7 Of The Best Starbucks Hot Drinks You Have To Try & Barista Hacks To Make Them Even Better

The perfect drinks to warm you up☕

A Starbucks barista making a hot drink. Right: A Starbucks drink.

A Starbucks barista making a hot drink. Right: A Starbucks drink.

Let's face it: trying every hot drink on the menu at Starbucks can get expensive, and some of the tastiest ones are seasonal.

You've got a lot of options and if that leaves you paralyzed when you get to the front of the line, we totally understand! That's why we spoke to a bunch of current and former baristas to find out what the very best hot drinks are on the menu, so you'll always know what to reach for on a cold day.

Do you like to go classic and grab a latte? Are you a PSL fan? Or do you only show up for seasonal fare?

Whatever it is you like, we don't want to leave you out to dry. We've spoken to seven baristas and asked them what their favourite hot drinks are.

Here are some of the best hot drinks to try next time you're unsure about your order.

Caramel Macchiato

What is it: A sweet, milky drink, the caramel macchiato is vanilla steamed milk with espresso poured on top. A caramel crosshatch is added to finish the drink.

What's in it:

  • Vanilla syrup (2 tall, 3 grande, 4 venti)
  • Steamed milk
  • Espresso (1 tall, 2 grande and venti)
  • Caramel sauce
Why you should try it: "The OG is always the Caramel Macchiato even though it's basic as heck." —Barista Samantha Luxmikanthan.

Barista hack: If you want extra caramel, ask for it cali style! They'll put caramel on the sides of the cup.

Americano Misto

What is it: More similar to a typical coffee, but stronger due to the espresso. While you can get a normal Americano, the misto version has steamed milk in it.

What's in it:

  • Espresso (2 tall, 3 grande, 4 venti)
  • Hot water
  • Steamed milk

Why you should try it: "I'm pretty easy with [hot drinks]." —Barista Kyle West.

Barista hack: Try it upside down! The espresso expires within 10 seconds if nothing else is in the cup, but if it's going into the water it tastes better.

Chai Tea Latte

What is it: A sweet, spicy tea with steamed milk. Chai tastes like cinnamon, clove and a warm hug.

What's in it:

  • Chai syrup (3 tall, 4 grande, 5 venti)
  • Hot water
  • Steamed milk

Why you should try it: "It's like dessert and a hug in a cup, it's so good." —Barista Niki Brideau.

Barista hack: Add whipped cream on top!

Toffee Nut Latte

What is it: A normal latte with toffee nut syrup. Nothing more, nothing less.

What's in it:

  • Toffee nut syrup (3 tall, 4 grande, 5 venti)
  • Espresso (1 tall, 2 grande, 2 venti)
  • Steamed milk

Why you should try it: "I didn't actually know that toffee nut was a syrup option until very late in the game, like right before I started working at [Starbucks]. One of my friends said 'Hey, toffee nut lattes like the way to go,' and I tried it and was like 'This is delicious, I need to have more.'" —Barista Areeba Sharafuddin.

Barista hack: Try it with oat milk and blonde espresso. Areeba highly recommends.

Pike Place

What is it: A Starbucks classic. The medium roast coffee is available all year round and is a staple of any Starbucks cafe.

What's in it:

  • Pike Place coffee — that's all there is to it

Why you should try it: "Keep it simple, honestly. Hot milk to me is just not appealing." —Barista Sarah O'Neill.

Barista hack: If you like it, buy a bag of beans and make it for yourself at home.

Cafe Misto

What is it: Much like the Americano misto, the cafe misto takes coffee and adds steamed milk. This gives it a latte feel but it's significantly cheaper than a Starbucks latte. It's a great alternative for people looking for something a little more budget friendly.

What's in it:

  • 3/4 cup of coffee (blonde, pike or dark roast)
  • Flavoured syrup of your choice (3 tall, 4 grande, 5 venti)
  • Steamed milk

Why you should try it: "I think it's the best bang for your buck because mists are much cheaper than lattes." —Barista Bronwyn Barker.

Barista hack: You can have it with any syrup you want. Sky's the limit.

BONUS: Honey Almond Flat White

What is it: A flat white made with a ristretto shot, a smaller amount of coffee than a normal espresso short. Instead of the typical whole milk, this beverage is made with almond milk and flavoured with honey.

What's in it:

  • Honey blend syrup (3 tall, 4 grande, 5 venti)
  • Ristretto shot of espresso (2 tall, 3 grande, 4 venti)
  • Steamed almond milk

Why you should try it: "It's a nice alternative to a typical coffee flavour. You wouldn't really think honey and coffee go together, but it totally does." —Barista Andrew Mrozowski.

Barista hack: I don't have one, it's just plain ol' delicious.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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