Life

All The Bottled And Canned Starbucks Drinks, Ranked

There has never been a more convenient time to be a coffee drinker. In addition to the plethora of bean brands and methods at our disposal that make it easy to make a great cup at home, we also have instant coffee and coffee shops with drive-thrus. If all of that remains inconvenient to you, there are also a whole bunch of ready-to-drink coffee beverages available at almost every convenience store, gas station, and market — helping you to get your caffeine fix at any hour of the day.

Clearly, being a coffee addict is easy. What remains tricky is the ability to make a decision when you’re dealing with something you’ve never had. And with a lot of ready-to-drink coffee beverages on store shelves, it’s nice to have some help finding the best. To help narrow your search, we picked up all of the Starbucks RTD beverages that we could get our hands on, tasted them, and reviewed and ranked them in an effort to help you find the perfect blend of caffeine, complex coffee characteristics, and sweetness.

Let’s drink!

15. Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew Dark Caramel

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

“Oh, no!” Is an actual thing I said when I tasted this.

It’s just, hands down, one of the worst coffee drinks I’ve ever tasted. The overall flavor comes across as very sweet. It has that signature nitro cold brew softness — which really brings out the natural sweetness of the bean — but when mixed with the caramel the flavors combine to create something that comes off as really metallic.

From my notes: “I actually feel like I’m killing myself by drinking this.”

The Bottom Line:

Way too metallic. Skip it.

14. Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Caffè Mocha

Starbucks
Amazon

Coffee is in direct competition with energy drinks and you can see this at the corner store, where the two share shelf space. In response to their competitors, Starbucks has introduced the Tripleshot line which contains 225 mg of caffeine per can. That’s a lot of caffeine and while that might lead you to believe this would have a strong coffee kick to it, you’d be wrong.

This drink is so off-puttingly sweet that you’re better off drinking a Red Bull. It tastes like someone dropped a Fudgsicle in the dirt and then picked it up, melted it down, and drank it. Weird description? You’ve obviously never dropped a Fudgsicle and then eaten it.

The Bottom Line:

Way too heavy on the chocolate notes. You can sort of taste coffee on the backend, but only slightly.

13. Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Caramel

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

This is pretty neck and neck with the Caffè Mocha Tripleshot, only instead of tasting like a dirty Fudgsicle it tastes like expired candy from your great grandpa’s grave. Something just tastes off here. Sure, it tastes like caramel but there is a rancid quality here that tastes like something you… really shouldn’t be consuming.

The Bottom Line:

If you like the taste of death, you still probably won’t like this.

12. Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Coffee

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

Was it the three shots of espresso that were making the Starbucks Tripleshot drinks so off-putting to me? I doubt it, because the Doubleshot version is no better. This is stomach-turning — aspects of it remind me of diet soda. There is a dull sweetness to this coffee that tastes entirely artificial. The over-reliance on sugar masks some of the natural and rich caramel tones of the espresso, leaving you with nothing more than a bitter ache that sits on the palate once the wave of intense sweetness has ended.

The Bottom Line:

Stomach-turning. Skip it.

11. Starbucks Iced Coffee Dark Roast

SB
Walmart

For those who live for the natural sweetness of coffee, Starbucks has an unsweetened line of bottled iced coffees based on a few of their house roasts. If you’re a big Starbucks fan this might be difficult to hear but, Starbucks’ variety of roasts are subpar at best. They kind of need all that sugar they are famous for having. It’s bad enough drinking them in-store, but they’re even worse in bottled form with the worst of them being the Dark Roast.

It doesn’t have any of the characteristics that make dark roast worth drinking — the flavor isn’t distinct, robust, or complex, so don’t expect a journey here. What you get instead is a blunt burst of overwhelmingly stale flavors that settle into a bothersome bitterness that won’t leave your palate.

The Bottom Line:

So bad it really puts in perspective just how off-putting most Starbucks roasts are.

10. Starbucks Frappuccino Vanilla

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

You know that moment when you’re enjoying those last sips of a Starbucks Frappuccino and then you hit a point where it tastes more like sugary water than a blended coffee drink?

That’s what this tastes like. It doesn’t have that thick milky magic that the Frappuccino possesses, instead, you are hit with intensely sweet notes of vanilla that make it almost impossible to taste any of the coffee.

The Bottom Line:

Skip it, it doesn’t taste like anything like an actual Vanilla frappe.

9. Starbucks Frappuccino Mocha

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

Things only slightly improve with the bottled Mocha Frappuccino. Like the bottled vanilla, the mocha is far too watery, the sweetness is more balanced here but the end result still kind of comes across like the last sips from a melting frappe. For all the sugar in this thing, you’d think you’d get some flavor.

The Bottom Line:

A slightly less sweet-tasting version of the bottled Vanilla. We’d like to say something like “this tastes more earthy” but it just kind of tastes like dirt.

8. Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Vanilla

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

A significant improvement over the non-flavored (but still sweetened) Doubleshot Coffee flavor, the Doubleshot Vanilla brings you in with inviting vanilla notes that are soft and creamy on the palate and settle into a nice bitter finish. It heavily leans on the sweetness, so if you don’t like your coffee sweet you’re probably going to find this one way too overwhelming.

The Bottom Line:

A better balance of sweet and bitter flavors than most of Starbucks’ Tripleshot line, but a bit too sweet for my liking. Still, if you love sweet drinks, this is going to go down easy.

7. I Starbucks Triipleshot Energy French Vanilla

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

Given how much I hated the other flavors of Starbucks’ Tripleshot energy line, I gotta say, I’m finding a lot more to like about the French Vanilla version. This one has a deep malty flavor, it’s earthy and bitter but balanced with the right amount of sweetness. You can practically taste the strength of the caffeine here, but not in an off-putting way — instead, it’s comforting.

You know you can rely on this one to deliver both flavor and the energy it promises.

The Bottom Line:

The Best of Starbucks’ Tripleshot Energy line.

6. Starbucks Iced Coffee Medium Roast

Starbucks Bottled
Walmart

Starbucks’ Medium Roast is a slight improvement over their bottled Dark Roast. It has a softer mouthfeel with a more mellow and naturally sweet flavor. If you really try to zero in on the flavors (it took closing my eyes) you can taste the slightest hint of citrus at the backend.

Not good by any means, but not off-putting like the dark roast.

The Bottom Line:

If you like Starbucks’ lighter roasts, you’ll probably enjoy this. It has a sort of dullness to the flavors compared to a Starbucks fresh brewed iced coffee but it mimics the experience well enough.

5. Starbucks Frappuccino Caramel

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

If you’re looking for a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino, this is the move. It’s the only bottle frappe that manages to capture some of the magic of the Starbucks drink its named after. It’s silky smooth, slightly earthy, and has that warm and comforting caramelized brown sugar flavor that people can’t seem to get enough of.

The sweetness, while present, doesn’t come across as overwhelming, each sip has the right balance of caramel notes and the bitter bite of coffee.

The Bottom Line:

The best bottled Frappuccino in Starbucks’ RTD collection.

4. Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew Vanilla Sweet Cream

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

This is the first drink in this ranking that I’d actually enjoy drinking more than once.

The Vanilla Sweet Cream nitro cold brew features malty vanilla notes with a soft mouthfeel and a pleasingly bitter aftertaste. Nitro coffee tends to be more naturally sweet so it doesn’t really need the help of vanilla or caramel to make it work. Thankfully, the vanilla here adds more of a creamy texture to the drink than a whole bunch of coffee-masking sweetness.

The Bottom Line:

Balanced but leans on the sweet side.

3. Starbucks Cold & Crafted Milk + Mocha

Starbucks Bottled
Target

There are a lot of similarities between Starbucks’ Cold & Crafted line and their canned nitro line. Both utilize cold brew coffee, but this drink highlights regular cold brew rather than nitro-style. That helps to push back some of the natural sweetness of the coffee bean, which Starbucks makes up for with a splash of milk and mocha.

I think this translates better in ready-to-drink form than the nitro cans, the sweetness from the mocha and milk don’t overwhelm the flavor here. Instead, a subtle sweetness is added to the bitter, earthy flavors of this coffee.

The Bottom Line:

The natural earthy flavors of coffee are the focus here, with just the right amount of mocha and milk flavoring to keep it palatable.

2. Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew Black

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

If you’re all about Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew, the OG black version is the way to go. If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between nitro and regular style cold brew, nitro utilizes nitrous oxide gas — which helps to smoothen the mouthfeel and bring forward the natural sweetness of the bean and offers a richer experience than a regular cold brew and certainly more than iced coffee.

When it comes to bottled and canned versions of the nitro process, those results are a lot more muted. Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew Black might not meet your standards if you’re a hardcore fan of the process, but it is one of the brand’s best ready-to-drink coffee experiences and this unsweetened version comes the closest to catching the magic of the real thing.

Deep chocolate notes dominate here, with slight toffee characteristics and an almost tobacco-leaf-like finish.

The Bottom Line:

Smooth, complex, naturally sweet, and packed with a kick of caffeine that you’ll actually feel.

1. Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Mocha

Starbucks Bottled
Dane Rivera

I didn’t expect something this sugary to take the top spot (29 grams of sugar per bottle!) but I love the Doubleshot Mocha. On the nose, it’s akin to a bar of high-quality milk chocolate, with a sweet flavor to match that doesn’t mask the distinct earthy flavors of the espresso.

Where most of the ready-to-drink Starbucks beverages linger on the after taste (either thanks to too much sweetness or too much bitterness), the Doubleshot Mocha finds balance — never staining your palate in an off-putting way that calls for a breath mint before you get into a conversation with someone.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re not about sweetness, be sure to pick up our number two pick. But if you’re looking for a canned Starbucks drink that delivers on the caffeine and the flavor, and won’t make you miss not making that morning Starbucks run, the Doubleshot Mocha strikes the perfect balance and the most satisfying result.

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