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The Five Most Expensive Starbucks Drinks

Starbucks is one of the better-known coffee chains, and it also has a reputation for being expensive. However, how expensive is a drink? Well, it depends on all that’s being added to it. With every ingredient that is added in, it’s an extra charge. It’s why many people choose to get drinks directly off the menu to ensure they know how much their drink is going to cost.

The chain, which originated in Seattle back in 1971, now boasts over 27,000 chains around the globe. A few years ago, there was a “Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Challenge” that took place on social media. It led many people to put the baristas to the test, creating all sorts of unique drinks that would cost more than the average menu items.

Of course, the cost will vary based on what is being requested as well as where in the world you are. While Starbucks is well known for serving light and dark roast coffee, they also have tea, juice, and the ever-famous Frappuccino. A tall (small) latte is $2.95 at most Starbucks around the United States, but that can skyrocket to $3.45 in New York and $5.75 in Zurich, Switzerland.

What are the Rules for Getting a Starbucks Drink?

Starbucks management may not allow you to get everything you want inside your drink, depending on the local store and the availability of certain ingredients. Many don’t want you to spend $20 or more on a single drink for fear that you won’t pay for it, too.

The company has also placed a few limits as a result of the “Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Challenge.” You cannot provide your own cup that would be larger than the 31-ounce Trenta size for Starbucks coffee or tea. Additionally, you cannot get a blended or espresso drink that is over 24 ounces. So, if you had hoped to get a dozen or more pumps of your favorite flavor to increase the price, think again.

Most Starbucks want you to stay within the boundaries of the posted menu. You can add on a few extra pumps, change up the milk, and that sort of thing. However, they’re not going to let you get cake pops to put into a Frappuccino or do anything too crazy.

That being said, you will always be able to find the rogue Starbucks employee who will throw the rules out the window and let you do whatever you want – especially if there’s a chance that a video is being made that could go viral.

You also have to be careful with how many espresso shots are included in your drink. No one should ingest more than 400 mg of caffeine in a single serving. There’s 64 mg in a single shot of espresso, so if you’re thinking of doing six or more shots of espresso to increase the price of your Starbucks drink, think again. Even if your wallet can handle it, your heart may not be able to.

Methodology

Crafting expensive Starbucks drinks requires a bit of planning. We used the Starbucks app to go into the menu, which allowed us to look at the different drink offerings. From there, we customized the drink by looking at the various add-ons that could impact the cost.

Here are a few things that can impact the cost:

  • Changing out the milk to oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk
  •  
  • Adding additional espresso shots
  • Adding additional flavor pumps
  • Adding chocolate or vanilla powder
  • Adding a press of Partanna olive oil
  • Adding a flavored syrup
  • Adding cold foam

Beyond using the Starbucks app, we also used various blogs where people have taken the Starbucks drink challenge to see what they ordered and what it cost. This included such blogs as Tasting Table and Coffee Affection.

So, let’s see what the most expensive Starbucks drinks are.

The five most expensive Starbucks drinks that anyone has ever ordered are listed below.

5. Elton’s Grande American – $100

If you were an active user of the now-defunct Vine platform prior to its termination in 2016, you may be familiar with Elton Castee. Additionally, if you have been a devoted admirer of Dude Perfect, a comedic ensemble with a thriving YouTube channel, you would likely be able to recognize this particular content creator.

However, it is possible that even the most ardent Castee enthusiasts are unaware that he holds the second-place record for ordering the most expensive drink at Starbucks.

In 2017, Castee procured a grande americano with a price tag of $100, thereby establishing a then-unprecedented record for the priciest Starbucks beverage worldwide. The beverage was presented in a plastic wastepaper bin that Castee and his fellow content creators had obtained from a nearby store.

If you plan on replicating it again, you’d have to do it at home. Starbucks would say no to serving a drink in a wastepaper bin.

4. Justin’s White Mocha Frappuccino – $101.50

A guy named Justin nearly matched Thomas’ record. Justin brought his own large plastic container to a Starbucks in Stratford, Connecticut, to collect his Starbucks reward points. Justin’s White Mocha Frappuccino included 112 shots of espresso, 54 pumps of Frappuccino Roast, 70 pumps of white mocha, four pumps of caramel syrup, five bananas, and 20 grams of vanilla protein powder.

The drink was topped with Frappuccino chips. The total caffeine count is 8525 mg. A small crowd gathered at the store to watch Starbucks create the drink, and Justin and friends drink it. How many straws do you think they needed?

3. Thomas’s White Mocha Frappuccino – $102.04

A guy named Thomas purchased the third most expensive Starbucks drink. Thomas was even able to get the Frappuccino for free because he claimed his Starbucks birthday reward. Thomas brought his own metal milk can. His giant White Mocha Frappuccino had an extra 102 shots of espresso.

The iced coffee contained 54 pumps of Frappuccino roast coffee, 70 pumps of white mocha, four pumps of caramel syrup, five bananas, and 70 grams of protein powder. The mega drink was topped with Frappuccino chips and caramel drizzle and contained extra ice. The total caffeine count: is 800 mg. That alone would be enough to send you into cardiac arrest. Hopefully, he had plans to share the drink with some friends.

2. Café Americano – $102.15

YouTuber Elton Castee documented his attempt to order the most expensive Starbucks drink last year again. He placed second. Castee isn’t even a coffee drinker. He and a group of friends attempted to purchase the most expensive Starbucks drink in the coffeehouse’s hometown of Seattle, Washington.

