When I was in college, I lived directly next door to a 24 hour Starbucks. Like most college students, I was there fairly often, but I had to make sure that whatever drink I ordered was coffee-free, tea leaf-free, caffeine-free, and, later in my college career, chocolate-free, all because of chronic migraines. Even though I had all of these restrictions, I never felt left out when my friends would suggest a Starbucks run, as I have found a lot of great drinks that do not contain any of my migraine triggers. No ordering grande ice water here- check out these ten drinks that are coffee-free, tea leaf-free, caffeine-free, migraine-friendly, and delicious.
Steamed apple juice
This is probably my favorite drink on the Starbucks menu because it is so simple. I have had it many times when going to wait in line for events, and it gives me just the right amount of energy, no caffeine or added sugar needed.
Caramel apple spice
An upgrade to the steamed apple juice, the caramel apple spice features caramel sauce/syrup, cinnamon dolce syrup, and whipped cream on top. I like to order it when I’m looking to have something fancier than the standard steamed apple juice, though I’ve also tried it with pumpkin spice syrup instead of cinnamon dolce and really liked it.
Hot chocolate/white chocolate
Chocolate can have trace amounts of caffeine and be a migraine trigger for some people, though since white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, it is safe to eat. Even though it can contain small amounts of caffeine, hot chocolate still earned a place on the list though, as many people who can’t have coffee or tea will turn to hot chocolate for their hot beverage needs. If you’re looking for a less intense but still chocolatey treat, order a black and white hot chocolate. That’s white chocolate and regular chocolate blended together.
Vanilla créme steamer
Steamed milk and vanilla syrup make for a great alternative to hot chocolate. Try switching out kinds of milk and adding syrups to create new flavor combinations. You can also order it by asking for steamed milk followed by whatever syrups you want to add. Starbucks also offers seasonal steamers such as pumpkin spice, butterscotch, and others.
Drink too hot?
Do you find that the normal drink temperature is too hot for you? Do you often burn your tongue on hot beverages? Ask the barista to make your drink at the kid’s temperature, which is about 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This way you can enjoy your drink without waiting for it to cool or watering it down.
Herbal tea lemonade + raspberry syrup
This is my favorite iced drink to get. I order unsweetened herbal tea (which is tea leaf-free) mixed with lemonade, and add raspberry syrup for a not-too-sweet drink that’s available year-round and easy to make. I always verify with the barista to make sure that they use herbal tea and not any of the other teas, and check when I pick up the drink from the counter to make sure it is tea leaf-free. If you like the drink sweeter, order it with sweetened tea or Starbucks classic syrup added.
Créme frappuccinos are coffee-free by default, and Starbucks has a lot of them to choose from. Strawberry, white chocolate, and double chocolate chip flavors are available, to name a few. But what if there is a frappuccino flavor you want that isn’t available without coffee?
Iced Guava Passionfruit Drink
This is a new addition to the Starbucks menu and one of my favorite drinks right now. It’s described as a “guava juice blend with notes of passionfruit hand-shaken with flavors of pineapple and ginger along with coconut milk and ice.” Even though it has passionfruit in the name, it does not contain any passionfruit (I have a suspected allergy), just guava juice.
This is my friend’s favorite drink at Starbucks. The strawberry smoothie is made with strawberries, banana, ice, fiber, and whey protein powder. It’s great with almond milk or coconut milk blended in, but both of these things cost extra. However, due to the whey protein, it is not dairy-free or vegan. The smoothie base also contains white grape juice, but this should not cause any issues for people with migraines, since red and purple grapes are the most common grapes to trigger migraines.
Order a vanilla créme frappuccino and make any frappuccino coffee-free
One of the great things about the vanilla bean frappuccino is that it is the perfect canvas for flavored syrup, and any of the syrups can easily be added. If you see a flavor you want, don’t be afraid to ask for the syrup blended in- this works especially well for seasonal drinks. Cinnamon dolce is a great addition, but I have also enjoyed adding caramel, white chocolate, hazelnut, and raspberry. The mocha syrups are coffee-free, so feel free to add them.
A quick note on lids
I order my drinks without whipped cream out of personal preference, and also because I have spilled the contents of the Starbucks cups with the large dome lid more often than I care to admit. One of my friends will order their blended drinks and ask for it to be poured into a cup that’s one size larger, so they can use the flat lid and get whipped cream as well. I do not know if this costs extra or not, but it never hurts to ask!
Evolution Fresh juices
These cold-pressed juices can be found bottled in the refrigerated section, though one of my friends reported they were behind a counter at another Starbucks location. Flavors vary by store, but I like the “Defense Up” one, and any of the smoothies. I love grabbing these in between classes or during breaks as they have no sugar added and are caffeine-free.
Hint water (bottled)
Available at most Starbucks locations, Hint waters are fruit-infused and have no added sweeteners at all. I love them and they are my favorite drink choice at the grocery store too. I usually can find the blackberry flavor at most locations, but my favorites are mango grapefruit and watermelon.
List of Starbucks drinks without caffeine, coffee, or tea
- Steamed apple juice
- Caramel apple spice (seasonal)
- Hot chocolate/white chocolate
- Vanilla créme steamer
- Herbal tea lemonade with syrup
- Creme frappucinos
- Iced guava passionfruit
- Strawberry smoothie
- Evolution Fresh juices
- Hint water