What is in Starbucks Honey Blend Syrup?

Starbucks Honey Blend Syrup is a popular sweetener used in many of Starbucks’ blended drinks and espresso beverages. It provides a subtle honey flavor that complements the coffee, milk, and other ingredients. But what exactly is in this syrup that gives it its sweet taste and honey notes?


According to the Starbucks website, the main ingredients in Starbucks Honey Blend Syrup are:

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Natural Flavors
  • Honey
  • Potassium Sorbate (preservative)
  • Citric Acid

Let’s break down each of these ingredients and why they are used:


Sugar is the primary ingredient in Honey Blend Syrup and makes up the bulk of the sweetness. Starbucks likely uses a refined white sugar to allow the honey and natural flavors to come through. Without the sugar, the syrup would not be nearly as sweet.


Water dissolves the sugar and combines with the other ingredients to create the syrupy liquid consistency.

Natural Flavors

The “natural flavors” provide the subtle honey notes, replicating the flavor of real honey without using too much actual honey. These proprietary natural flavorings give the syrup a honey aroma and taste.


While natural flavors provide the primary honey notes, the syrup does contain some real honey. A small amount of honey thickens the syrup slightly and adds to the subtle honey flavor.

Potassium Sorbate

Potassium sorbate is a common food-grade preservative used in syrups, jams, condiments, and baked goods. It prevents mold, yeast, and bacteria from growing and spoiling the syrup.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is added for tartness and acidity to balance out the sweetness. It enhances the other flavors and prevents the syrup from tasting too cloying.

Nutrition Information

Starbucks provides the following nutrition information for their Honey Blend Syrup:

Serving Size: 1 tbsp (21g)
Calories: 60

Total Fat: 0g
Sodium: 10mg
Total Carbs: 15g
– Sugar: 15g
Protein: 0g

As you can see, a single serving of Honey Blend Syrup contains 60 calories, all of which come from sugar. There are 15 grams of sugar in each tablespoon of syrup.

So while the syrup provides a nice honey-like flavor, it is essentially just a concentrated dose of sugar with some natural flavors and honey extract. The small amount of real honey is not enough to provide significant nutritional value.

How the Syrup is Made

While Starbucks keeps their exact syrup recipes and manufacturing process secret, we can infer some details based on standard food production methods:

Mixing the Ingredients

First, the sugar and water are combined and heated to dissolve the sugar. Next, the natural flavors, honey, preservatives, and citric acid are mixed in. The solution is carefully calibrated to achieve the desired thickness, sweetness, and flavor balance.

Heating and Agitation

The syrup solution is run through heating and agitation processes to ensure proper dissolving, blending, and activation of ingredients.


The large syrup batches are likely produced in temperature and humidity controlled batch tanks. This allows efficient repeatable production.


The finished syrup is bottled hot to maintain sterility and optimal flow properties. Industrial bottling equipment fills thousands of bottles per minute.

Storage and Shipping

The filled syrup bottles are packed into cases and pallets and shipped to Starbucks stores and wholesale customers. The syrup is shelf stable at room temperature due to the preservatives.

How Baristas Use the Syrup

Starbucks baristas have bottles of the various syrups like Honey Blend right at their workstations. Here is how they typically use the Honey Blend Syrup:

  • Add 1-2 pumps of syrup directly into hot or iced coffee beverages
  • Combine with steamed milk and espresso shots for lattes and macchiatos
  • Blend with Frappuccino roast coffee, milk, and ice in blended drinks
  • Drizzle inside the cups before adding other ingredients
  • Squirt on top of foamy milk drinks for flavor and decoration

The sweet viscous consistency of the Honey Blend Syrup makes it easy to pump, swirl, and blend into a wide range of Starbucks beverages. The honey and natural flavors come through nicely even in small doses.

Drinks that Contain Honey Blend Syrup

Some popular Starbucks drinks that feature Honey Blend Syrup include:

Honey Almondmilk Flat White

This espresso drink combines shots of espresso with steamed almondmilk and 1-2 pumps of Honey Blend Syrup. The honey pairs nicely with the nutty almondmilk.

