Here’s How To Order Iced Coffee at Starbucks—Without Sounding Like an Amateur

Not sure how to order iced coffee at Starbucks? Here are some quick tips that'll have you ordering like a pro!

Barista pours milk into a large glass of iced coffee

Last Updated on December 15, 2023

People who order iced coffee at Starbucks can sometimes sound like they’re speaking in code. It can be a little intimidating when it’s your turn to order. Will you get it right, or will you fumble your words?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This post will tell you everything you need to know about how to order iced coffee at Starbucks.

Chalkboard with equations written down
A Starbucks menu (or at least what it feels like to look at one).

The Simplest Way To Order Iced Coffee at Starbucks

To order iced coffee at Starbucks, just ask for a basic iced coffee, then request that your barista add cream, milk, sweetener—whatever you like—to the cup. Remember that a typical iced coffee does not contain added espresso, so go ahead and add a shot of espresso when ordering if you wish.

There are a couple of other ways to order iced coffee if you want to try something a little more interesting. Below are two more simplified ordering approaches.

Choose a Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a refreshing and tasty change to a regular iced coffee. Cold brew tastes smoother and stronger than other coffee—and it’s delicious.

Starbucks offers their own distinct menu of cold brew drinks:

  • Nitro Cold Brew
  • Cold Brew with Cold Foam
  • Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
  • Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Don’t forget to ask your barista for sweet or unsweetened cream when ordering.

Try Starbucks’ Own Flavored Iced Coffee

Starbucks has an impressive variety of iced coffee options for you to choose from. Even someone with the pickiest palate is bound to find a Starbucks iced coffee beverage that appeals to them.

Favorite options among customers include the Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte and Gingerbread Latte, which are particularly popular during the holiday season. Ordering a premade, flavored iced coffee is an easy way to ensure you get a tasty drink when you’re short on time or unsure what to order.

Cup of iced coffee after ordering iced coffee at Starbucks
With so many options to choose from, you just have to go with what feels right!

Starbucks Cup Size

Perhaps the biggest point of confusion for people who are new to ordering at Starbucks is the variety of cup sizes. You might find that the cup sizes are different from what you are used to.

At Starbucks, the iced coffee size choices are:

  • Tall (12 ounces)
  • Grande (16 ounces)
  • Venti (24 ounces)
  • Trenta (31 ounces)

You should keep in mind that the drink sizes at Starbucks are different depending on whether you order hot coffee or iced coffee. With hot coffee, you can order a short, but this option is not available for iced coffee drinks. And although you can get a 31-ounce iced Trenta, this size is not offered for hot coffees.

Order One Size Larger Than Usual 

A good way to ensure your iced coffee is perfect is to allow room for the ice. Order your coffee one size bigger than you would when ordering a hot cup of coffee. This will allow for ample room to hold ice and any extra syrup, espresso shots, or cream.

Bonus Tip: How To Get More Coffee in Your Drink 

Worried that you’re not getting enough coffee in your iced coffee drink? Go ahead and ask the barista for less ice when you order. Remember that less ice means the drink will be less diluted and therefore stronger. So adjust your sweetener, syrup, and additives accordingly.

Cup of coffee with ice after ordering iced coffee from Starbucks
Ice takes up space in your cup. Less ice = more coffee!

Use the Starbucks App 

Perhaps the easiest way to get used to the Starbucks coffee menu and ordering process is by using the online app to order your iced coffee.

First, download the Starbucks app on your iPhone or Android. This app also lets you use various payment methods, including your Starbucks loyalty program points, or ‘stars.’ Next, go pick up your coffee at the estimated pick-up time provided when you order.

If you are a regular Starbucks patron, make sure you join their rewards program to get the most out of the purchases you make. Example perks include free products on your birthday, as well as when you’ve made a certain number of purchases. Visit the Starbucks website to learn more.

Common Coffee Mistakes to Avoid 

Even the most experienced coffee aficionados make mistakes now and again when ordering. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But you can avoid making these mistakes by knowing about them beforehand.

Adding Syrup and Sweetener

The first major error comes from adding both syrup and sweetener to your coffee. The syrup already provides plenty of sweetness, so you might find the resulting combination to be too sweet. (Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing!)

Of course, with so many syrup options, it’s easy to get carried away with your selection. So be careful not to add too much syrup to your drink.

Forgetting to Order Iced Coffee in a Larger Size

Another common coffee mistake to avoid: forgetting to upgrade your hot coffee size when ordering it iced. If you typically go with a Grande, you should order an iced Venti. You’ll need the extra room for the ice and additives, such as syrup or cream.

Your Starbucks Ordering Checklist

By keeping things simple when you order coffee, you will avoid the above mistakes and many others. Use the following checklist to ensure you have covered all your bases when placing your Starbucks order:

  • Hot or iced?
  • Size?
  • Caffeinated or decaf?
  • How many espresso shots, if any?
  • How many pumps of syrup, if any?
  • Type of milk?
  • Drink type? (Latte, Frappuccino, etc.)
  • Any extra or special requests?

What About the Secret Menu?

As for ordering off Starbucks’ secret menu, the jury is still out as to whether such a menu actually exists. Many former baristas claim that the secret menu—if it’s even real—contains discontinued menu items that may or may not be available upon request.

Baristas’ Best Recommendations 

If you want a great drink recommendation from Starbucks, you can always ask the barista!

The most popular recommendations offered by Starbucks baristas are:

  • Starbucks Double-Shot on Ice. A hand-shaken, frothy-topped espresso with foamed milk.
  • Iced White Chocolate Mocha iced coffee. Good any time of the year. Made with white chocolate syrup, milk, ice, and espresso.
  • Cold brew iced coffee. Straightforward, strong, and smooth. With less acidity than a regular cup of coffee.
  • Iced Americano. Simply espresso and water, over ice. The result is a strong, richer taste of coffee.
  • Iced Caramel Macchiato. Always a popular choice. This variation uses vanilla syrup and caramel drizzle in addition to the brewed espresso, steamed milk, and ice.

That’s really all you need to know about how to order iced coffee at Starbucks. Ordering iced coffee—or any beverage for that matter—is a bit different at this franchise, but it’s well worth the effort. Familiarize yourself with Starbucks’ menu and offerings to find your perfect iced coffee, cold brew, or other ideal coffee beverage from this wildly popular and inventive coffee pioneer!


Whispers at the bar,
Iced lattes, cold brew's embrace,
Syrups dance in cups,
Vanilla, pumpkin spice tales,
Sweet symphony of choices.

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