15 Starbucks Drinks That Will Really Wake You Up

If you need a Starbucks drink to WAKE you up, it really comes down to the caffeine content. Here's a list of the BEST caffeine-packed drinks Starbucks offers.

A Starbucks Frappuccino

Last Updated on December 3, 2023

Whether you need an energy boost after pulling an all-nighter or an extra kick before marathon meetings throughout the day, Starbucks has become a popular go-to destination for drinks that will wake any coffee lover up.

There’s a rich variety of coffee and drink options available at your neighborhood Starbucks. The drinks featured here are available at many or most Starbucks locations, although some variations may exist.

On the following list, we give the size of each beverage for the specified caffeine content.

The Caffeine 15: A Tour of Starbucks Drinks To Wake You Up

Blonde Roast Filter Coffee

A cup of Blonde Roast coffee that is one of the best Starbucks drinks to wake you up
(© Ron Cogswell | Creative Commons)
  • Served: Hot
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 475 mg

Despite a softer taste, the Blonde Roast filter coffee truly packs a lot of caffeine in a cup. A top contender among its eye-opening peers, this quality coffee will get you moving and help keep you intensely focused as the java works its way through your system. It’s a sugar-free selection, so some people add those crystals along with milk or vanilla to give this strong dose a personalized taste.


  • Served: Hot
  • Size: Quad
  • Caffeine: 300 mg

The standard espresso is a reliable option for those who want black, strong coffee rather than a drink with a variety of flavors. The four shots in the quad espresso activates you in a couple of gulps rather than in long and enduring swigs of coffee. For a little more caffeinated intensity, consider substituting the standard espresso with the Blonde Roast that brings in an additional 40 mg of punch.

Espresso Frappuccino® Blended Beverage

  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 185 mg

A Frappuccino with espresso differentiates it from other, lower-caffeine versions. With a hint of chocolate taste but not excessively sweet, this cold Venti has more than its share of admirers. Some may enhance this get-going drink with a little whipped cream on top.

Honey Almondmilk Nitro Cold Brew

  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Grande
  • Caffeine: 290 mg

With its honey syrup and almond milk enhancements, this strong and flavorful cold drink packs nearly as much caffeine as four espresso shots.

Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso


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  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 340 mg

Anyone who has ever indulged in a few espresso shots knows they will soon go into overdrive. Rather than a regular espresso, this Venti packs the power of four stronger Blonde espresso shots. Oat milk, six pumps of brown sugar syrup, and a touch of cinnamon and spice complete this milk-free, vegan-friendly alternative. Less powerful than a Blonde Roast, this brown sugar brew carries enough energy to get coffee drinkers ready for the day.

Iced Caffè Americano

  • Served: Cold or Hot
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 300 mg

The four potent shots of espresso in the Caffè Americano usually come with cold water, though some may want it warmer. For those who want more variety than straight-black jet fuel, they may want to add caramel, milk, vanilla, or another tasty addition to this always-awakening drink.

Iced Caffè Mocha

  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 265 mg

For those who appreciate the marriage of chocolate and coffee, this “cold chocolate” coffee combines steamed milk, three espresso shots, mocha sauce, and a sweet whipped cream topping.

Iced Caramel Macchiato

  • Served: Cold or Hot
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 225 mg

A popular drink, this macchiato can be served either hot or cold, though the temperature influences the java’s jolt. While the iced version packs 225 mg of caffeine, a hot Venti packs only 150 mg. This is due to an extra espresso shot in the colder caramel macchiato version.

Iced Coffee

A can of Starbucks iced coffee drink to wake you up
(© The Master Shake Signal | Creative Commons)
  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Trenta
  • Caffeine: 280 mg

Seven sugar syrup pumps certainly help this cold Trenta take you and wake you. Best for an extra boost of energy in the immediate future rather than as an all-day alertness alternative, this cold drink focuses on short-term energy enhancement.

Not sure how to order iced coffee at Starbucks? See this quick guide.

Nitro Cold Brew

  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Grande
  • Caffeine: 280 mg

Straight from the tap and powered by nitrogen, this thick cold brew reminds fans of a dark, foamy Guinness beer. Belly up to this brew if high caffeine is for you.