Castee and his friends first visited a Target store to find a huge container. Unfortunately, they were unable to film inside the world’s first Starbucks, but they found a more willing manager around the corner. The group ordered the Café Americano. The standard drink contains several shots of espresso topped with hot water to create a light layer of cream and a rich-tasting coffee. The standard Grande Americano has 225 mg of caffeine.

Castee’s drink featured 104 shots of espresso. Castee and friends brought their own giant pitcher to the world’s first Starbucks but weren’t allowed to film there, so they went around to the Starbucks around the corner. The group was able to purchase the second most expensive Starbucks drink and paid for it with cash.

1. Super Venti Flat White – $148.99

The most expensive Starbucks coffee served was a Super Venti Flat White. William E. Lewis Jr. visited Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration in January 2017 and decided to try his hand at the “Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Challenge”. He found a Starbucks in Bethesda, Maryland, willing to oblige.

They agreed to serve Fort Lauderdale, Florida native Lewis a Super Venti Starbucks Flat White in the giant coffee mug that Lewis brought with him. The drink featured a whopping 11,200 mg of caffeine. Of course, Lewis shared the drink with friends. 170 espresso shots were added to the standard three ristretto shots of Starbucks’ venti flat white.

Coconut milk was added. Unfortunately, the cashier couldn’t figure out how to apply Lewis’ Starbucks rewards to the mammoth drink. This wasn’t Lewis’ first shot at the “Starbucks Challenge”. In 2014, he ordered a $83.75 coffee with 17 pumps of vanilla syrup, mocha green tea, and matcha powder. That drink contained over 6400 mg of caffeine, and Lewis was able to apply his rewards. Will Lewis continue his quest for the most expensive Starbucks drink?

5 Realistic (But Expensive) Drinks You Can Order

Just because you CAN order an expensive $100 drink from Starbucks doesn’t mean that you should or that the store would even let you. Remember, most won’t actually let you bring in your own mug to fill with 40 ounces of just espresso (that doesn’t even leave room for the flavor pumps, syrups, ice, milk, and anything else going inside of your masterpiece.

Over the years, there have been plenty of “secret menu” items that have landed on blogs about Starbucks. By tweaking a standard menu item slightly, you get a delicious drink. It will be more expensive drink than the standard drinks, but it might just be worth it, especially if you get an Instagram-worthy moment out of it, too.

So, what are five drinks that you can order from Starbucks that are pricey but doable? Read on.

5. Peach Cobbler Frappuccino – $8.65

The sweet taste of peach cobbler can be completely sippable inside a Frappuccino, but you’ll want to place this order on the app rather than go into the store simply because of all the changes that you’ll have to make.

You’ll start with a vanilla bean Frappuccino and add in two pumps of peach syrup and another pump of cinnamon dolce syrup. Extra whipped cream is a must for this, and top it off with the cinnamon dolce sprinkles.

If they don’t have any peach syrup, you can do apple for an apple cobbler or even raspberry for a raspberry cobbler, and it won’t change the price.

4. Twix Frappuccino – $8.65

If you love candy bars, the Twix Frappuccino is a must-have drink. Depending on where you order this, it will be under $10. However, if you go to one of the more expensive cities, like New York, this could easily add up to about $12, so be careful.

In order for it to taste just like its namesake, you’ll want to start with the Caramel Frappuccino. From there, you’ll have them add two pumps of hazelnut syrup as well as a serving size of java chips.

To finish it off, ask for not only extra caramel sauce but also a mocha sauce drizzle. It’s delicious, but it’s definitely not calorie-friendly.

3. Stracciatella Gelato Shake – $10

If you’ve ever been to an Italian restaurant with Stracciatella on the menu, you already know that this is going to be an amazing drink. This particular one was ordered in Italy, but that’s not to say that you can’t get a bit creative by asking a Starbucks locally – especially at the right time of year when they have all the ingredients.

The reason that this one is so expensive is because it’s made with for di latte gelato – and that creamy delicacy is a pricy addition into the drink. Some of the Starbucks Reserve locations have gelato, so all you have to do is ask for this shake.

Beyond the gelato going into the milkshake, it’s finished off with dark chocolate curls and sprinkles. If you want even more richness, ask for some whipped cream on top.

2. Fall in a Cup Frappuccino – $11.85

Forget one of the cheaper and more affordable pumpkin spice lattes when you can have all the flavors of fall in a cup. Just as the weather starts to cool down, you’ll want to run out and get one of these drinks – but don’t look for it on the menu. It’s a secret menu drink, so you’ll have to customize it.

Obviously, you’ll want the venti so that there’s plenty to last you – or you can share a few sips with your bestie. Start with the Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino and, then, get ready to add in a few different flavors. You’ll want one pump of caramel and two pumps of chai.

If you’re feeling a bit rich, you can also add in extra whipped as well as some crumbles onto the top, providing you with some texture to blend into your drink, too. That’ll be an extra $0.80, but most people find it’s well worth it.

1. Nitro Cold Brew Float – $12

Starbucks Reserve locations are where you can really start to get a fancy drink – and they have more ingredients available, allowing you to increase the price of your drink with ease. If you want to find one of these in the US, you’ll find them in Seattle, New York, and Chicago.

The Cold Brew float is typically $11, making it an expensive drink without even making any changes to it. The Nitro is an extra $1. It’s well worth it because you get a creamier texture, and it won’t be as bitter as the traditional cold brew.

Of course, if you want flavors, a shot of espresso, or some crumbles on top, you can easily get the cost of the drink well up to $15 and beyond.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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