12 Overrated Starbucks Drinks You Should Avoid

It's no secret that Starbucks has been facing heightened controversy lately, between union-busting activities and removing Pride Month decor from their stores. But the company should also be facing controversy for some of the drinks it's decided to release on its menu. Some of these drinks have somehow gained widespread popularity and now haunt the dreams of anyone with functioning taste buds. Many of Starbucks' signature drinks have become so overhyped at this point, it's like we've forgotten what actually makes a good cup of coffee.

We've decided to dig into some of Starbucks' most celebrated drinks to figure out which ones have gotten way, way too much hype. Some of them just aren't as good as their popularity may lead you to believe. Others, though, are downright bad, and we don't know how they even made it onto a menu in the first place. But just because they've achieved widespread popularity doesn't mean that you should order these drinks yourself. Let's take a closer look at these overrated Starbucks drinks that you should avoid the next time you're at the chain.

Pink Drink

Let's be honest: The real reason why the Pink Drink got so much press for a while is because of the way it looks. It's undoubtedly an Instagrammable drink, with its light pink, milky hue studded with pieces of strawberry that stick to the side of the plastic cup. If all you want to do with your Pink Drink is take a picture of it, then sure, go ahead and order it. But if you're the kind of person who actually wants to drink the beverage they ordered, you may want to skip the Pink Drink entirely.

This drink is supposed to be acai-flavored, but you're mostly just getting a light, unremarkable fruity taste that's more reminiscent of strawberries than any fruit you would find in a tropical locale. The strawberries themselves are freeze-dried and add very little in terms of flavor to the drink — the most they'll do is break into pieces and get stuck in your straw, eventually forcing you to pull hard strawberry chunks from your mouth with your hands. The coconut milk gives this drink that milky texture it's known for, but because the flavor is so subtle, it doesn't do much to help the final product. If you ask us, the Pink Drink is only on the menu because it's so social media-friendly.

White Chocolate Mocha

The White Chocolate Mocha is a culinary sin on so many levels. First of all, it's a debasement of plain espresso, which should be enjoyed so as to actually pick up on the complexity of flavors hidden in your cup. Instead, Starbucks drowns its espresso in "chocolate." But they don't use just any chocolate — they use white chocolate, which isn't technically chocolate at all. Rather, they're basically just adding flavored sugar to the drink. That's perhaps why you feel like you need to brush your teeth at least three times after you finish this drink.

The addition of whipped cream on top is just an announcement to anyone in the vicinity that this is the first coffee you've ever drunk in your entire life. If you actually like the taste of coffee, there's no need to hide it under multiple layers of sugar in different forms. Instead of ordering a White Chocolate Mocha, just get your caffeine fix from a Coke or a Red Bull — we know you'd rather have that instead. And if you're not in it for the caffeine? There are plenty of places that sell milkshakes or marshmallow-topped hot chocolate that will probably give you a better experience than the one you'll get drinking a White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks.

S'mores Frappuccino

If we have a problem with the White Chocolate Mocha, you know that we have nothing good to say about the S'mores Frappuccino. Any kind of Frappuccino at all is getting dangerously close to ice cream territory, but the S'mores Frappuccino specifically takes it over the edge. There's coffee in there, sure, but it's almost entirely eclipsed by the flavor of the milk chocolate sauce, vanilla, and marshmallow-infused whipped cream. We're not sure why the sugar in this drink has to come from so many sources. If they're going to make this drink marshmallow-flavored, you think they'd at least use dark chocolate to balance some of that sweetness out.

But not. Apparently, Starbucks is in the business of targeting people with sweet tooths so intense that they'll likely soon need dentures. If you asked us what this drink tastes like, we wouldn't tell you that it tasted like good times around the campfire. Rather, it's more akin to pouring a single shot of mid-tier espresso over a pile of Domino sugar and trying to sip it all through a straw.

If you're looking for a dessert and are fine ingesting several days' worth of sugar in one sitting, then the S'mores Frappuccino may just be for you. If you're actually looking for coffee, though, you've got the wrong drink.

