Which Is the Strongest Coffee at Starbucks?

Hey there, fellow coffee lovers! Let’s talk about the one thing we all can’t live without, our favorite all-time topic: coffee. Specifically, let’s have a look at the strongest coffee beverage at Starbucks so you can get the biggest caffeine intake for a sleepy morning!

Fun fact, did you know that caffeine doesn’t actually wake you up? It tricks your brain by somehow blocking the sleepy from your brain. Abracadabra, you don’t want to sleep anymore!

If you’re like me, then you’re in search of that perfect coffee cup that contains the perfect amount of caffeine.

Personally, I’m wondering which is the strongest coffee at Starbucks. In particular, since it’s always been my go-to. They all taste phenomenal, but, I might as well find the one that can restart my brain, right?

How to Compare Different Drinks?

There are several factors that affect the level of caffeine in a cup of coffee.

  • The brewing method
  • Type of roast
  • Amount of coffee used
  • Size of the serving
  • Water temperature

Do sugar and cream affect the level of caffeine in your coffee?

So how can we compare one cup with another?

Buzzfeed performed a test to compare the amount of coffee used in 4 different brands of coffee. They went out and bought 3 identical cups of coffee from two different states. This way, they could test the caffeine content from not only one place, but the average amount.

They tested them using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, which separates compounds in a mixture to be able to quantify them, according to Science Direct.

What Has the Most Caffeine at Starbucks?

Plain brewed coffee is what contains the most caffeine content. Each blend, however, has a different amount of caffeine.

Based on calculations by Caffeine Informer, both Dark Roast and Reserve Roasts have the highest caffeine levels. A 16-ounce brewed cup of coffee made with either of these blends contains 380 mg of caffeine. 16 ounces of Medium Roast brewed coffee contains 375 milligrams of caffeine. Blonde Roast is at 360 mg per 16 ounces.

There is very little difference between these 3 blends when it comes to caffeine intake. In fact, they contain the perfect amount of caffeine one of us might need in one of those days; one cup of coffee made with either of these 3 and, bam, you’re good to go. Any more than that and it would be too much caffeine, so beware.

Let’s have a closer look at the different coffee beverages of coffee you can get at Starbucks to find the strongest one:

CoffeeCaffeine in a Tall CupWhat is it?
Starbucks Clover Brewed Coffee280mgHot Coffee, Clover brewed
Blonde Roast Brewed Coffee270mgHot Drip Coffee, light roasted coffee beans
Pike Place Roast Brewed Coffee235mgHot coffee, Drip Brew, Dark Roast
Nitro Cold Brew215mgIced Coffee, Cold Brew Coffee
Starbucks Dark Roast Coffee195mgHot coffee, Drip Brew, Dark Roast
Blonde Caffè Americano170mgHot Espresso with Water
Cold Brew 155mg Iced Coffee, Cold Brew Coffee

This list is certainly not each and every caffeinated drink you can get at Starbucks. There are some facts that surprised me though. First, it was not surprising that the Blonde Caffè Americano was not on top of the list. You mix two shots of espresso with hot water and things get, well, watered down… I would have expected the Starbucks Dark Roast Coffee towards the top of the list though.

It is surprising to me to see the Blonde Roast Brewed Coffee that high up. You always think that a lighter roasted coffee will have less caffeine. I guess that’s a foolish thought. The same is true for Starbucks’ Cold Brew Coffee and Nitro Cold Brew Coffee. I’d have expected them lower on the list.

The Blonde Caffè Americano has two shots of espresso so you can easily calculate that a single shot of espresso at Starbucks has 85mg of caffeine. Keep that in mind when you add additional shots as they can produce a cup of coffee that definitely will get you energized!

You can reduce the amount of caffeine per cup for every coffee drink by adding milk. The Barista has to leave some room for the milk and as such you will have less coffee, espresso, or cold brew in the cup to begin with.

List of the Strongest Coffee at Starbucks

1 – Clover Brewed Coffee

The Clover Brewed Coffee is a more modern way of brewing coffee. It has offered many people a new way to enjoy coffee.

Starbucks introduced the Clover Brewing System over a decade ago. It uses a vacuum-press process to brew coffee. It’s somewhat like an automatic French Press with the result that the Barista can brew quality cup after quality cup of coffee.

A tall cup of Clover brewed coffee comes with a whopping 280 mg of caffeine. This makes it the strongest coffee you can get at Starbucks! You can pick the coffee you want to be brewed with the Clover system. A tall cup of the Caffé Verona Clover, Italian Roast Clover, French Roast Clover, or Espresso Roast Clover all have 280 mg of caffeine. Funny enough, you can also have decaffeinated Clover Brewed coffees which come with low amounts of caffeine of around 20 mg per tall cup.

