needed caffeine kick, providing you with a big energy boost to power through your day.

Moreover, the economics of Starbucks rewards make this a savvy choice. An iced coffee and an iced tea only require a balance of 100 stars in your Starbucks rewards account for a complimentary drink. This is in contrast to other handcrafted beverages, such as lattes, which demand a higher tally of 200 stars. Hence, an iced coffee serves as an effective strategy to balance your caffeine needs, spending, and reward point utilization. By choosing an iced coffee, you effectively halve the reward points you'd need to use for a free drink compared to some of the more elaborate beverages. 

Iced Americano

We love a cold coffee as much as the next Starbucks fan, but purchasing the drink daily can become a pricey habit. However, with a bit of clever ordering, you can actually boost your caffeine intake while easing the strain on your wallet. The secret? Opt for an iced Americano instead of your usual iced coffee.

When you order an iced Americano, you'll be served a refreshing blend of ice, water, and potent espresso shots instead of iced coffee. The beauty of this swap is that you'll not only be paying less, but you'll also be getting a more substantial caffeine kick. To illustrate, a Grande Iced Coffee contains 165 milligrams of caffeine, whereas a Grande Iced Americano packs a hefty 225 milligrams. Furthermore, the iced Americano is just as versatile as an iced coffee in terms of customization. Whether you prefer your beverage with a splash of milk, a hint of vanilla, or an extra shot of espresso, you can tailor your iced Americano to your exact preferences.

Steamed apple juice

As the autumn leaves start to fall, many yearn for the comforting embrace of warm apple cider. Starbucks caters to this seasonal craving with its delightful caramel apple spice drink. This comforting beverage is a blend of cinnamon dolce syrup and steamed apple juice, topped with a cloud of whipped cream and a tantalizing swirl of caramel. Not only is it a taste of autumn in a cup, but it's also a fantastic, kid-friendly beverage option. However, for budget-conscious people, there's a savvy trick to enjoy a similar treat at a reduced cost.

Rather than ordering the caramel apple spice directly, try requesting steamed apple juice with an addition of cinnamon dolce syrup and a crown of whipped cream. This customized concoction closely mirrors the taste profile of the caramel apple spice but will save you a dollar, even with the flavored syrup and whipped cream additions.

However, note that if you're placing your order through the app, you won't have the option to add the caramel drizzle. But fear not; if you're ordering in person, you can request this extra touch. 

Coffee Traveler

When you're tasked with orchestrating a coffee run for a sizable group, ordering individualized drinks to cater to everyone's distinct preferences might be alluring. However, if your group is one that appreciates straightforward coffee options, we suggest opting for Starbucks' Coffee Traveler. This efficient solution offers 96 ounces of freshly brewed coffee and comes with 8-ounce cups, all for a total of $20.

By doing the math, you'll find that this package provides around 12 8-ounce servings of coffee. This translates to roughly $1.50 per cup. Compared to a regular 8-ounce cup of coffee at Starbucks, which typically costs $2.85, the savings are substantial.

Moreover, the Coffee Traveler comes in an exceedingly practical and portable container, making transporting the coffee to your destination supremely convenient. Whether you're heading into a large staff meeting, hosting a social gathering, or even helping a friend move, this solution is perfect for any scenario that requires serving coffee to a crowd.

Hot tea

In Starbucks' myriad coffee-centric offerings, it can be easy to overlook the equally enticing range of tea beverages. However, these should not be left in the shadows, as they present some of the most cost-effective choices available at the coffeehouse giant. One of the reasons we love tea at Starbucks is because the pricing is generally more wallet-friendly compared to the traditional latte. And the array of tea options is far from limited: from invigorating green teas to calming herbal infusions, there's a blend to suit every tea drinker.

Furthermore, Starbucks collaborates with Teavana for its hot tea range. Teavana is renowned for its high-quality, flavorful tea blends, ensuring that your hot tea selection at Starbucks is not just affordable but also delectable. Whether you prefer the classic earl grey or the soothing Peach Tranquility, you will find a delicious Teavana tea to fit your taste. Please be warned, however, this tea comes out pipping hot, so give it a moment to rest before enjoying it.

Honey Citrus Mint Tea

Once upon a time, there was an item on the secret menu at Starbucks known as the Medicine Ball. However, due to its massive popularity and frequent appearance on baristas' orders, this hidden gem gradually made its way onto the regular menu. Today, you'll find this comforting concoction under the name Honey Citrus Mint Tea.

This soothing beverage carries the same essence as the original secret menu item; it's a harmonious blend of steeped tea and hot lemonade, sweetened with the natural goodness of honey. The combination results in a soothing, flavorful drink that is not just delightful to the palate but can also help ward off any cold symptoms you might be experiencing. It's truly a cup of warm comfort that can be enjoyed anytime.

From a pricing perspective, the Honey Citrus Mint Tea is more affordable than many other Starbucks beverages, making it a great option for those seeking a budget-friendly treat. However, keep in mind that, due to its additional ingredients, it is slightly pricier than the standard hot tea drink.