Hot Chocolate

We're not going to hate on Starbucks' Hot Chocolate too badly because it's actually not one of the worst drinks on the menu. When it comes to fast food hot chocolate, it's probably hard to find one that tastes better than Starbucks' take on the wintertime classic. Their hot chocolate is topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup to give it some more flavor and texture. Is this drink very, very sweet? Yes. But so is all hot chocolate — that's kind of the point. We probably wouldn't order this drink on a regular basis, but when you're craving something warm and festive, it's not a bad option.

However, you have to consider how easy it is to make hot chocolate at home. You can make the fresh stuff with actual milk and some chocolate syrup in a matter of minutes. If you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can get a packet and simply mix it with a bit of water, which tends to yield delicious results if you're using a decent product. So, although the Starbucks version isn't bad, we just don't see a major reason to go out of our way to Starbucks when we could easily have essentially the same drink at home.

If you're on the go and you're craving hot chocolate, go ahead and make a stop at Starbucks — you're not likely to be disappointed. Otherwise, there are cheaper and easier ways to get your drinkable chocolate fix.

Blonde Vanilla Latte

There are few things that say "I don't actually like coffee" than ordering a Blonde Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. It's perhaps one of the most basic drinks on the menu, but somehow, it's still overwhelmingly sweet. Your barista will add steamed milk to your espresso, at which point they should just stop. However, to complete your order, they'll also have to drizzle in a shocking amount of vanilla syrup, which is what gives this drink not only its ridiculously sweet flavor but also a thick, soupy mouthfeel that takes hours to dissipate entirely.

Look, we love vanilla lattes when they come from other coffee shops that know how to manage their sweetness levels. But the Blonde Vanilla Latte, like so many other drinks from Starbucks, goes way, way too far on the sweetness front. This drink is a good choice for anyone who's just starting to drink coffee and can't handle the bitterness of the drink on its own. However, anyone who's been drinking coffee for more than a year is likely to find this drink overwhelmingly sweet and would likely enjoy a plain latte without the vanilla syrup more.

Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino

Once again, we have an unhinged milkshake-like creation on Starbucks' menu that makes us want to give up on coffee drinks entirely. The Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino is just as ridiculous as it sounds with all its different elements that somehow result in one of the most one-note drinks we've ever tried. The small amount of actual coffee you get in this drink is overwhelmed by not just mocha sauce but also by "Frappuccino chips" (essentially just tiny chocolate chips) mixed into the body of the drink. That's a lot of sugar on its own, of course, but it doesn't stop there.

There's also cookie crumble mixed into the actual drink itself. But it doesn't stop there! They add even more on top. In case you were worried about not getting enough sugar, Starbucks decided to add a layer of whipped cream on top. That whipped cream is covered with even more mocha sauce and — you guessed it — even more cookie crumbles.

This monstrosity of a drink is more indulgent than most milkshakes we've seen in our lives, with so many elements it's hard to even put your finger on what you're tasting. All those different forms of sugar come together to create an intense sweetness that almost completely masks the flavor of coffee. If you're actually just looking for a milkshake, there are better places to go.

Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

The Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte is another drink that should make you question whether you really want to drink coffee at all. Of course, it's not a Frappuccino, but it's getting close to one in terms of sweetness level. It all starts with Starbucks' blonde espresso, which they combine with almond milk. We love that Starbucks offers non-dairy options for those who don't consume animal products or who just want to avoid dairy, but almond milk is perhaps the least enjoyable of all the non-dairy milks on the market. Why not oat or cashew? We'd prefer not to have our coffee mixed with thin, flavorless nut water.

This is a Starbucks latte, so you know it doesn't end there. You can't forget about the sugar cookie-flavored syrup, which gives the drink its signature sickly sweetness. We've never tasted the syrup on its own, but since this drink doesn't taste too far off from a plain almond milk vanilla latte, we don't know what makes it special beyond its sugar content. Then, just to make sure you're getting enough sugar into your diet, they add red and green sprinkles on top. Do you even celebrate Christmas? Doesn't matter! You are today.

