Starbucks Drinks You Should Avoid Ordering At All Costs

There are a lot of different drinks you can order at Starbucks. No, really, we mean it. Consider this: How many drinks (including customizations) do you think exist at Starbucks? Whatever number you just thought of, you probably want to add a zero to that guess. According to HuffPost, there are more than 80,000 different ways you can order and customize a drink from Starbucks, when considering all of the different coffees, teas, and Frappuccinos there are on the menu.

Among those tens of thousands of drink options at Starbucks, you are bound to run into a few that you are better off skipping as your regular go-to order. Whether we want to admit it or not, a lot of the drinks served at Starbucks are not the healthiest of choices, and many of them come with some sticker shock. To avoid guzzling cups of sugar (and to keep an eye out for your wallet), we have collected a list of those types of Starbucks drinks you should avoid ordering.

Holiday beverages

We are starting things off with an entire category of Starbucks beverages you are better off skipping. Starbucks makes a really big deal out of its seasonal holiday beverages, with countdowns to its popular Red Cup Day. Starbucks' signature holiday cups are as popular as the beverages themselves, only doubling down on the coffee chain's popularity in the months of November and December.

Unfortunately, as tasty as those drinks may be, you are consuming a ton of sugar. Sweetness aside, Starbucks jacks up the prices of its holiday drinks so much, you can easily purchase a couple of regular cups of coffee before reaching the price of one Grande Caramel Brulée Latte.

Starbucks does not inflate prices just for fun. As one person on Quora points out, many of the components used in the holiday drinks are limited-time and specialty ingredients, which costs Starbucks more to use (and the price gets passed onto the customer). In 2022, the average cost of a venti (large) holiday beverage is $6.75. That includes the popular Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Mocha, and Chestnut Praline Latte (via Yahoo! Finance). You are likely better off learning how to make a copycat recipe at home, or stick with your lower-priced regular cup of coffee when visiting Starbucks during the holidays. You will still get to drink out of the seasonal Red Cups at no extra cost.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Perhaps the only thing as popular (if not more so) as the Starbucks holiday drinks and Red Cups is the chain's Pumpkin Spice Latte. The signature drink of fall (which for Starbucks begins in August for some reason) is as synonymous with autumn as falling leaves, cooler temperatures, and apple picking. But before you don your scarf and wide-brimmed hat and head out the door to your local Starbucks, there are some things you should know about the Pumpkin Spice Latte that might convince you that you are better off brewing your own at home.

For starters, it is overpriced. The cost of a Pumpkin Spice Latte is close to $7, and that is before you start to make any modifications, as many pointed out on Reddit. And if your daily routine includes getting a cup of coffee outside your home, that price can add up a lot faster than a generic latte.

On top of the cost, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are loaded with sugar. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, while the calorie count of a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte is on the higher end at 390 calories, the amount of sweetness is a bit startling at 50 grams of sugar, with approximately 32 grams of that total coming from added sugars. While the Pumpkin Spice Latte is a rite of passage each fall for many, you're better off sticking to one ceremonial cup each year and brewing the rest at home.

Flavored lattes

If you are not as big of a fan of the taste of coffee but you still enjoy getting that buzz of caffeine in the morning, then a latte may be your drink of choice. Starbucks sells a number of different lattes with various flavor customizations, often including a touch of sweetness to what would otherwise be a regular cup of joe. Golden Ratio recommends flavored lattes specifically as a go-to order for those who do not enjoy coffee, noting that both the added flavors plus the higher milk to coffee ratio helps to keep the coffee flavor at bay.

When you order a flavored latte at Starbucks, however, you are likely spending more money than you need to. Because it takes a little more work to brew a latte, including the fact that there are a few more ingredients, the average cost will typically be a couple dollars more than your garden variety hot coffee. A simple trick can bring the cost of your drink down while still getting the flavor you are looking for. For example, if your drink of choice is a vanilla latte, try ordering a hot or iced coffee with a flavor shot of vanilla syrup. According to Dollar Sanity, making these small adjustments can bring the cost of your coffee down by at least one dollar, sometimes two dollars, which can add up to major savings over time.

Overly extreme customized orders

One of the things Starbucks fans love about the coffee chain is the copious amount of customizations you can add to your order, not to mention that the drink menu is already pretty large. You can order everything from lattes to Americanos to macchiatos, with a wide number of flavored syrups and milk to cater your drink to your specific preferences. All in all, it is estimated that there are more than 80,000 different drink combinations you could order at Starbucks. Customers love that they can customize their drink order at Starbucks, but baristas have seen many individuals take that perk to an extreme that you should probably avoid.

If you really like a particular flavor, you can always ask for an extra pump or two of that specific syrup, but according to Newsweek, one customer once ordered a coffee with 18 pumps of syrup first thing in the morning. Another barista shared on Reddit an order they once received that asked for 15 pumps of syrup, which is essentially a coffee cup full of sugar. Not only are customizations like this high on the sugar scale and low on the health scale, but orders like this also add a ton of extra work for the baristas. If you want to customize your drink, it is best to stick to simple requests.

Any iced beverage without requesting light ice

On a hot summer day, nothing is quite as refreshing as your favorite iced coffee in the morning or an iced tea in the afternoon. Cold brews have also become popular over the years, with the market expected to grow by $1.37 billion between 2020 and 2025, according to PR Newswire. Needless to say, iced beverages are popular options at Starbucks, but if you order one, there is a chance you are making a big error.

To keep your beverage cold, baristas typically fill your cup most of the way with ice. While this helps your drink stay at the optimal temperature, the ice can take up a hefty chunk of your cup's real estate, leaving less room for the drink you actually ordered. After just a few sips, your $6 iced coffee is all gone, which can leave you rightfully feeling a bit scammed.