Not only is the coffee strong, but it’s also unique in taste. The system produces a more flavorful tasting coffee. Unfortunately, you can’t get a Clover brewed coffee at all Starbucks locations. Only select retail outlets have the machine to prepare this coffee.

2 – Blonde Roast Brewed Coffee

The Blonde Roast brewed coffee is just a bit lower in caffeine. A tall size cup energizes you with 270 mg of caffeine.

The Blonde Roast is the light roast at Starbucks. The beans are roasted shorter than the dark roasts. This results in a smoother taste with higher acidity and more caffeine.

It’s overall one of the most popular coffees at Starbucks.

3 – Pike Place Roast Brewed Coffee

The Pike Place roast is the iconic Starbucks roast and refers to the early days when there was only one retail location at Pike Place Market in Seattle. This is the coffee that you can get at any Starbucks anywhere in the world, and you can expect it to taste exactly the same no matter where you order it.

The Pike Place roast brewed coffee ranks third when it comes to the strongest coffees at Starbucks, with still an impressive 235 mg caffeine when you order a tall cup. That’s definitely enough to keep you going for a few hours!

4 – Nitro Cold Brew

The Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew is an enjoyable beverage. It’s the regular Cold Brew at Starbucks that is infused with Nitrogen Oxide bubbles.

The infusion of Nitrogen cools down the coffee, and it’s not even served over ice. Thus, the Nitro Cold Brew is not diluted and therefore stronger. You end up with 215 mg of caffeine in a tall cup of Nitro Cold Brew.

The Nitrogen also adds a sweetness to the coffee, so it’s a unique flavor you’ll enjoy! 

5 – Starbucks Dark Roast Coffee

The Dark Roast coffee is bold and bitter. Contrary to what most people believe, a dark roast has less caffeine than a blonde/light roast.

Yet, a tall cup still provides you with 195 mg of caffeine. That’s without question enough to make sure you won’t fall asleep anytime soon!

6 – Blonde Caffè Americano

Ranked no. 6, we finally get an Espresso based beverage. It’s somewhat surprising for most people as they expect Espresso to be super-strong.

Starbucks uses two shots of Blonde roast Espresso and tops it off with hot water. You end up with a smooth-tasting cup of Americano that kicks in with 170 mg of caffeine!

7 – Cold Brew

Last on our list is the regular Starbucks Cold Brew coffee. Starbucks Baristas brew them in small batches every day. The coffee is steeped in cold water for 20 hours and has a pleasant, smooth taste.

You’re not getting the Nitrogen infusion of the Nitro Cold Brew coffee, and therefore, the beverage is served over ice. A tall cup provides 155 mg of caffeine.

Alternatively, you can also order the Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, a little smoother and has ‘only’ 150 mg caffeine in a tall serving.

What’s the Strongest Coffee?

Before discussing the strongest coffee out there, let’s go back to the source first.

Coffee Beans

The two widespread types of coffee beans out there are Arabica and Robusta.

The Kitchn describes the difference between them as follows, “Arabica beans tend to have a sweeter, softer taste, with tones of sugar, fruit, and berries. Their acidity is higher, with that winey taste that characterizes coffee with excellent acidity (How to make coffee less acidic – Does Starbucks have low acid coffee?). Robusta, however, has a stronger, harsher taste, with a grain-like overtone and peanutty aftertaste.”

While Robusta is stronger when it comes to caffeine content, Arabica is generally considered of higher quality. Due to its tastefulness, it’s more popular than Robusta.

There is, however, plenty of high-quality Robusta coffee out there. Many people prefer it for its more impactful effect.

Strongest Coffee Out There

Now there is strong coffee and then there’s over-the-top, make you jump up trees coffee. If you’re looking for the strongest coffee out there, here are some insanely strong coffees.

1.     Black Label Coffee

Devil Mountain Coffee Company’s Black Label Coffee has the most caffeine content of all coffees. Its caffeine content is as high as 1555 mg per 12 ounces. Yeah, it’s that strong.

The problem is, in fact, it’s too strong. For every 6 ounces of water, you should add 2 ½ tablespoons of coffee. But even with this recipe, it’s still too much caffeine, so you need to be careful with this one.

The instructions tell people to use 2 ½ tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 fl oz of water so there would be 5 tablespoons in a brewed coffee made with 12 fl oz of water which is a standard-sized coffee mug

2.     Very Strong Coffee

Great British Trading Company’s Very Strong Coffee is made with Robusta beans. It also contains incredibly high caffeine content, at 1350 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces. 

