When I go to Starbucks, I have to order drinks that are coffee-free, tea leaf-free, and caffeine-free. This is because I have chronic migraines and these things can make my migraines even worse. Since I’m a college student, I am always within close proximity to a Starbucks and will end up there a few times a semester. However, I never feel left out because of my drink restrictions, as I have found a lot of great drinks that do not contain any of my migraine triggers. No ordering a 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 (like the political events I talk about here), and it gives me just the right amount of energy, no caffeine or added sugar needed.
Caramel apple spice (seasonal)
In the fall, there is a similar drink called the caramel apple spice. It can be ordered year round by asking for it by recipe- steamed apple juice with cinnamon dolce syrup, caramel sauce (or syrup), and whipped cream. I like it a lot!
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?
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.
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, which is white chocolate and chocolate blended together.
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.
Berry sangria herbal tea (seasonal)
I discovered this drink last summer and was so excited Starbucks brought it back again when the weather warmed up. Herbal tea, lemonade, and berries are a fantastic combination, and the color is really pretty too. I recommend getting unsweetened tea as the lemonade and fruit has enough sugar in it already.
So, I’ve actually never tried this, but one of my friends encouraged me to include it because it’s one of their favorite drinks 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 only trigger migraines.
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.
Vanilla créme steamer
Steamed milk and vanilla syrup makes for a great alternative to hot chocolate. Try switching out milks 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.
Thanks to these drinks, I don’t have to worry about my migraines preventing me from going on a Starbucks run with friends. I do try to sit outside though to avoid the strong smell of coffee. Even if you don’t drink coffee, tea, or caffeine, you can find a great Starbucks drink and join in on the fun.