What Milk Does Starbucks Use for Lattes?

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When you step into a Starbucks, you’re greeted with a plethora of drink options. Whether you’re a fan of the classic latte, an iced mocha lover, or an aficionado of the flat white, one common ingredient in these beloved beverages is milk. But have you ever wondered what type of milk Starbucks uses for their lattes? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of Starbucks lattes, exploring the different types of milk they use, how these choices affect the taste and texture of your favorite drink, and even the cost implications of choosing a different milk option.


Starbucks primarily uses 2% reduced-fat milk for their lattes, unless specified otherwise by the customer. However, they also offer a range of other dairy and non-dairy options including whole milk, nonfat milk, half-and-half, heavy cream, vanilla sweet cream, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk.

The Standard: 2% Reduced-Fat Milk

Starbucks primarily uses 2% reduced-fat milk for their lattes, unless specified otherwise by the customer. This has been the standard since 2007, when Starbucks made the switch from whole milk to 2% milk in response to customer preferences for a healthier option. However, whole milk remains the standard choice for Starbucks Frappuccinos and flat white espresso beverages.

Dairy Options

Starbucks offers an array of dairy options for their lattes, including:

  1. Whole milk
  2. 2% milk (reduced fat)
  3. Nonfat milk
  4. Half-and-half (breve)
  5. Heavy cream
  6. Vanilla sweet cream

Each of these options brings a unique flavor and texture to your latte. For example, whole milk provides a rich, creamy taste, while 2% milk offers a slightly lighter taste and texture. Non-fat milk, on the other hand, results in a less creamy texture, allowing the espresso flavor to shine through more prominently.

Plant-Based Alternatives

As more and more people adopt plant-based diets or experience lactose intolerance, Starbucks has introduced several non-dairy milk options, including:

  1. Soy milk
  2. Coconut milk
  3. Almond milk
  4. Oat milk

These plant-based alternatives each have unique characteristics. Almond milk has a nutty flavor and lighter texture, soy milk offers a slightly nutty taste and good froth, and oat milk adds a creamy texture and subtle sweetness to your latte.

Cost Implications

While Starbucks aims to cater to various dietary preferences and needs, choosing a different type of milk for your latte may come with an additional cost. In the US, Starbucks charges customers approximately 70¢ extra for non-dairy milk options like oat, soy, almond, and coconut milk. However, adding a splash of any non-dairy milk to beverages like brewed coffee is generally free of charge.

Quality Assurance

Starbucks is committed to ensuring the quality and freshness of the milk used in their lattes. They work closely with reliable suppliers and have launched initiatives such as the Sustainable Dairy Program to promote environmental stewardship, enhance farmer and workforce conditions, and ensure the quality care of animals.


In conclusion, Starbucks offers a variety of milk options for their lattes, with 2% milk being the standard. Whether you’re a fan of traditional dairy milk or prefer plant-based alternatives, Starbucks has got you covered. Just remember, if you have a specific preference, be sure to specify when placing your order!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the default milk for other Starbucks beverages like cappuccinos or macchiatos?

The default milk for cappuccinos and macchiatos at Starbucks is also 2% reduced-fat milk.

Is there a charge for switching to a different dairy milk in my latte?

No, Starbucks does not charge an additional fee for switching to a different dairy milk in your latte.

Does Starbucks offer lactose-free milk?

While Starbucks does not offer lactose-free milk, they do have several non-dairy milk options that are suitable for those who are lactose intolerant, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk.

Can I request a mixture of milks in my Starbucks latte?

Yes, you can request a mixture of milks in your Starbucks latte. However, it’s important to note that this may affect the taste and texture of your beverage.

Are all the non-dairy milk options at Starbucks sweetened?

Not all the non-dairy milk options at Starbucks are sweetened. Starbucks offers both sweetened and unsweetened versions of almond, coconut, and soy milk. Oat milk, however, is currently only available in a sweetened version.

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