Paleo drink options at Starbucks (and other cafes).

by (1866) Updated May 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM Created March 25, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Obviously, most things in Starbucks are not paleo. A quick Google search finds food options at Starbucks that can be considered paleo if eaten occasionally (e.g. bananas, roasted nuts), but not much info. on their drinks (other than simple teas). Recognizing that many paleo folks still allow for coffee (and some, milk), what are reasonable drink options at Starbucks?

Hot Drinks:

  • Hot tea
  • Espresso
  • Coffee
  • Americano (espresso + water)
  • Latte (whole milk) w/cinnamon

Cold Drinks:

  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Iced coffee

The flavored syrups are not paleo, considering they're heavily processed and made with sugar. (Anyone know about their cacao mix for mochas and hot chocolates?)

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35 Replies

350 · February 27, 2012 at 6:35 PM

I thought this was funny...I just ordered a small coffee with heavy whipping cream at my public library and the older woman who made my drink said "I like to call this naughty cream, because it's full of fat and so yummy." She then said my request was something she never hears and when I told her I was on a high fat diet she said "Well that just sounds delicious."

Made me smile. :)

80 · March 25, 2011 at 7:25 PM

You can add heavy whipping cream to any drink that they make. I get a Misto which is half coffee and half steamed heavy cream.

213 · February 26, 2012 at 2:09 AM

Blarf. I work there and I am sick of any and all beverages EXCEPT the iced decaf willow coffee (have to ask for it on the rare clover machine). Delicious, like honey. Pinch of stevia, nutmeg, and cream and it is just divine. Otherwise. Everything is fake garbage. EVERYTHING. (non-organic milk = nipple pus).

777 · March 26, 2011 at 7:58 AM

americano. no cream. no nothing. pretty good (for starbucks)

126 · March 25, 2011 at 9:33 PM

I only do this once in a while, I ask for an espresso shot with heavy cream "all the way up, COLD". They are horrified...

536 · March 25, 2011 at 7:46 PM

three shot latte with heavy cream. yup.

1714 · April 04, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I confused a barista this weekend by ordering a Mocha latte with sugar free syrup but heavy cream instead of milk. It was delicious. A once-in-a-while treat though with the flavoring.

130 · April 04, 2011 at 5:32 AM

Funny that you get weird looks-- I worked at Starbucks in college (late 90s) when low carb was all the rage and people asked for breve lattes (latte made with cream) all the time. I can't do dairy at all so I either get a plain Americano, or if I know ahead of time I'm going to coffee I bring a little container with some coconut milk in it and throw it in there. It's a little weird, but yummy!

234 · June 06, 2012 at 5:04 PM

REAL iced-coffee! Cold-pressed, it is very different from iced-coffee served at 95%+ of the coffee shops. Hard to find a coffee shop that makes and sells it, but if you find a place that carries the real deal, you have found a great coffee shop!

Regular places just use their regular coffee that has been brewed hot and add ice to it, lame. Cold-pressed is steeping coffee in room-temp or cold water for extended time (like 8-16hrs). It lowers the acidity, making the coffee naturally sweeter. Also, changes the chemical profile of the coffee because it is never heated. Packs a hell of a caffeine punch too-much stronger than espresso or regular coffee. Tastes so much smoother and just wonderful compared to any regular coffee or even the smoothest espresso.

So, not that easily found but it is delicious! I've moved and now can't find any places near me that sell it.

1127 · February 19, 2012 at 6:20 AM

Venti or Trenta iced coffee, cream, no sugar... I sip on it all morning :)

440 · February 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

As no one's touched on the mocha syrup -- It's made from a pre-packaged powder that is mixed with hot water.

Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Chocolate Liquor, Potassium Sorbate, Vanillin.

Unsure of the sugar-free variety, it's one of the bottled syrups which have more crap in them.

1468 · April 04, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Doppio (two shot espresso) and fill with cream. Cost $2.09 in N. Florida if they dont charnge for heavy cream... or in a a pinch I fill the tiny cup with 1/2 and 1/2..

2932 · March 26, 2011 at 2:06 AM

I get a large iced coffee (last week they asked if i meant the venti or the new trenta size and I explained that the trenta size is bigger than the average human stomach) or four shots over ice. I use the raw sugar and some half and half (after reading this post I'll be switching to heavy cream!) and ask them to shake it up because the sugar settles on the bottom. This morning I got a banana. I used to get the almonds for breakfast but they've cut the size in half and put the roasted almonds in the back behind the glazed almonds. Go america. I much prefer coffee from whole foods... cheaper too and organic.

970 · March 25, 2011 at 11:47 PM

"Venti bold drip (or Americano), filled to Grande level, then fill the rest up to the top with cold heavy whipping cream."

Yeah...I, too, get the incredulous, eye-popping looks from the baristas.


10878 · March 25, 2011 at 9:57 PM

I order a short latte made with half and half. It foams up a little better than the heavy cream. It's a compromise but a little better than straight whole milk.

6491 · March 25, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I generally avoid Coffee, Inc., but I've discovered that Caribou Coffee's Cinnamon Rooibos tea is divine.

