Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by brewthatcoffee
Craving something bold and full of caffeine? Starbucks espresso shots are the perfect way to fuel your day. Read on to learn how to order shots of espresso, how much caffeine is in each shot, and what sizes are available.
Starbucks espresso shots are a mainstay on the coffeehouse’s menu. The coffee chain offers these caffeine-rich drinks in different sizes and with various types of milk and foam. Some espresso variants also come with added flavors.
Starbucks Espresso Overview
Starbucks offers regular shots of espresso as well as specialty espresso drinks. Espresso shots are often ordered over ice or hot and come in many size options.
What is espresso?
Espresso is a coffee beverage that is brewed by forcing pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. The espresso shot is a concentrated form of coffee and is often enjoyed in smaller doses.
Starbucks Espresso Sizes & Caffeine
Refer to the table below to find out more about what espresso cup sizes are offered by Starbucks. Each size term includes the number of shots, fluid ounces, calories, and caffeine amount.
|Starbucks Espresso Cup Size
|Number of Shots
|Fluid Ounces (oz)
As you can see in the table above, the standard amount of caffeine in one shot of espresso from Starbucks is 75 mg. This can vary slightly depending on the roast you choose.
If you choose the standard shot, you’ll get 75 mg. You can expect 85 mg of caffeine in the blonde roast. Lastly, if you order a decaf espresso, you’ll be looking at around 10 mg of caffeine.
To learn more about how many shots are added to each Starbucks drink, check out this post on Starbucks cup sizes.
Types of Espresso Shots
Like in many other coffee shops, Starbucks offers three types of espressos: traditional, ristretto, and lungo. Depending on how strong you like your coffee as well as your preferred texture, you will tend to like one type of espresso shot more than the others.
In each of these three types of shots, the same amount of coffee is used. The difference is the amount of water that passes through the coffee grounds. The more water used, the longer the shot will take to make and the more diluted it will be.
Traditional Espresso Shot
An espresso shot is pulled over the course of 20-30 seconds. Overall, the amount of time you should take pulling an espresso will depend on personal preference. In the coffee world, it can get pretty controversial.
Traditional Espresso Flavor Profile: rich, caramel, balanced
Starbucks Drinks That Use Traditional Espresso Shots: Many Starbucks drinks use espresso. Please refer to the list below for some classic examples.
Ristretto Espresso Shot
Ristretto directly translates from Italian to English as “restricted”. In the coffee world, a ristretto is a restricted/short shot of espresso. Instead of pulling a complete traditional shot of espresso, the pull is cut short.
This means that less water is used and the shot takes a shorter amount of time to make. As result, the ristretto is more concentrated tasting and very rich in texture.
Ristretto Flavor Profile: Sweet, rich
Starbucks Drinks That Use Ristretto Shots: Flat White and Holiday Spice Flat White
Recommended Drinks to Request Ristretto: Americano, Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice, Eggnog Latte, and Caramel Macchiato.
Lungo Espresso Shot
As you might have expected, lungo translates from Italian to English as “long”. A long shot (lungo) is made by passing more water through the grounds than you would with a traditional espresso shot.
Since the pull time is longer, you can expect a relatively bitter flavor. Some consider the lungo to be a bit thinner from the extra water.
Lungo Flavor Profile: Bitter, smokey
Starbucks Drinks That Use Lungo Shots: Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice
The Starbucks espressos are available in three different roasts: a blond roast, a dark roast, and a decaf roast.
Starbucks® Blonde Espresso Roast
The Starbucks blonde espresso beans are great for those wanting a soft and balanced taste. These beans go well with milk, so drink customizers can go nuts.
Origins: Latin America and East Africa
Taste: Sweet and bright
Starbucks® Dark Espresso Roast
The dark espresso roast from Starbucks will please anyone wanting something a bit bolder. It’s everything you’d expect from a dark roast and delivers that beloved smokey flavor.
Origins: Latin America and Asia
Taste: Molasses and caramelized sugar
Starbucks® Decaf Espresso Roast
Don’t want to be up all night, but love the taste of coffee? Good thing Starbucks has a decaf option!
Origins: Latin America and Asia
Taste: Sweet and caramelized
Classic Starbucks Espresso Drinks
Here is a list of popular Starbucks drinks that heavily feature their espresso shots.
- Caffè Latte – One or two shots of espresso with sweet steamed milk over it.
- Cappuccino – Espresso with steamed milk and a deep layer of foam on top.
- Caffè Mocha – Espresso mixed with bittersweet mocha sauce and steamed milk. Whipped cream on top.
- Caramel Macchiato – Espresso mixed vanilla syrup, caramel sauce, and milk over ice. Topped with buttery caramel sauce.
- Caffè Americano – Espresso with hot water.
- Espresso Con Panna – Espresso topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Espresso Macchiato – Espresso topped with a dab of foam.
- Flat White – Two shots of espresso with steamed milk poured over. Topped with a thin layer of microfoam.
- Asian Dolce Latte – Two shots of dark roast espresso with dolce sauce.
- Cocoa Cappuccino – Steamed milk, bittersweet mocha, and espresso. Topped with foam, cocoa powder, and chocolate sauce.
- Ristretto Bianco – Two to four ristretto shots with steamed milk and foam.
- Iced Espresso & Matcha Fusion – Espresso, matcha powder, and milk over ice.
- Cold Foam – Sweetened espresso poured through a layer of nonfat milk cold foam.
FAQ About Starbucks Espresso
Here are the questions many are asking about Starbucks espresso shots.
Starbucks espresso shots are a delicious and efficient way to get your caffeine fix. The caffeine content and size options make it easy to customize your order for any day.
Most people think of espresso as strong, bitter coffee. But Starbucks makes their espresso shots smooth and easy to drink with milk or sweetener. Try ordering a shot of espresso the next time you stop in!