Peppermint Mocha

We don't want to shame anyone for liking peppermint — that's your prerogative. But to add it to a coffee drink is taking things a bit too far in our opinion, which is why we don't understand the hype around the Peppermint Mocha. Admittedly, this drink is somewhat less offensive than many of the other options on this list, but it's not without fault. The espresso with steamed milk and mocha sauce may be a bit too sweet for our tastes, but it's not a terrible combo. Even the whipped cream and the dark chocolate curls aren't the absolute worst ingredients you could include in a coffee drink if you're the kind of person who's into sweet coffee. We actually like the texture of the chocolate curls, which adds an interesting element to the drink.

Our problem is with the peppermint-flavored syrup, which may be Starbucks' boldest syrup to date. That flavor of peppermint cuts through all that chocolate too much, so it's basically the only thing you taste after getting just a hint of chocolate. Peppermint lovers, go ahead and order this drink — you're going to be thrilled. For the rest of us, this drink is far from festive.

Caramel Apple Spice

The fact that the Caramel Apple Spice even exists is truly mind-boggling. The base of the drink is steamed apple juice. Doesn't sound too offensive, right? That's because they haven't yet added on the layer of whipped cream or stirred in any cinnamon syrup. They haven't yet topped it with a drizzle of caramel either, but your barista will eventually do all of those things before they hand you your drink if you happen to order the Caramel Apple Spice.

We get the appeal of a hot apple juice drink. But when you add that much more sugar to juice that's already quite sweet, you get a drink that's so intensely luscious that taking a single sip makes your teeth hurt. Yes, you may feel like ordering one because it seems festive. But is that feeling of festivity really worth essentially injecting pure sugar into your veins? The worst part is that you don't even get a dose of caffeine like you would if you were to opt for a Frappuccino.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

We're sorry, but it has to be said: the Pumpkin Spice Latte is undeniably the most overrated drink at Starbucks. It's one of the brand's most popular drinks of all time, and every fall, the madness begins again, even after the drink has been on the market for a whole two decades. It marks the beginning of fall, and we can certainly appreciate the nostalgia that this drink inspires. After all, a whole generation of coffee drinkers has grown up enjoying this flavor every year as soon as the leaves start to change colors. But is it the best drink on the menu? Certainly not. Is it even a top contender? In our opinion, no.

The pumpkin spice flavor does remind us of sunny fall days, but all those warm baking spices are, frankly, cloying, especially when paired with the sweetness of the whipped cream on top. Overall, it's a relatively simple recipe, and it's not really anything special compared to most of the other drinks on the menu.

If you're a diehard PSL fan, we support you completely. But you won't find us going out of our way to order one on the first day the drink drops in the fall.

Iced Caramel Macchiato

The Iced Caramel Macchiato is another one of Starbucks' most popular drinks, and it's not hard to tell why: It's simple, it's sweet, and it has that sticky drizzle of caramel that you'll occasionally sip through your straw. Compared to some of the other drinks on this list, it's actually not bad — if you don't mind coating your taste buds in a seemingly permanent layer of caramel. 

The other problem is the fact that they use so, so much milk to make this drink. The espresso itself is negligible, and the flavor of the coffee is completely overwhelmed by all that milk. This is a problem with dairy milk, of course, but it's even worse if you choose oat or almond, which tend to have a stronger flavor than their dairy counterparts. Overall, there are worse drinks you could order at Starbucks, but if this is the only drink you ever order, it may be time to branch out and try something new.

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

Here we have yet another Starbucks drink that's trying too hard to be a dessert instead of an actual coffee. It's the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, and you can probably tell by the name alone that it's going to be completely overdone on every front. Coffee, milk, and ice and blended with a caramel syrup that frankly takes the rest of the ingredients in the drink hostage. It's all you're going to taste as you're sipping this drink — unless, of course, you finally make it to the toppings, which include whipped cream (of course), dark caramel sauce, caramel drizzle, and a crunchy caramel topping. If you're wondering why so many different caramel elements are needed to create a caramel drink, you're not alone.

This drink couldn't be less subtle if it was served from a sparkling, diamond-encrusted chalice. We get the appeal of the crunchy caramel pieces, but at what cost?