454 · March 25, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Luckily here in Modesto, CA we have an AMAZING local coffee shop called The Serrano Social Club. They offer almond milk and you don't even have the option of "flavors" because the coffee is just. that. good. :-D

21258 · March 25, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Iced green tea. Thats pretty much it for me. It's a tazo mint green tea that tastes nothing like a good green tea, but it breaks the monotony and gives me a little caf.

554 · March 25, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Decaf Americano with heavy cream, raar.

4073 · March 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

I usually get coffee black. But sometimes I will get a large coffee: 3/4 coffee, 1/4 heavy whipping cream. They will then ask you "you want the REAL cream just poured in there plain and cold?" Yep.

I avoid anything that has a name or requires a mixture.

0 · February 26, 2013 at 7:17 PM

There is no such thing as Paleo Dairy. The idea being that our ancestors did not consume dairy after the first year or so of life. How does it make sense then to consume dairy from a cow or a goat?

77348 · November 27, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Organo gold highly recommended http://mycapturepage.com/cp23.php?id=470

0 · August 11, 2012 at 1:00 AM

@JMack383: That must include the Classic (i.e. sugar) syrup that is included in the standard recipe. You have to specify if you want it unsweetened.

289 · July 11, 2012 at 6:54 PM

I didnt realize this about Starbucks Iced Coffe but a Grande 16oz size has 21g Carbs. I dont know how this is possible. I wish I would have known before I was drinking one a day.

Starbucks.com Nutrition Facts Per Serving (16 fl oz) Calories 90 Calories from Fat 0 % Daily Value* Total Fat 0g 0% Saturated Fat 0g 0% Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 5mg 0% Total Carbohydrate 21g 7% Dietary Fiber 0g 0% Sugars 20g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%Calcium0%Iron0% Caffeine 165mg *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

0 · June 06, 2012 at 4:39 PM

@ Shane: There is little to no lactose/lactase in heavy cream as it is 99.9 % fat. Most people who don't tolerate dairy well can usually have cream and butter (just heavy cream churned).

I know it sounds weird, I'm relatively new to paleo too. But just remember that fat is your energy now (instead of carbs) so fat is your friend. :)


10 · May 07, 2012 at 3:36 PM

"Iced Venti Unsweetened Breve Starbucks Doubleshot."

It's 5-6 shots of espresso shaken over ice with a splash of half and half. I get it without syrup and add in a few drops of stevia, splenda, or whatever (yes, this is a "cheat" for me). Make sure you tell them you only want a splash of dairy or they will treat the 1/2 & 1/2 or Heavy Cream as normal milk and pour in way too much.

This is a legacy drink and really just am amped up Iced Americano, but they normally don't charge you for the extra shots if you order it by name, and it actually comes out cold since they shake it over ice whereas I normally find the Iced Americanos to be lukewarm at best.

0 · May 07, 2012 at 3:52 AM


I'm new to this paleo thing. What is the idea behind being able to use heavy whipping cream in the coffee. Is that allowed more than milk is.

242 · March 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Lame! I tried asking for "heavy whipping cream" after reading all of this and they just poured in Half and Half! Nooooo!!!

298 · March 15, 2012 at 7:54 PM

I usually just make my own coffee, and usually have some cream in it, but today I went crazy and bought myself a mocha!!! Very NOT paleo. Oh well, I have never been a perfectionist! :)

0 · March 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM

I carry unsweetened cocoa powder in my purse to add to a black coffee. It cuts the bitterness of plain black. I wish there was a way to carry coconut milk packets around! And the cocoa powder at the sugar/cream bar tastes sweet so I've avoided it. (whole30 thing)

1086 · February 26, 2012 at 2:52 AM

Americano with pastured heavy cream brought from home. There's no other way to start work on a Monday.

Here's an interesting nugget provided by Martin Berkhan's twitter: Study suggests coffee improves metabolic health.

...as if us caffeine drinkers needed any further justification.

1392 · March 25, 2011 at 9:03 PM

I drink my coffee black as well, but I put cinnamon in it-- most cafes (including Starbucks) have cinnamon (and sometimes nutmeg) over near their sugar/dairy/napkins station, and they both give the coffee a nice little kick.

80 · March 25, 2011 at 8:10 PM

Also, the black iced tea is NOT the Tazo Black Tea that they sell in the boxes at the store. It is actually an iced tea blend that you can only buy in huge Starbucks sized bags online. It is a mix of black tea with a bit of bergamot in it. It's divine.

154 · March 25, 2011 at 7:10 PM

They have a number of sugar free syrPus, if you are just wanting something to tickle your sweet buds. They come at a heavy price to your gut and are decidedly un paleo. Don't know about the cocoa, although back in the day I must admit it tasted pretty authentic.

18619 · March 25, 2011 at 7:10 PM

They also have a Protein Platter with a hard boiled egg, cheese and other stuff. There are some crackers I throw out, but in a pinch, it works.

If they don't have the Protein Platter I go with the Fruit and Cheese platter. It usually has apple wedges, some grapes, cheddar cheese and some brie and crackers. Again, I throw out the crackers.

Neither is optimal, the price is too high for the amount of food you get too.

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