Iced Shaken Espresso with Honey Blend

Shots of espresso shaken with ice, milk, and pumps of Honey Blend Syrup make a refreshing iced coffee drink.

Golden Ginger Drink

This blend of ginger ale, lemonade, Honey Blend, and steamed lemon oil has a gingery honey sweetness.

Honey Citrus Mint Tea

Strong steeped black tea with Honey Blend, lemonade, and mint makes a comforting hot tea beverage.

Medicine Ball

This honey lemon ginger tea contains Honey Blend Syrup along with steeped lemon and ginger. It’s a great option for sore throats.

Honey Vanilla Latte

Espresso, steamed milk, vanilla syrup, and Honey Blend Syrup create a sweet comforting latte.

Benefits of Using Honey Blend Syrup

There are a few potential benefits that Honey Blend Syrup provides over plain sugar or other sweeteners:

  • Subtle honey flavor – The syrup has a nice light honey aroma and taste thanks to the natural flavors and bit of real honey.
  • Sweetness – The concentrated dose of sugar makes drinks sweeter than just adding a honey packet.
  • Smooth texture – The thick viscous syrup blends smoothly into hot and cold drinks.
  • Convenience – Easy to pump and mix compared to stirring in honey or agave nectar.
  • Customization – Baristas can control the sweetness level by adding different amounts.

The honey notes complement coffee, tea, ginger, lemon, and many other ingredients. However, the high sugar content is a downside for consumers concerned about sugar intake.

Possible Health Concerns

While Honey Blend Syrup provides flavor and sweetness, there are some potential health impacts to consider with consuming large amounts:

  • High sugar content – Each pump contains 15g of sugar, so drinks can quickly add up in sugar.
  • Blood sugar spikes – The high refined sugar content can rapidly elevate blood glucose.
  • Empty calories – There is minimal nutritional value from the refined sugar.
  • Tooth decay – The sticky syrup can coat teeth in sugar leading to cavities.
  • Obesity risk – Too much added sugar boosts risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Experts recommend limiting added sugar intake to under 25g per day for women and under 35g for men. Just a couple pumps of Honey Blend Syrup could provide more than this threshold, so it’s best consumed in moderation as an occasional treat.

Low Sugar Options

For customers looking to cut down on sugar, Starbucks does offer some lower sugar options:

  • Request fewer pumps of syrup in drinks
  • Substitute sugar-free syrups like vanilla, caramel, or cinnamon dolce
  • Order drinks made with Splenda or other zero-calorie sweeteners
  • Try drinks with sugar-free flavor shots like vanilla or hazelnut
  • Opt for light or unsweetened versions of coffee, tea, and lemonade
  • Add cinnamon or cocoa powder for natural sweetness

The Starbucks mobile app also provides the total sugar content of menu items to help choose lower sugar options. Ultimately though, the Honey Blend Syrup itself is difficult to make lower in sugar while maintaining the same texture and sweet honey flavor.

DIY Honey Syrup Recipe

For those who want to make their own homemade honey syrup:


  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup warm water


  1. Combine honey and warm water in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until honey is fully dissolved into the water.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Transfer to an airtight bottle or container.
  5. Store refrigerated for up to 1 month.
  6. Shake before using to remix.
  7. Add to beverages in desired amounts.

The benefit of homemade honey syrup is avoiding the refined sugar and preservatives in the Starbucks version. However, the texture is thinner, it won’t sweeten drinks as much, and has a shorter shelf life. But it provides a more natural honey flavor.


Starbucks Honey Blend Syrup contains sugar, water, natural flavors, honey, preservatives, and citric acid. It delivers a sweet, smooth honey flavor but is high in sugar, with 15g per serving. Consumed in moderation, it can be an enjoyable addition to coffee and tea beverages. But those concerned about sugar may want to request fewer pumps or choose lower sugar options. Making your own honey syrup at home is also an alternative for a more natural sweetener. Ultimately, being aware of your consumption of added sugars from syrups and mix-ins can help promote better health.

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