Next time you go to Starbucks, stop ordering iced beverages that come with the standard amount of ice. By asking for light ice, you might get more bang for your buck. Just keep in mind that some Starbucks customers feel like asking for light ice does not always work, as one Redditor pointed out. And because of the chain's pre-determined measurements for ingredients, light ice may not result in more of your drink. If you like cold brew, you can also consider ordering Nitro Cold Brew, which comes without any ice whatsoever.

Chai Tea Latte

For those who want the best of both worlds and have a hard time deciding whether they want coffee or tea, you may consider ordering a Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks. Chai Tea Lattes are a combination of black tea and milk that are typically topped with foam, giving the idea of a latte but sans coffee. While teas are often thought of as a healthy drink option, you may want to think twice before making Chai Tea Lattes your drink of choice.

While some believe Chai Tea Lattes are a more health-conscious drink order at Starbucks, they actually are not that good for you. According to Prana Chai, most coffee shops use chai mixtures, which come packed with added sugars, when making beverages. At Starbucks specifically, a Grande Chai Tea Latte contains a staggering 42 grams of sugar. While tea in general can contain many health benefits, the sheer volume of sugar found in a Starbucks Chai Tea Latte will overshadow any potential benefits (via The Wellness Nerd). You are much better off sticking to a regular cup of hot tea or brewing your own Chai Tea Latte at home.

Hot Chocolate

There are few beverages that emulate the perfect cozy vibes that hot chocolate does. Often the first warm beverage introduced to us as kids, hot chocolate is the perfect remedy on a snowy and chilly winter day. Starbucks sells a few variations of hot chocolate. In addition to its classic flavor, it also sells White Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and various combinations of those flavors. Chocolate fans, rejoice: Starbucks has got you covered. But while we wish we could bring you good news and tell you that there is nothing wrong with ordering a hot chocolate from Starbucks, the nutritional information would say otherwise.

And yes, there is truly nothing wrong with enjoying a hot chocolate from time to time, but it is important to be aware of how much sugar there is to be found in one cup. According to Starbucks' nutritional information, a Grande Hot Chocolate contains 37 grams of sugar. She Finds also points out that hot chocolate contains high amounts of calories and fat too, making it a drink you should truly enjoy only on rare occasions, and not on the regular.

If you are seeking healthier options, consider drinking chocolate. Unlike hot chocolate, drinking chocolate typically comes from pure melted chocolate, and if you find dark chocolate varieties, there are far fewer added sugars.

White Chocolate Mocha

If you love coffee as much as you love chocolate, then Starbucks has quite a tempting drink for you: the White Chocolate Mocha. As Starbucks puts it, this drink is the perfect combination of coffee and white chocolate, and it's topped with whipped cream (because why not?). Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that is because it is in fact too good to be true, at least from a health standpoint.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha is not a drink you want to order if you are keeping track of how much added sugar you are consuming. For starters, of all of the kinds of chocolate you can consume, white chocolate is arguably the worst. In fact, white chocolate is technically not chocolate at all, since it lacks cocoa, and it packs in the added sugar to make up for it (via Livestrong). This is reflected in the Starbucks beverage, which contains 53 grams of sugar in a grande size.

Instead of loading up on sugar by drinking the White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks, stick to a regular mocha-flavored beverage. If this is your favorite drink and you cannot live without it, at least consider sizing down to minimize the amount of added sugar.

S'mores Frappuccino

The mac daddy of the entire Starbucks menu when it comes to sheer lack of nutritional value has got to be the Frappucchinos. As tasty as they may be, these frozen beverages are jam-packed with sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Frappuccinos have come in tons of different flavors over the years, ranging from different kinds of chocolate varieties to vanilla, fruit, and caramel ones. While there are generally more steps involved because Frappuccinos are blended beverages, there is one specific flavor you should avoid ordering, especially if you are in a rush.

Starbucks concocted a S'mores Frappuccino, which is made by mixing together vanilla, coffee, milk, and ice, layered with a graham cracker crumble, and topped with marshmallow whipped cream. For starters, a grande contains 65 grams of sugar. But the bigger reason why you should avoid ordering this drink, especially if you visit during peak hours, is that this drink takes a little while longer to make, which can cause a backlog at the barista bar.

According to Insider, the specialty marshmallow whipped cream used solely for the S'mores Frappuccino can take a while to replenish if the store happens to be out, plus the layering involved takes extra time. When visiting during the busy morning rush, consider ordering a drink that is quicker and less tedious to make.

Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino (or really any Frappuccino)

The frozen blended Frappuccino drinks at Starbucks are a common introduction to the coffee chain, since many of these drinks do not contain any coffee. Before we fall head over heels for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Cold Brews, and Chai Tea Lattes, it is the Frappuccino that serves as our Starbucks gateway drug. But because Frappuccinos are so loaded with sugar, it is no wonder that we may start to feel somewhat addicted to them.

The Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino tops the list at a whopping 480 calories in a grande (and 590 calories in a venti), with 55 grams and 75 grams of sugar, respectively. Sorry to say, if you never order one drink at Starbucks again, make it the Frappuccinos. They have the same number of calories as a Big Mac, and sure, they are tasty, but we are willing to bet there are other delicious drinks at Starbucks that contain a fraction of the sweetness.

If you must order a Frappuccino, consider making some simple modifications to skim off some of the calories and sugars. You could order yours without the whipped cream that comes on top, or size down from your usual order. Awareness is key, and realizing just how many calories and sugars come in one Frappuccino is the first step to finding a new regular coffee drink (while, of course, enjoying whatever beverage you desire every now and then).