What is a misto at Starbucks?

A misto is a popular coffee drink offered at Starbucks locations. It’s made by combining espresso shots with steamed milk, resulting in a milder and creamier beverage than a traditional espresso.

At its core, a misto is an espresso-based drink that incorporates steamed milk to soften the intensity of straight espresso shots. The term “misto” means “mixed” in Italian, referring to the combination of espresso and steamed milk.

What are the origins of the misto?

The misto has its origins in traditional Italian espresso culture. In Italian coffee bars and cafes, it’s common to order a “café misto,” which combines a shot or two of espresso with a splash of hot milk or foam.

This Italian-style drink was adopted on American coffee shop menus to offer customers an option between straight espresso and more milk-heavy drinks like lattes or cappuccinos. Starbucks popularized the misto by standardizing the recipe and making it a consistent menu item across all locations.

How is a Starbucks misto made?

The standard Starbucks misto contains two ristretto shots of espresso combined with steamed whole milk. A solo misto has one shot, while a triple misto comes with three shots for extra caffeine.

Here is the step-by-step process:

1. Pull the espresso shots

Starbucks baristas use a ristretto pull, which is a shortened espresso shot. A ristretto contains the same amount of ground coffee as a regular shot, but half the water. This results in a concentrated, intense espresso.

2. Steam the milk

The milk for a Starbucks misto is steamed to create a hot, frothy texture. Baristas usepitchers and steam wands to heat and aerate whole milk to approximately 150-160°F.

3. Combine espresso and steamed milk

The steaming hot espresso gets combined with velvety steamed milk in a 1:1 ratio, filling the cup about halfway full.

4. Finish and serve

Baristas may top off the misto with an extra layer of foam or dot with latte art before serving. Customers can enjoy the smooth, creamy drink fresh at the café counter.

What size options are available?

Starbucks offers misto in a full range of hot and iced sizes:

  • Solo (1 shot)
  • Tall (1 shot)
  • Grande (2 shots)
  • Venti (2 shots)
  • Iced solo
  • Iced tall
  • Iced grande
  • Iced venti

The number of shots remains consistent across hot and iced options. Solo has one shot, while tall through venti get two ristretto shots.

How does a misto differ from other Starbucks espresso drinks?

Here’s a rundown of how the misto is distinct from some other popular espresso-based options at Starbucks:

Café Americano

An Americano also contains espresso diluted with hot water. But a misto uses steamed milk rather than water, so it has a richer, creamier mouthfeel.


Capps have more foam and less steamed milk, resulting in a drier, frothier texture compared to a misto.


Lattes contain significantly more steamed milk and less espresso. Misto has a 1:1 espresso to milk ratio for a stronger espresso flavor.


Macchiatos consist of espresso with just a dollop of foamed milk rather than half steamed milk. Misto has much more milk than a macchiato.

Drink Espresso Steamed Milk Foam
Misto 2 shots 3-4 oz Light foam
Americano 2 shots Hot water No foam
Cappuccino 2 shots 1-2 oz Thick foam
Latte 2 shots 6-8 oz Light foam
Macchiato 2 shots 1-2 oz Dollop foam

Can you customize a Starbucks misto?

Yes, the standard misto can be customized with a few different milk and espresso options:

Non-dairy milk:

Any of Starbucks’ non-dairy milks can be substituted in a misto, including soy, coconut, almond, and oat milk.

Half & half:

For a richer, creamier drink, half & half can replace whole milk.

More/fewer shots:

Customize the strength by asking for extra shots or a single shot solo misto.

Blonde espresso:

Blonde espresso beans can be substituted for a lightly roasted coffee flavor.

Decaf espresso:

Decaffeinated shots are available to make a decaf misto.


Flavorings like mocha, vanilla, caramel, etc. can add sweetness and flavor.


Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, caramel drizzle, spices like cinnamon can customize the drink.

What are the benefits of drinking a Starbucks misto?