Iced tea

If you find yourself craving a revitalizing, light-on-the-palate drink, we firmly believe that the iced tea offerings at Starbucks are an unbeatable choice. This chilled, fragrant beverage is refreshingly delightful on top of being a great deal. The iced tea is typically a full dollar cheaper than the iced coffee, making it a budget-friendly option for your caffeinated needs.

Even more appealing is the free refill option available with your iced tea. Yes, that's right; Starbucks offers complimentary refills on their iced tea. Simply finish your initial drink, then approach the counter with your Starbucks rewards information on your phone and ask for your refill. This policy is a delicious way to extend your Starbucks experience without stretching your budget.

What is the perfect way to maximize this perk? Leisurely sip on your iced tea while perusing the aisles of Target. Once you've finished your drink, head back to the Starbucks counter within the store and ask for your free refill.

Steamed milk

Every toddler aspires to emulate their grown-ups, and Starbucks offers a few delightful options that allow your little ones to enjoy their very own drink — minus the caffeine. One such child-friendly favorite is the humble steamed milk. It will even come in a white Starbucks cup, so your kiddo will be plenty pleased.

This simple yet comforting beverage can be customized to your child's preference. You can order it in a kid's size at a lower temperature so there is no risk of them burning themselves, and request additional enhancements such as whipped cream and flavoring. This creates a tailored, child-friendly beverage that resembles the adult drinks at Starbucks.

By ordering this way, you'll end up with a drink similar to the Starbucks Vanilla Creme made with steamed milk, vanilla, and whipped cream. However, your customized steamed milk will cost less than the standard Vanilla Creme, providing a more economical option. This clever ordering hack allows you to customize your child's drink to their liking while making a more cost-effective choice.

Honey Almondmilk Flat White

Flat whites hold a special place in our hearts when it comes to Starbucks offerings. They present a delicious and robust coffee experience that's a bit different from your regular latte. The key distinctions lie in the type of espresso shot and milk used in the preparation. In Starbucks flat white, baristas employ a ristretto shot, which is a concentrated, smaller volume of coffee that packs a richer taste. The drink is prepared with whole milk instead of 2% for the milk component, giving it a creamier texture and a more luxurious taste.

While a classic flat white is undeniably delightful, for a mere 30 cents more you can introduce a unique twist to your drink by ordering a Honey Almondmilk Flat White instead. This drink, by default, is made with almond milk and sweetened with a touch of honey. This customization creates an intriguing flavor profile and offers a delectable alternative for those steering clear of dairy. The result is a rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious beverage.

Blended Strawberry Lemonade

If you're yearning for a blended beverage at Starbucks, it's easy for your thoughts to gravitate toward a Frappuccino. And even if you're craving something fruity, the Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino stands out as a wonderfully refreshing choice. However, consider exploring the Blended Strawberry Lemonade for an equally delightful yet more budget-friendly option.

This tantalizing concoction of fruitiness and tartness isn't some secret menu item; it's part of Starbucks' regular menu. You'll find it listed under juice in the app, and what's more, it's open to additional customization. Consider adding flavored syrups like peppermint or vanilla, or topping with a drizzle of mocha sauce.

The highlight? The Blended Strawberry Lemonade comes at a full dollar less than the Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino. So, you'll be able to savor a delectable, caffeine-free beverage without putting as much strain on your wallet.


If blended lemonades don't quite tickle your fancy, don't worry. Another delightful option awaits you at Starbucks: the iced lemonade. Often, when we're contemplating an iced tea lemonade or a Refresher lemonade, we're really seeking a super-chilled, fruit-filled beverage to satiate our thirst. Fortunately, achieving this can be far less expensive by simply ordering an iced lemonade.

Moreover, the beauty of Starbucks' iced lemonade is that it can be customized with any additional syrups or inclusions of your choice. Whether you fancy a hint of raspberry or a splash of peach, these additions can infuse your drink with a unique flavor twist. Even with these added customizations, your personalized iced lemonade will still be more economical than a Refresher lemonade. We highly recommend ordering your lemonade in either a Venti or Trenta size. With the amount of ice included in these drinks, the liquid proportion can be slightly disappointing unless you end up ordering a bigger size. 

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

The latte is a cornerstone of the Starbucks experience. It's a versatile beverage that can be embellished with a plethora of flavorings and milk options to match your exact preferences. However, there's one variant on the menu that offers a unique value proposition: the Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

When you select a Cinnamon Dolce Latte, you can enjoy a Grande size for $5.65, and for only 10 cents more, you can also enjoy it iced. Now, if you were to take a standard latte and customize it with cinnamon dolce syrup, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon dolce topping, the cost would climb to $6.55. This interesting comparison reveals that the pre-configured Cinnamon Dolce Latte, with all its flavorful enhancements, is actually less expensive than its custom-built counterpart. If you're looking for a sweet and tasty drink, you really can't go wrong with a Cinnamon Dolce Latte.