Starbucks Iced Coffee: What To Know Before Ordering

For many, Starbucks reigns supreme above all other coffee joints. From cold brew to Frappuccinos, Starbucks has something for everyone, whether you are the most devout coffee drinker or not.

The taste and quality of a coffee chain's iced coffee is what really defines them as a player in this billion-dollar industry. And Starbucks makes a mean iced coffee, which was the most popular order at locations in Boston and Tampa in 2020 (via FinancesOnline).

Not to be confused with the newer, trendy cold brew that Starbucks released back in 2015, which is made through steeping cold water, iced coffee is the older sibling that is first brewed hot at double strength, before being poured over ice to achieve a strong, nutty flavor (via Starbucks). When exactly was Starbucks' iced coffee introduced, what sets it apart from its competitors, and what is exactly in it? Keep reading to find out!

What is Starbucks iced coffee?

From the company's website, Starbucks iced coffee is the coffeehouse's signature blend that is chilled and sweetened with its classic syrup over ice. This syrup can also be switched out or combined with other syrups, like the cinnamon dolce syrup and the popular sugar-free vanilla syrup, if you're looking for a low sugar option. A lot of people also choose to add milk to their iced coffee, whether that's 2%, almond, or coconut. According to a Quora user who worked at Starbucks, the blend used for the iced coffee is called the "Terraza Blend" and comes in a medium roast sourced from Kenya (via Reddit).

Starbucks, which we ranked No. 1 on our list of store bought coffee brands, also sells iced coffee in 48-fluid-ounce containers so that you can make it at home. You can purchase bulk quantities of the at-home variety at Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

How much does Starbucks iced coffee cost?

According to The Spruce Eats, Starbucks changes the prices of its menu items depending on the location. However, a grande iced coffee from Starbucks typically costs $2.65, according to Real Menu Prices. This is low compared to lots of other comparable items of the same size on the menu, with a latte at $3.65 and a mocha coming in at $4.15. Of course, this is the price without tax and many of the popular customizations mentioned before.

However, the price is still more than a popular competitor, Dunkin', which sells a medium iced coffee for $2.49, according to Real Menu Prices. Also, its medium comes in at 24 fluid ounces, according to Consumerist, compared to Starbucks' mid-size option, which is only 16 fluid ounces. Nonetheless, for many, $2.65 appears to be a reasonable price, with the average cup of coffee costing $3.12 in New York, according to Perfect Brew.

What is it made out of, and how does it taste?

As touched on before, Starbucks' iced coffee is made from the company's Terraza Blend. According to the company's website, the container variety is made from beans harvested in both Latin America and East Africa. The classic syrup is made out of sugar, water, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, and citric acid.

Starbucks describes its iced coffee as a medium roast, with hints of cola and caramel. It is also lightly sweetened, and because it is served cold, it has a "crispy" flavor when served.

A article describes a black Starbucks iced coffee as burnt, with a bitter aftertaste. Entrepreneur Magazine also commented on the less than desirable aftertaste of the drink, ranking it below Burger King's iced coffee, which is a low blow considering the fast-food restaurant doesn't even specialize in any sort of espresso.

Of course, the taste also varies depending on what syrups and milk you use, which was not evaluated in the article. Though both sites delivered honest, but pretty harsh, reviews on the popular chain's iced coffee, you'll have to try it yourself to see if it appeals to you.

When was Starbucks' iced coffee released, and is it a permanent staple?

Starbucks first opened in 1971 in Seattle and has since expanded to over 30,000 locations, according to FinancesOnline. However, it wasn't until decades after opening when it began selling iced coffee. The release of its iconic Frappuccino came first, which actually helped boost the popularity of iced coffee in 1995, according to Coffee Magazine. Prior to this, iced coffee wasn't the common commodity that it is today. Preceding the creation of the Frappuccino was a carbonated coffee drink that Starbucks created in collaboration with Pepsi, which was an absolute failure, according to Bustle.

Starbucks officially introduced its own iced coffee in company-owned retail stores in March 2006, and the drink was later brought to supermarkets across the United States in May of that year, according to Iced brewed coffee was then put on the menu in May 2009, which was made with the Terraza Blend, according to Starbucks' website.

So far, iced coffee is here to stay on the Starbucks menu.

What is the nutritional value of Starbucks' iced coffee?

With the default four pumps of classic syrup it's made with, Starbucks' iced coffee can be quite sweet, containing 20 grams of sugar, according to the company's website. However, as noted before, you can skip it completely or swap it with a low sugar option. Other than the syrup and the iced coffee itself, the only other ingredient is ice, which brings the coffee to a total of 80 calories and 165 milligrams of caffeine for a grande. It also has nearly no macros, except for its sugars, which bring it to 20 grams of carbohydrates — about 7% of a person's recommended daily intake.

Adding a protein shake to your Starbucks' iced coffee is another popular customization, which both makes it more creamy and can add up to 30 grams of protein to your drink, according to Lifehacker.

So whether you're looking for a simple, yet delicious iced coffee or just need some caffeine in your system, head over to Starbucks for that sweet, classic cup of bean juice that we all know and love.