Starbucks Cappuccino Guide (Plus 5 Delicious Flavors)

Starbucks cappuccino flavors

Did you know that Starbucks has been selling cappuccinos since 1986? Cappuccino was part of the first espresso drinks that Starbucks added to its menu when the company ventured into the espresso bar.

However, in 2015 most Starbucks stores in the United States stopped listing cappuccinos on their menu in favor of the flat white. The popularity of cappuccinos had declined over the years whereas the buzz around flat whites was growing.

Nevertheless, Starbucks still sells cappuccino even though it is not listed on the stores’ menus.

This blog post covers everything about Starbucks cappuccino including the best cappuccino flavors that you can order from Starbucks. We also compare regular, wet, and bone-dry cappuccinos.

What is a Cappuccino at Starbucks?

Starbucks cappuccino is an espresso drink that is made with espresso shots, steamed milk, and thick dense milk foam on top. A cappuccino has more foam and a stronger coffee taste than a latte. Starbucks also sells a dry cappuccino which is espresso with less steamed milk and a thick layer of milk foam.

Starbucks cappuccino differs from the Italian-style cappuccino in independently-owned coffee shops where it’s referred to as the “drink of thirds”. This means that the cappuccino has equal proportions of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam such that each component makes a third of the cup.

These coffee shops serve cappuccinos in standard cappuccino cups that are about 5-8 oz and you can not order multiple sizes of the drink.

At Starbucks however, whether you order a short, tall, grande, or venti cappuccino at least half of the cup will be filled with milk foam.

Starbucks uses single espresso shots in the short and tall cappuccinos and two espresso shots in the grande and venti cappuccinos.

Key Tips When Ordering a Flavored Cappuccino at Starbucks

When it comes to ordering a flavored cappuccino at Starbucks, we recommend not ordering a large cup (grande and venti) because the large cups get a lot of milk foam and 4-5 syrup pumps. In fact, the best cappuccino size to order at Starbucks is either a short cup or a tall one.

For a stronger cappuccino in a tall cup, order a double tall cappuccino which gets an extra shot of espresso.

For the syrups, we recommend restricting your cappuccino order to two pumps to get a good balance between the sweetness of the syrup and the coffee flavor.

5 Best Cappuccino Flavors at Starbucks

The five best flavored cappuccinos are

  • white mocha cappuccino
  • cinnamon dolce cappuccino
  • blonde vanilla cappuccino
  • brown sugar soy milk cappuccino
  • skinny vanilla cappuccino

1. White Chocolate Mocha Cappuccino

The delicious white mocha sauce complements and sweetens espresso and enhances the creaminess of cappuccinos. Since we recommend ordering a short or tall cappuccino, a short cappuccino gets one pump of white mocha sauce and a tall cup gets two pumps by default.

How to order a white chocolate sauce cappuccino. ” Can I get a tall cappuccino with white mocha sauce?”

2. Cinnamon Dolce Cappuccino

Regardless of the time of the year, you can always order the cinnamon dolce syrup at Starbucks. You can enjoy this flavor by itself in your cappuccino or add one pump of white mocha sauce which makes the cappuccino taste like a cinnamon roll.

Be sure to restrict the pumps of cinnamon dolce to a maximum of two.

How to order. ” Can I have a tall cappuccino with two pumps of cinnamon dolce and one pump of white mocha sauce?”

3. Blonde Vanilla Cappuccino

You can order blonde espresso with any espresso drink at Starbucks. Blonde espresso is a little sweeter and acidic than regular espresso.

Vanilla goes well with any coffee drink and is a delicious and safe choice when you are not sure of what flavor to order.

How to order. ” Can I get a tall blonde cappuccino with two pumps of vanilla?”

4. Skinny Vanilla Cappuccino

If you are looking for a skinny cappuccino, the skinny vanilla cappuccino with nonfat milk is a great choice. Ordering a cappuccino with skim milk should be no problem at all as skim milk foams superbly.

When ordering this drink be sure to mention that you want skim milk as, by default, Starbucks uses whole milk for cappuccinos.

Unlike the other flavored cappuccinos, we recommend retaining the standard syrup pumps for a skinny cappuccino with sugar-free vanilla as this syrup has a light vanilla flavor and doesn’t add sugar to the drink.

How to order. “Can I get a tall cappuccino with sugar-free vanilla and skim milk?”

5. Brown Sugar Soy Milk Cappuccino

Brown sugar is one of the best flavors at Starbucks. The best way to order this flavor is by pairing it with plant-based milk. Since a cappuccino has a thick layer of foam, coconut milk and almond milk are the least favorable non-dairy milk for cappuccinos as they are hard to make dense foam with them.

