Does Starbucks Have Decaf Iced Coffee? The Ultimate Guide

Updated on: June 14, 2023
Author: Nick
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Does Starbucks have Decaf Iced Coffee

On a hot summer day, I really love quenching my thirst with a bitter iced coffee. 

This is easy to do thanks to Starbucks. It offers a wide variety of coffee drinks, including some of the most varied iced coffee menus in the world.

However, after the 3rd or 4th drink of the day, this thirst-quenching technique of mine starts to become questionable…

After all, I don’t want to end up all jittery with caffeine overload! 

On the other hand, you may be more reasonable than me, and you are sensitive to caffeine, and simply want an iced coffee treat without the caffeine effects!

After questioning my coffee drinking habits, the next question that comes to mind is…

Does Starbucks have decaf iced coffee?

And the answer is yes. Phew!

Now that I’ve answered this question, don’t go just yet though!

There is more to this!

We will share trips and tricks on how to order iced coffees that at first glance don't have a decaf version.

We'll also go into some basics about what a decaffeinated coffee is (yes, they still contain a bit of caffeine), including the decaffeination processes, and what a decaffeinated drink actually is, and much more.

After reading this post you will be able to sound like a pro!

What is Decaffeinated Coffee?

Decaffeinated coffee (or decaf coffee) is coffee that has had about 97% of the caffeine removed.

Decaf coffee is a great alternative for people who may not want the added energy boost, or for people who are sensitive to caffeine and want to avoid it. Or if you have a kid that wants to be an adult and drink coffee, but you don't want them flying off walls.

P.S: If you're looking for the best Starbucks drinks for kids, then check out our article for an extensive list!

As noted, decaffeinated coffee does contain some caffeine. Depending on the types of coffee beans and the method used to decaffeinate the beans, decaf coffees can contain between 3 to 12 mg of caffeine. A regular cup of coffee typically contains between 70 to 140 mg of coffee.

Out of the thousands of active compounds, it is unknown if caffeine is responsible or partially responsible for all the health perks of coffee.

This is of course besides the immediate effects of caffeine; the added boost of energy and mental awareness people crave.

How Does Starbucks Decaffeinate Coffee?

There are four main types of decaffeination processes. These are:

  • The Swiss Water Process: This process uses hot water and a carbon filter to remove caffeine from the coffee beans. It is usually more expensive but does not impact the coffee flavor.

  • The CO2 Process: This process uses pressurized CO2 gas to extract caffeine from green coffee beans.

  • The Methylene Chloride Process: This process uses methylene chloride, a chemical solvent, to remove caffeine from coffee beans.

  • The Ethyl Acetate Process: This process uses ethyl acetate, an organic solvent found in some fruits, to remove caffeine from coffee beans.

Although there are some concerns regarding residual chemicals from the Methylene Chloride and the Ethyl Acetate processes, the FDA concluded that the trace amounts in decaf coffee are insignificant at no more than 10 parts per million, and so do not pose any health risks.

This is because these 4 processes occur before roasting. During washing and roasting, all agents used in decaffeination evaporate.

Now that we know a bit about the decaffeination process, we can answer how Starbucks decaffeinates their coffee.

Starbucks uses two methods to decaffeinate its coffee: the Swiss water process and the methylene chloride process.

In short, I wouldn't fret about the decaffeination process when choosing your coffee.

How Do You Order Decaf Iced Coffee at Starbucks?

We love making life simpler for our readers so we have gathered a few tips to help you choose your decaf drink at Starbucks.

  • Starbucks carries decaf espresso beans in all their stores (except ancillary stores inside a shop or bookstore). This means all iced espresso based drinks can be made decaf. One example is the Iced Caffè Americano.

  • Starbucks offers different levels of caffeine. From fully decaffeinated to 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3 decaf options.

  • A few Starbucks stores have the Clover® Brewing System. This system allows a barista to quickly prepare a single cup of brewed coffee based on your choice of decaf coffee beans.

  • However, if your local Starbucks does not have this system, it means that regular decaffeinated iced coffees and cold brew coffees may not be available. This really depends on your local store, but these drinks are made in large batches, and the demand for the decaf version of these sometimes does not justify preparing such large batches.

  • Another option is to ask for a pour-over coffee based on the decaf beans you want. This might take a bit of time though. We recommend the Decaf Pike Place Roast beans!

  • A good way to check if your favorite iced coffee is available as decaf is by checking the Starbucks menu online. Select a drink, and under customizations select Espresso & Shot Options. If your drink is available decaffeinated, you should see the option shown in the screenshot below.

  • All Starbucks Refreshers have caffeine. Yes, they are not 'coffee' per say, but they are made of green coffee extract, which contains caffeine. This extract is used as well for the Starbucks BAYA energy drink, which packs quite a caffeine punch.

What is the Best Decaf Iced Coffee at Starbucks?

That is a subjective question!

Starbucks offers a variety of iced decaf coffee drinks that are sure to please most tastes.

These are some of my favorite ones!

  1. Decaf Iced Caffè Americano
  2. Decaf Iced Shaken Espresso
  3. Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
  4. Decaf Iced Flat White
  5. Decaf Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte
  6. Decaf Iced Caramel Macchiato
  7. Iced Clover Brewed Decaf Pike Place Roast
  8. Decaf Iced White Chocolate Mocha

1. Decaf Iced Caffè Americano

This one is a classic for me. There is nothing better than the bitterness of a cold Americano on a hot summer day!

This decaf iced americano is a simple drink made with espresso, water and ice.