Pike Place Roast Filter

  • Served: Hot
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 410 mg

Added to the Starbucks menu in April 2008, this hot pick-me-up offers a consistent taste and familiar selection on the company’s ever-changing menu. A hot filtered, medium-roast brew that honors the Pike Place Market in a downtown Seattle neighborhood where the company first opened its doors in 1971, this drink possesses a lot of perkiness from its percolation.

Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte

  • Served: Hot
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 170 mg

With just two espresso shots, this hot Venti has less impact than most other espresso drinks. Some who enjoy this delicious vanilla-based brew may prefer to add an extra shot or choose a Grande instead, with an extra shot, of course.

Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee

  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Trenta
  • Caffeine: 360 mg

For those who prefer a cold coffee with ice cubes to get them swinging, the Trenta-size Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee is an obvious contender. A great option for someone who prefers a fast, cooler caffeine injection over a blow-and-cool-the-rim hot drink, this black coffee option can be modified for taste and consumed quickly for nearly immediate impact.

Starbucks Reserve Dark Chocolate Mocha

  • Served: Hot
  • Size: Venti
  • Caffeine: 265 mg

Diving into this dark chocolate drink with espresso shots will get most people moving and motivated. With Standard Reserve rather than Blonde Roast, some may prefer to add an extra shot to make this hot chocolatey brew even more intense.

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

  • Served: Cold
  • Size: Trenta
  • Caffeine: 320 mg

With sweet cream and vanilla syrup to enhance its already delicious taste, this cold drink offers a great alternative for those who don’t want a hot, humdrum, black regular coffee. For those who want a smaller version, they should grab a Venti and enjoy its 275 mg caffeine boost.

A Return Performance?

A few years ago, Starbucks decided to abandon coffee sales from Clover machines at many of its stores. When that option disappeared, so did an intensely unique caffeine machine. Clover coffee packed an intense energy level surge into a small cup. By some accounts, a Tall had nearly 280 mg of caffeine content, a Grande packed 380 mg, and a Venti held approximately 470 mg. These servings offered an immediate, impactful way for Starbucks fans to take a sip and stay awake. 

Earlier this year, Starbucks announced plans to create a single-cup Clover Vertica brewer, though details remain sketchy at this time about the plans for the full rollout. Whether this new round of Clover coffee machines will match the caffeine-toting potential of the earlier ones remains uncertain, but caffeinated coffee enthusiasts will certainly want to follow any developments.

One Last Shot?

Similar to adding hot sauce to your favorite food, adding a shot of espresso to your Starbucks coffee will give it a little extra caffeine kick. This is known as a red eye coffee.

A woman's red eyes
She. Needs. Coffee! (© Venturist | Creative Commons)

There’s approximately 75 mg of caffeine in each shot, so requesting one (or more) shots in your brew offers the quickest way to increase your coffee’s potency.

A cup of coffee can handle up to four shots of espresso at Starbucks:

  • 1 Shot (Single): 75 mg of additional caffeine
  • 2 Shots (Double): 150 mg of additional caffeine
  • 3 Shots (Triple): 225 mg of additional caffeine
  • 4 Shots (Quad):  300 mg of additional caffeine

Choose the drink you enjoy most and add a little more espresso to give yourself an extra blast of caffeine.

If you’ve tried these Starbucks drinks and they’re not working for you, you might just be one of those people whom coffee doesn’t wake up.

Thumbnail image: © emrank | Creative Commons

In Starbucks' realm where coffee beans reign king,
A myriad of brews doth wake the mind.
From Blonde Roast's gentle touch, to boldness spring,
Each cup a treasure trove of taste, refined.
The espresso, potent, dark, and deep,
Delivers swift a jolt, a wakeful leap.
And Frappuccino, cold and sweet, doth keep
A promise of delight, in chilled sweep.
The Honey Almondmilk, a unique blend,
And Iced Brown Sugar, spices to the end.
Each drink, a story, a caffeinated friend,
In Venti, Grande, sizes to commend.
In every sip, a journey does unfold,
A story of Starbucks' magic, bold.

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