Some of the benefits that make the misto an appealing coffee option include:

  • Rich, smooth espresso flavor
  • Less intense and acidic than straight espresso
  • More balanced flavor than heavily foamed drinks
  • Lower calories/fat than many coffeehouse drinks
  • Comparatively simple ingredients list
  • Versatile drink that can be customized easily
  • Wide range of sizes for any caffeine need

The combination of espresso and steamed milk creates an indulgent but not overly milky or sweet drink. Customers who find straight espresso too intense often appreciate the rounded flavor of a misto.

What are the typical nutrition facts of a Starbucks misto?

The nutrition information will vary based on size, milk type, and custom add-ins. However, the standard nutrition facts for a Grande hot misto with 2% milk are:

  • Calories: 130
  • Total fat: 5g
  • Carbs: 9g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 10g

Using whole milk would add approximately 25 calories and 2.5g total fat per grande. Non-dairy milks can reduce fat and calories, but often add more sugar. Added syrups, sauces, and toppings will increase calorie and sugar counts.

Is there caffeine in a Starbucks misto?

Yes, since mistos contain espresso shots, they will provide a dose of caffeine. The exact amount of caffeine per misto depends on the number of shots and size:

Drink Size Caffeine (1 shot) Caffeine (2 shots)
Solo misto 75mg N/A
Tall misto 75mg 150mg
Grande misto N/A 150mg
Venti misto N/A 150mg

Based on two ristretto shots, a regular Starbucks misto supplies 150mg of caffeine in sizes tall through venti. That’s roughly 1.5 to 2 times the caffeine content of an average 8oz brewed coffee.

Are mistos served hot or iced?

Starbucks offers the misto both hot and iced.

The hot misto is made following the standard recipe – shots of espresso with steamed milk prepared and served hot.

The iced misto pours the espresso shots and steamed milk over ice. This cools the components rapidly while providing chilling and dilution.

Both versions contain the same ingredients and ratios. The difference is just the temperature and addition of ice for an iced misto.

How much does a misto cost at Starbucks?

As of November 2022, misto prices are:

  • Hot solo misto: $2.95
  • Hot tall misto: $3.65
  • Hot grande misto: $3.95
  • Hot venti misto: $4.15
  • Iced solo misto: $3.65
  • Iced tall misto: $3.95
  • Iced grande misto: $4.25
  • Iced venti misto: $4.45

Prices vary by location. Expect to pay $0.60 – $1 more for non-dairy milk substitutions. Customizations like extra shots or syrups will also raise the price.

How is a misto different at other coffee chains?

Ordering a misto at coffee chains like Peet’s, Caribou, or independent cafes will result in some differences compared to the Starbucks version:

Less standardization

Other shops may not follow a set misto recipe and ratio. More variance in the amount of espresso and milk.

No ristretto shots

Most places don’t use the ristretto pull standardized at Starbucks. Regular espresso shots are common.

Different milk options

In addition to whole milk, some cafes steam non-dairy milks or use half & half as the default in mistos.

More distinct foam layer

Some other misto recipes emphasize creating thicker, frothier foam.

Pre-made mixes

Independent cafes may make misto using pre-made concentrated coffee/espresso base and steamed milk.

Should you order a Starbucks misto?

Trying a Starbucks misto is recommended for coffee drinkers who:

  • Enjoy the taste of espresso
  • Find straight espresso too intense
  • Want a milder, creamier version of espresso
  • Prefer drinks without much foam or froth
  • Like customizable drinks
  • Want a moderately caffeinated option

The smooth, rounded flavor profile of a misto appeals to those who want a bit of milky sweetness to balance espresso’s bitterness. Customize with your milk and flavor preferences for the perfect coffee sip.


A Starbucks misto offers the best of both worlds by marrying rich espresso with the softness of steamed milk. This customizable blended drink has origins in Italian coffee culture but has become quintessentially Starbucks.

Understanding the origins, ingredients, preparation method, and customization options helps you order and enjoy mistos to your perfect specifications. Savor a solo misto on the go or relax with a venti iced version – either way, the velvety smoothness and caffeine boost make the misto a beloved coffee shop staple.

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