Starbucks is in part responsible for the growth in specialty coffee and the rise in extravagant espresso and coffee drinks. Popularizing drinks like the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) and creating their own category of frozen blended beverages – their well-known Frappuccinos – has given Starbucks an extensive menu.
However, Starbucks drinks aren’t always the most budget-friendly, with most specialty lattes costing well above $5. These prices are based on the amount of labor involved to make the drink, as well as the price of milk and other ingredients used.
Customizing drinks will create additional up-charges, especially if you’re adding an ingredient to an established recipe. Substituting alternative milks will also wrack up additional charges, as non-dairy milk is higher priced than dairy.
If Starbucks is a daily fix for you, this can easily become a habit for which you have to budget in advance. That’s why we’ve rounded up the cheapest drinks at Starbucks that you can order directly from the menu.
From Cheapest to Cheap – Starbucks Coffee and Espresso Drinks to Order
Starbuck sizes range from short, 8oz, to Venti, 20 oz. The Standard size is 12oz Tall, but for the purpose of this article, prices are based on the smallest sizes available for the drink, which is most commonly an 8oz short size.
Blonde, Medium, Dark, and Decaf roasts are the drip coffee always available at Starbucks. An 8oz short cup costs $2.55 while a 20 oz Venti is only $0.70 more.
Caffeine levels range from 180 – 475 mg, making this a better bang for your buck compared to the second cheapest drinks on the menu.
Espresso Shot (Hot or Iced)
Getting shots of espresso straight up is an easy way to get your jolt of energy for the day and get you in and out the door in no time. You can order a single shot that is just under an ounce of espresso and costs $2.75 or can go as far as getting a quad (4 espresso shots) for $3.85.
Each shot of espresso holds about 75mg of caffeine, making a quad shot as effective as a grande-sized light roast coffee.
Get it iced for the same price and add some milk for a small latte like an iced drink at no extra charge!
Caffe Americano (Hot or Iced)
Americanos are simply espresso poured over hot water or ice to make a delicious espresso coffee. They require a little more work but still ring in as the third cheapest espresso drink available at Starbucks, costing $3.65 for a short.
You can get Americano’s hot and add your own cream, or over ice for an iced coffee-like beverage.
Iced Coffee or Iced Shaken Espresso
Both an iced coffee and an iced shaken espresso tie as the fourth cheapest drinks, coming in at $3.75 for their smallest sizes.
Iced coffee is a classic drink that never gets old, especially for the girlies, but shaken espresso is a little newer to the scene.
With a shot of espresso chilled and then shaken, it gets topped off with milk and sweetener for a smoother and lighter-tasting drink.
Cold Brew Coffee
Lastly, ringing in just under the $4.00 price range, cold brew coffee is a stronger, more intense iced coffee. Having grinds soaked overnight, this deliciously rich and bold coffee brew is perfect for getting a jolt of energy at the start of your day.
From Cheapest to Cheap – Starbucks Non-Coffee Drinks to Order
Of course, Starbucks has many non-espresso drinks, some of which are the cheapest drinks on the menu as a whole.
Steamed Apple Juice
Whether you knew of it before now or not, steamed apple juice is one of the cheapest drinks on the Starbucks menu, costing only $0.10 more than a hot coffee.
It’s the perfect drink for when you’re missing fall, or simply for treating your little one to their very own special Starbucks order.
Hot tea is also another great option for keeping your Starbucks order under $3.00 and there is always a variety of flavors and tea types to choose from.
Craving a hot, non-espresso drink? Try steamed milk, ringing in at just $2.85 for a short size. Add a syrup flavor and whipped cream for a more complete drink for just $0.80 more!
Hint – this is a great drink for young kiddos who might be craving something sweet but can’t handle too much sugar.
If you’re not a fan of hot tea, you can always get any of their flavors iced for just $0.10 more. They’re refreshing and hydrating, and most black, green, and white teas have pretty good caffeine content.
Last but not least, Starbucks does have some fantastic hot chocolate that is rich and creamy and topped with whipped cream. This is the perfect treat for a cold winter’s day while not being quite as expensive as their specialty mocha drinks.