Caribou Coffee VS Starbucks: who makes the best coffee?

If you have been getting coffee from different coffeehouses, you have probably heard about the Starbucks vs. Caribou coffee debate. Many coffee lovers always ask which of the two has the best coffee. When I was in college, I used to find the hostel too distracting for studying and therefore visited a Starbucks store near our school to study.

I found the ambiance quite welcoming and enjoyed this company’s strong drinks. I created this post to help you discover which coffee house between Caribou Coffee and Starbucks makes the best coffee. You will also learn how they differ.

What are the differences between Caribou Coffee Vs. Starbucks?


Caribou Coffee



More laid-back experience, ample leg room, shorter lines, and fewer laptop users.

A library-like ambiance, longer lines, free wifi, comfortable seats, and wall art


800 locations

32,000 stores in 83 countries.


Offers basic items

Has a more extensive menu

Price range

It is slightly more affordable

High cost

Beverage sizes

12, 16, and 20 fl oz

8, 12, 16, 20, and 30 fl oz

Environmental consciousness

It has been planting thousands of trees

It uses reusable packaging and helps minimize waste output

Caribou Coffee Vs. Starbucks – How they compare.

Caribou Coffee VS Starbucks


Starbucks stores are mostly quiet and feature warm lighting, comfortable seats, and wall art. Some coffee lovers are also attracted to Caribou coffee due to its amazing ambiance.

Since Caribou coffee stores are often less crowded, you can enjoy a more laid-back experience by getting coffee from this company.

Caribou coffee wins since it offers a better ambiance than Starbucks.


Starbucks has 32,000 stores in over 80 countries. On the other hand, Caribou coffee has around 800 locations across the globe.

Though both coffee houses operate internationally, Starbucks wins since it has more locations.


Starbucks has a large menu that includes all your favorite drinks. This company can make almost any beverage with many syrups and flavored powders. Though you can still get coffee juices and non-caffeine beverages from Caribou coffee, the menu is not very large.

Starbucks wins since it has a more comprehensive menu than Caribou coffee.

Price Range

The prices at these coffee houses vary depending on what you order. For instance, Starbucks sells black coffee at $3.25 while Caribou coffee sells the same drink at $2.39. Refreshers at Caribou coffee are also slightly cheaper compared to those from Starbucks.

Caribou coffee, therefore, wins since some of its drinks are cheaper than that of Starbucks.

Beverage Sizes

Caribou Coffee sells its drinks in three beverage sizes, namely 12, 16, and 20 fl oz. Starbucks offers drinks in five sizes, namely 8, 12, 16, 20, and 30 fl oz.

Therefore, Starbucks wins since it has more beverage sizes you can choose from.

Environmental Consciousness

Caribou coffee is environmentally conscious since it partnered with Project 7 to plant trees. Starbucks is also environmentally conscious since it tries to minimize waste output, replenish water and offer reusable packaging.

Caribou Coffee and Starbucks, therefore, draw since they both care about the environment.

Caribou Coffee Vs. Starbucks – A Comparison Overview

Caribou Coffee Overview

Caribou Coffee VS Starbucks

John Pucket established Caribou coffee in 1992 in Minnesota. While working as a management consultant, John decided to raise money to become an entrepreneur and start his own company. Michael J Coles became the CEO of this company in 2003.

Today, this coffee house has around 800 locations in the world. In Minnesota alone, this coffee house has around 300 stores. The CEO and president of this company today is John Butcher. In 2021, this coffee house merged with Einstein Bros. Bagels and Panera bread to form Panera brands.

Caribou Coffee specializes in selling coffee beans that originate from different parts of the world. It also sells high-quality coffee drinks using 100% arabica beans, hot chocolate, refreshers, and seasonal drinks like Ho Ho Mint Mocha. This company has a line of caffeinated fruit-infused water. Did you know that Caribou coffee is the second largest coffee company in the US today?

Starbucks Overview

Caribou Coffee VS Starbucks

Starbucks has been selling coffee since 1971. It was established by Gordon Bowker, Zev Siegl, and Jerry Baldwin. Though this company initially sold freshly roasted coffee beans in Pike Place Market, it has risen to become a leader in the industry. Starbucks now sells not only coffee but also tea, fruit juices, refreshers, smoothies, and energy drinks.

Today, Howard Schulz serves as the CEO of this company. Starbucks now has over 32,000 stores distributed in more than 83 countries. If you are a coffee fan, you can easily find a Starbucks store near you.

Many people choose this coffee house due to its high-quality beverages. Though some have high-calorie content, Starbucks offers delicious drinks. It even accompanies them with baked items you can order for lunch or breakfast. Due to the similarities between Starbucks and Caribou coffee, some people assume that this company owns Caribou coffee though this is not correct.

Final Verdict: So, Which is Better? – Caribou Coffee Vs. Starbucks

Starbucks is better than Caribou coffee. Though it has more expensive products, it is better since it has numerous stores in different parts of the world, offers more beverage sizes that you can pick from, and has a more extensive menu that you can explore. Though the competition between these two coffee houses is quite stiff, Caribou coffee lags since it has fewer locations, fewer beverage sizes, and less products on its menu. Though this company has a nice ambiance, it once had a security scandal that made it lose some customers. I, therefore, choose Starbucks as the clear winner.


Is Caribou Coffee stronger than Starbucks coffee?

No. Starbucks coffee is stronger. For instance, a 16 fl oz cup of coffee from Starbucks has around 340 mg of caffeine, while the same cup from Caribou Coffee has 305 mg of caffeine.

Is Starbucks more popular than Caribou Coffee?

Yes. Starbucks is more popular since it has numerous stores at different locations and has a great reputation.

Is Starbucks more profitable than Caribou Coffee?

Yes. Starbucks is more profitable since it generates around 75% more revenue than Caribou Coffee per store.

Leave a Comment