What is the non-dairy coffee at Starbucks?

Quick Answers

Starbucks offers several non-dairy milk alternatives for customers who prefer not to have regular dairy milk in their coffee drinks. The main non-dairy milks at Starbucks are:

  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk

These can be substituted in any coffee drink on the menu at no extra charge. Starbucks also offers some coffee drinks made specifically with non-dairy milks, like the Iced Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato.

What are the different non-dairy milk options at Starbucks?

Starbucks provides several plant-based milk alternatives for customers who want to avoid dairy or cannot have dairy due to allergies/intolerances or dietary preferences. The non-dairy milks offered at Starbucks are:

  • Soy milk – This was one of the first non-dairy milks Starbucks made available. It has a creamy texture and nutty flavor.
  • Coconut milk – Made from the meat and juice of mature coconuts. It has a subtle coconut flavor and creamy consistency.
  • Almond milk – Made from ground almonds and water. It has a mild nutty taste and light consistency.
  • Oat milk – Made from oats and water. It has a mild oat flavor and creamy texture.

These non-dairy options can be substituted at no extra cost in any Starbucks coffee, espresso drink, Frappuccino blended beverage, macchiato, etc. Starbucks baristas are trained to ask customers if they would like dairy or non-dairy milk when ordering.

Nutrition Info on Non-Dairy Milks at Starbucks

The nutrition content of Starbucks’ non-dairy milks compared to 2% dairy milk:

Milk Type Calories Total Fat Protein Sugar Calcium
2% Milk 120 5g 8g 12g 30% DV
Soy Milk 100 4.5g 7g 9g 45% DV
Coconut Milk 60 5g 0g 0g 45% DV
Almond Milk 60 2.5g 1g 7g 45% DV
Oat Milk 120 5g 2g 16g 45% DV

As you can see, the non-dairy versions offered at Starbucks tend to be lower in calories, fat, and protein compared to dairy milk. They also contain no lactose or cholesterol. The calcium content matches dairy milk since they are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Non-Dairy Drink Options on the Starbucks Menu

Any espresso drink, brewed coffee, Frappuccino, etc. on the Starbucks menu can be customized with non-dairy milk. Some examples are:

  • Non-dairy latte (with soy, coconut, almond or oat milk)
  • Non-dairy cappuccino
  • Non-dairy pumpkin spice latte
  • Non-dairy mocha (hot or iced)
  • Non-dairy Frappuccinos like the Coffee, Vanilla Bean Creme, Caramel, or Mocha Cookie Crumble
  • Iced Shaken Espresso with non-dairy milk
  • Cold brew with non-dairy milk

Starbucks baristas can make any modifications to accommodate non-dairy preferences.

Some coffee drinks also feature non-dairy milks by default on the menu:

  • Iced Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato – Espresso and bittersweet mocha sauce with coconut milk over ice.
  • Iced Pineapple Matcha Drink – Matcha green tea, pineapple and ginger flavors with coconut milk.
  • Iced Golden Ginger Drink – Made with ginger, pineapple and turmeric flavors with almond milk.
  • Iced Guava Passionfruit Drink – Fruit flavors with soy milk.

Seasonal non-dairy drinks are also introduced for limited times, like the non-dairy pistachio latte and non-dairy chocolate almondmilk shaken espresso.

Extra Tips for Ordering Non-Dairy at Starbucks

Here are some useful tips for customers wanting to order non-dairy milk at Starbucks:

  • State which non-dairy milk you want first. For example, say “I’ll have a coconut milk latte.”
  • Double check that the barista repeats back the non-dairy milk when taking your order.
  • Let the barista know of any severe allergies. Be aware that equipment comes into contact with dairy milk.
  • Note the color of the caps on the non-dairy milks to check your drink:
    • Blue = soy milk
    • Orange = almond milk
    • Pink = coconut milk
    • Brown = oat milk
  • Don’t hesitate to politely ask the barista to remake your drink if you get dairy milk by mistake.
  • You can customize any Frappuccino as non-dairy, or order the Crème base instead of Coffee base.

Being clear, courteous and checking your drink before leaving the counter helps ensure you get the non-dairy option requested.

Why Customers Prefer Non-Dairy Milks

There are several reasons why Starbucks customers may opt for non-dairy milks in their coffee drinks, including:

  • Dairy allergies or intolerances – Customers may be allergic to milk protein or lactose intolerant.
  • Vegan diet – Vegans avoid animal products, including dairy milk.
  • Digestive issues – Some people find non-dairy milks easier to digest.
  • Nutritional preferences – Customers may choose plant-based milk for perceived health benefits.
  • Environmental concerns – Non-dairy production has lower carbon footprint than dairy.
  • Ethical reasons – Objections to practices of dairy farming industry.
  • Taste preference – Some customers simply prefer the flavor of non-dairy milks.

Having alternatives like soy, almond, coconut and oat milk allows Starbucks to accommodate diverse customer dietary needs and preferences. The wide range of customization options is one reason for Starbucks’ popularity.

History of Non-Dairy Milk at Starbucks

Starbucks began offering soymilk in 1997 after customer requests for dairy alternatives. Almond and coconut milks were added to menus later based on consumer demand.

Key milestones in the history of non-dairy milks at Starbucks:

  • 1997 – Starbucks introduces soy milk nationally after test markets confirm customer interest.
  • 2007 – Following requests, Starbucks starts carrying coconut milk, beginning in Seattle stores.
  • 2010 – Almond milk is added at select Starbucks locations.
  • 2015 – Starbucks introduces “almondmilk Honey Flat White” using steamed almond milk.
  • 2016 – Coconut milk is made available nationwide based on customer feedback.
  • 2019 – With rising demand, oat milk is added as a non-dairy option at all US stores.
  • 2022 – Starbucks reports 26% of customers now opt for alternative milks in cold coffee drinks.