To brew a cup of coffee, the same recipe for Black Label Coffee works well with this one as well. Very Strong Coffee too, as the name suggests, can be too strong. One cup a day shouldn’t be exceeded.

While intense coffees are usually bitter, this one is relatively tasty. You don’t just get a good kick from Very Strong Coffee, but it’s enjoyable as well!

3.     Taft Coffee

Made in Turkey, Taft Coffee has 1182 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces.

What’s unique about it is that it’s made up of 50 different kinds of coffee beans. It’s specially made to be tasty, rather than a bitter punch-you-in-the-throat kind of strong coffee.

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Which Brand of Coffee Has the Most Caffeine?

If you’re looking for the quickest cup of coffee with the most caffeine, all you need to know is right here.

1.    Costa Brewed Coffee

Caffeine Informer classifies Costas caffeine level as extreme. Are you as surprised as I was? I mean, I love their coffee but I had no idea it was that intense! Which attests to how brilliant coffee makers they really are.

If you order a 16-ounce cup of coffee, you get, wait for it, 510 milligrams of caffeine. Impressive, right?

2.    Starbucks Dark Roast or Reserve Roasts Brewed Coffee

At 380 mg of caffeine per 16 ounces, these two blends contain the most caffeine you can find at Starbucks

3.    711 Regular Brewed Coffee

Now I bet this is another surprise. In the caffeine test conducted by Buzzfeed, they discovered that a 16-ounce Medium Blend cup of coffee from 711 contains 334 milligrams of caffeine. It might not be the tastiest, but don’t underestimate gas-station coffee again!

4.    Seattle’s Best Brewed Coffee

Not too far behind, 16 ounces of Seattle’s Best coffee contains 330 milligrams of caffeine. It can also get the job done and it tastes awesome!

5.    Caribou Brewed Coffee

Now, this is one of the coffees that have an unyielding grasp on my heart. Caribou Coffee is one of the best-tasting coffees out there. For all of you, Caribou fans out there, good news! It’s loaded with caffeine!

Not too much caffeine, to be safe. A 16-ounce cup contains 305 mg. It’s just enough to get you out of bed or to stop you from daydreaming about it, but not to get you to jump non-stop.

What About the Rest?

While they’re on high-demand, you don’t see Dunkin’ Donuts or Mcdonald’s coffees in the list. That’s because they’re not powerful enough.

They’re extreme popularity, when it comes to these two, is probably based on their convenient locations and awesome taste. When it comes to caffeine, they’re not top-scoring.

Dunkin’Donuts’ 14 ounces of brewed coffee contains 210 mg of caffeine. It’s not exactly weak and, I couldn’t stress this enough, it tastes incredible. It’s definitely a favorite for a lot of people, myself included.

Mcdonald’s’ McCafe, on the other hand, might be considered weak. At 145 milligrams of caffeine per 16 ounces, it’s not a competitor for the strongest coffee beverage. However, it gets the job done if you’re finding it hard to keep your eyes open. Besides, you can always find Mcdonald’s around wherever you are!

How Much Caffeine Is in Starbucks Coffee?

What if you’re not just looking for good old brewed coffee? A lot of us prefer a switched-up coffee that has a unique taste. Let’s take a look at the caffeine content of some of the most popular Starbucks Beverages.

At the top of the list, there’s Nitro Cold Brew. A grande (16 ounces) Nitro Cold Brew contains 280 milligrams of caffeine. To make it even more delicious you can get the Nitro Cold Brew with Sweet Cream – delicious! The Nitro Cold Brew with sweet cream does also add quite a few calories so be aware of that!

Not so far behind the Nitro Cold Brew are Latte Macchiato and Blonde Caffé Americano, at 255 mg of caffeine. Next up, there’s Flat White, with 195 milligrams of caffeine.

Since chocolate contains caffeine, Caffé Mochas have slightly higher caffeine than the rest of Starbucks coffees. Even flavored mochas such as White Mocha, my favorite, contain 175 milligrams of caffeine.

Whether flavored or plain, the following coffees are all at 150 mg of caffeine. They’re Caffé Latte, Cappuccino, Caramel Macchiato, and a double-shot espresso.

Final Thoughts

So, what do you think about all this? Did you change your mind about your favorite coffee yet, or is it still the same? In fact, is there such a thing as a favorite coffee? Personally, I have favorites but can’t choose between them.

When it comes to the strongest coffee at Starbucks, you have to choose the right blend. If you’re an Iced Coffee kind of person, like me, and you’re looking for a powerful cup, give the Nitro Cold Brew a try. You’re going to love it, trust me.

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