Starbucks soy milk is pre-sweetened with vanilla which compliments the brown sugar syrup.

How to order. “Can I get a tall soy milk cappuccino with two pumps of brown sugar syrup?”

Types of Cappuccino at Starbucks (Regular vs Wet vs Dry Cappuccino)

There are nuances to a cappuccino that give rise to variations of a cappuccino. The common types of cappuccino are regular cappuccino, wet cappuccino, dry cappuccino. The wet and dry cappuccinos are nuanced further to make extra-wet cappuccinos and bone-dry/extra-dry cappuccinos respectively.

1. Regular Cappuccino

This is what we described earlier. Ideally, it should be a third espresso, third steamed milk, and third milk foam. At Starbucks however, a regular cappuccino is espresso with steamed milk and a dense layer of foamed milk. The layers of steamed milk and milk foam are more than four times the espresso layer.

2. Wet Cappuccino

A wet cappuccino has more steamed milk and less milk foam than a regular cappuccino but slightly more foam than a latte. Some people call a wet cappuccino a foamy latte. An extra-wet cappuccino, on the other hand, is essentially a latte.

A wet cappuccino has a softer coffee flavor than a regular cappuccino as it has more milk.

3. Dry Cappuccino

A dry cappuccino is a cappuccino with less steamed milk and a thicker layer of milk foam than a regular latte. It has a stronger and bitter coffee flavor than a regular cappuccino.

A bone-dry cappuccino or extra-dry cappuccino has espresso and a very dense layer of milk foam and no steamed milk at all. A bone-dry cappuccino tastes like straight espresso as it is not cut with milk. It only has a layer of foam at the top.

Key Tips When Ordering a Bone Dry Cappuccino at Starbucks

A bone dry cappuccino is one of the most disputed drinks probably because most customers misunderstand this drink. A bone-dry cappuccino is espresso shots with milk foam. It has no liquid milk.

Therefore, a bone-dry cappuccino is very light because the cup has one or two shots of espresso at the bottom and the rest is just foam.

The best way to order a bone-dry cappuccino is

  • Order a short cup. There is no benefit in ordering an obnoxiously large cup with over two-thirds of milk foam. You are charged for a large cup with no added value. A short cup of bone-dry cappuccino has better value for money than the bigger cups. You may even want to consider ordering espresso macchiato instead of a bone-dry cappuccino
  • Avoid non-dairy milk. Non-dairy milk is great for lattes as they require a thin layer of foam. It’s difficult to make sufficient foam for a bone-dry cappuccino with non-dairy milk. It’s torturous for the baristas
  • Add a maximum of two pumps of flavor. Since a bone-dry cappuccino is essentially straight espresso, add 1-2 pumps of syrup or sauce to avoid oversweetening it no matter how big the cup is
  • Drink it as soon as possible. Treat a bone-dry cappuccino like espresso. Most people prefer drinking espressos within a few minutes of service when the shots are still hot and the flavor has not dissipated. A bone-dry cappuccino is not cut with milk so it tastes better if you drink it closer to the time it was made
  • Ask for help. If you have any doubts about what you want to order, politely seek the assistance of the baristas. Most baristas are happy to listen and share a few nuggets about the drinks. However, avoid prolonging the discussion, especially during peak hours

Final Thoughts

A cappuccino at Starbucks has espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of thick foam. Starbucks has three types of cappuccino: regular cappuccino, wet cappuccino, and dry cappuccino.

A wet cappuccino has more milk and less milk foam than a regular cappuccino whereas a dry cappuccino has less milk and a thicker layer of foam than a regular cappuccino.

The best cappuccino flavors at Starbucks are white chocolate mocha cappuccino, cinnamon dolce cappuccino, blonde vanilla, sugar-free vanilla cappuccino, and brown sugar soy milk cappuccino.

FAQs About Starbucks Cappuccino

How Many Espresso Shots are in a Cappuccino?

Both short and tall cappuccinos get one shot of espresso whereas both grande and venti cappuccinos have two espresso shots. However, you can add an extra shot to any cup size at an extra charge.

Do Starbucks Cappuccinos Have Caffeine?

Yes, both a short cappuccino and a tall cappuccino have 75 mg of caffeine whereas both grande and venti cappuccinos have 150 mg of caffeine.

Which is Sweeter, a Latte or a Cappuccino?

A latte is sweeter and smoother than a cappuccino as it has more milk. Cappuccinos have a stronger coffee flavor and are generally bitter than lattes.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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