As more people develop dairy sensitivities or align with vegan diets for health or ethical reasons, Starbucks continues expanding plant-based options. The coffee giant was relatively early in providing non-dairy choices compared to competitors.

Non-Dairy Milk Trends and Statistics

The demand for non-dairy milks has been rising steadily in recent years. Here are some key statistics on the trends:

  • Plant-based milk sales grew 20% in 2020 reaching nearly $2.5 billion in the US (Source: Good Food Institute).
  • Oat milk sales alone jumped 131% in 2020 as it surged in popularity (Source: Nielsen).
  • Compared to 2015 levels, there was 250% higher demand for oat milk in coffee shops in 2020 (Source: Square).
  • 32% of consumers say they are buying more plant-based dairy alternatives now than ever before (Source: 2021 Food Revolution Study).
  • Gen Z and Millennials are leading the shift, being 2 – 3x more likely than Boomers to choose non-dairy milks (Source: 2021 Food Revolution Study).
  • 58% of consumers purchasing plant-based milk do so for health reasons (Source: Statista Survey 2020).
  • 26% of Starbucks customers now opt for non-dairy milk in iced and cold coffee drinks, up from 17% in 2018 (Source: Starbucks).

The statistics show the changes in consumer preferences and values driving the non-dairy milk revolution. As more specialty cafes like Starbucks provide plant-based options, they allow customers to customize drinks to individual nutritional needs and values.

How Starbucks Accommodates Customers Choosing Non-Dairy Milk

Starbucks makes an effort to accommodate diverse customer dietary preferences in the following ways:

  • Provides a wide range of non-dairy milk options – soy, coconut, almond, and oat.
  • Allows non-dairy substitution at no extra charge in all handcrafted drinks.
  • Trains baristas to ask customers if they want dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • Highlights non-dairy drinks like the Iced Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato on menus.
  • Uses different colored caps and labels to identify different non-dairy milks.
  • Updates menus and ingredients based on consumer feedback and demand.
  • Provides nutritional and allergen information for non-dairy milks online and in-store.
  • Communicates with lactose intolerant and vegan communities to spread awareness.
  • Allows customers to customize Frappuccino blended beverages with non-dairy options.

Starbucks also indicates which food and drink options are vegan or contain dairy on menus and online. By providing alternatives and transparency about ingredients, they aim to create an inclusive environment.

Non-Dairy Milk Options at Competitors

Starbucks is not alone in offering non-dairy milk alternatives. Competing coffee chains provide options like:

Coffee Chain Non-Dairy Milks
Dunkin’ Almond, oat, soy
Peet’s Oat, soy
Panera Almond, soy
Costa Coffee Soy, almond, coconut, oat
McCafe Soy
Caribou Coffee Soy
Tim Hortons Soy, almond

However, Starbucks stands out for carrying a wider selection of alternatives, including coconut and oat milks. They were also relatively early in offering soy and almond milks before many competitors. The availability of non-dairy options at chains like Starbucks has forced others to expand their plant-based offerings as consumer demand increases.

Non-Dairy Milk Options at Smaller Cafes

Beyond the big chains, many independently owned cafes and coffee shops also cater to non-dairy preferences:

  • Many offer oat, soy, almond and coconut milk options.
  • Some carry more unique plant-based milks like hazelnut, hemp seed, pea protein, flax and macadamia milks.
  • Specialty vegan coffee shops use milks like rice milk, banana milk, potato milk, or quinoa milk.
  • Some allow customers to make DIY plant-based milks onsite from ingredients like nuts, seeds, beans, grains or produce.
  • Cafes advertise housemade nut milk options like cashew milk, walnut milk or pistachio milk.
  • Plant-based cafes label menu items as vegan, dairy-free and allergy-friendly.

Independent coffee shops tend to be more creative and customizable with non-dairy options based on local preferences. However, Starbucks has made an effort to appeal to diverse dietary needs on a large scale with national availability of popular plant-based milk choices.

Future Non-Dairy Milk Options at Starbucks

Starbucks will likely continue expanding its non-dairy milk selections in coming years based on a few key trends:

  • Increased consumer demand for oat milk, especially for coffee drinks.
  • New nut and grain milk options like hazelnut, pistachio, quinoa or hemp entering the mainstream market.
  • Rising popularity of homemade DIY milks, which Starbucks could produce in-store.
  • Growing influence of flexitarian and climatarian diets eschewing dairy for sustainability.
  • Continued partnerships with leading plant-based milk brands like Oatly, Califia Farms, and Elmhurst.
  • Advances allowing plant-based milk mimic dairy more closely in protein content, mouthfeel, frothing ability etc.

However, Starbucks will likely keep soy, almond and coconut as its core non-dairy offerings due to their wide availability and appeal. Niche options may be tested in specific regions based on local tastes and demand. But the coffee giant aims for consistent menu choices across its global stores.


Starbucks has been a leader in the coffee world in accommodating consumer desire for plant-based milk options. While customers can customize any drink with soy, almond, coconut or oat milks, Starbucks also highlights specialty non-dairy drinks on menus using ingredients like matcha, turmeric, and fruit purees.

With dairy avoidance growing for ethical, environmental and health reasons, Starbucks non-dairy milk choices help make customers with diverse diets or allergies feel welcome. Although competitors are expanding plant-based options, Starbucks continues leading the way in product innovation, taste experience and flexibility in allowing customized beverage creation. The wide selection empowers every customer to enjoy coffee drinks tailored to individual preferences and values.

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