2. Decaf Iced Shaken Espresso

This is a shaken espresso drink with sweetened milk and vanilla bean powder. The milk and sweetness go quite well with the powerful espresso flavor.

You can customize this drink too, for example use substitute dairy milk with oat milk, add most of the toppings Starbucks carries, and so on!

3. Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

This is a personal favorite. I love brown sugar. The Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is made with oatmilk, brown sugar syrup and cinnamon powder.

There is a trick for this one though.

If you go to Starbuck's website and try to order it, you will not find a decaf option. That is because they use their signature espresso.

This drink can still be ordered by customizing the Iced Shaken Espresso. Simply choose the following:

  • Milk: oatmilk (or you can also select almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc.)

  • Flavors: 4 pumps of brown sugar syrup

  • Toppings: cinnamon powder

  • Ice: your choice

  • Sweeteners: none

  • Espresso & Shot Options: decaf (and as many decaf espresso shots you heart desires!)

And that's it! Enjoy!

4. Decaf Iced Flat White

Flat whites are one of my favorite coffee drinks. I fell in love with them while coffee shop hopping in Melbourne! So it's natural I love the iced version.

I love how the amount of milk is just enough to mellow out the espresso a bit.

Remember we told you Starbucks offers a decaf version of their espresso drinks? Well, a flat white is espresso based so you can easily order the decaf iced version either online or in person.

5. Decaf Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte

If you're not that much into strong coffee flavors, then this decaf latte might be just for you.

Similar to the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso you will need to customize the base Iced Caffè Latte.

Simply chose the following:

  • Flavors: 4 pumps of Vanilla Syrup

  • Espresso & Shot Options: decaf

Leave the rest as is. 

Or not. 

You can of course make your version of the Decaf Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte by swapping the milk to something vegan (oat milk, I'm a fan!) or by adding more decaf shots or toppings!

6. Decaf Iced Caramel Macchiato

Of course we need to include a macchiato in this list!

The Starbucks macchiato is actually a latte macchiato instead of the traditional espresso macchiato. Just so you aware (I'm looking at you purist ones).

Simply ask your barista for the decaf version or choose the decaf version online (under Espresso & Shot Options).

7. Iced Clover Brewed Decaf Pike Place Roast

The title says it all. You can customize it of course but these are really good coffee beans, so I wouldn't add anything.

The trick with this one is that not all stores have the Clover® Brewing System which is needed for this.

So before you head to your local Starbucks, either call them or check online (by selecting your store and trying to order this drink).

8. Decaf Iced White Chocolate Mocha

This decaffeinated iced coffee is a heavy hitter. More of a dessert in my opinion, but from time to time I cave in!

This drink comes with white chocolate mocha sauce, whipped cream, espresso and ice.

To order this iced drink, simply ask your barista for the decaf version or choose the decaf version online (under Espresso & Shot Options).

Interesting Read: Fact or Fiction: Is Iced Coffee Illegal in Canada?

How to Best Order Decaf Iced Coffee at Starbucks?

By ordering online or using their app!

This is especially true if you are customizing a drink - stuff can get lost in translation if you order in person and the store is busy.

Plus, before heading to Starbucks, you will know whether they have the Clover® Brewing System so that they can brew the decaf beans of your choice!

What is the Cheapest Way to Have Starbucks Decaf Iced Coffee?

By far, the most economical way to have Starbucks decaf iced coffee is to purchase a bag of whole coffee beans and brew them at home.

Yes, we love the convenience of simply ordering. But your wallet and the environment might hate you.

A typical drink might cost you $3-5. Assuming you purchase one per day for a year, that will cost you $1,095 to $1,825.

This means you could purchase a fancy super automatic espresso machine and still save money within a year! You can find a good one for about $700.

Or purchase a coffee maker with a grinder or even a 4 cup coffee maker, and save even more money! You can find good ones for under $300!

And nowadays coffee machines just require the touch of a button to prepare the drink of your choice. 

No barista classes are required to have that iced decaf americano your body requires!

RELATED: Looking for Cheap Starbucks Drinks? Here are 17 Great Options!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much caffeine is in a decaf iced coffee from Starbucks?

A typical decaf iced coffee would have 3 to 12 mg of caffeine. As a comparison, a regular cup of coffee would have 70 to 140 mg of caffeine.

However, this depends on various factors such as the type of bean (e.g. arabica vs robusta), the decaffeination process, and how many espresso shots your iced decaf has, and so on.

What is the difference between a caffeine free drink and a decaffeinated drink?

A caffeine free drink is a beverage that naturally contains no caffeine. For example apple juice is caffeine free. A decaffeinated drink has had most of its caffeine removed.

Does Starbucks sell decaf coffee beans?

Yes, Starbucks sells both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee beans. You can purchase them in-store or online.

If you like dark roasts, we recommend the decaf Cafè Verona. If you like something more balanced, the Decaf Pike Place Roast is a great medium roast!

Does Starbucks make decaf Frapuccinos?

Yes they do! If you order online, simply select the decaf option under the "Espresso & Shot Options". Or you can choose from their Crème-based Frappuccinos, check out our article for a variety of caffeine free Starbucks drinks to try!

decaf iced coffee starbucks

Bottom Line

All in all, Starbucks has a great variety of iced decaf drinks for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for something sweet or something heavy, they have got you covered!

Just be sure to order online if you want to customize your drink - that way there is less chance for error!

And if you have questions, or having trouble ordering your favorite iced coffee in decaf version, shoot us a message!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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