For a long time, I had my coffee black and sugar-free – all I needed was a caffeine fix and nothing more. At some point, however, a good friend pointed out that I could get my caffeine and enjoy my drink. So, I started experimenting with specialty coffees and teas, particularly those from Starbucks. Since then, cold foam and sweet cream have been a staple of mine. I like the textures they add to my drinks and the layers of flavor that come with them.
Seeing as most people confuse one for the other, I decided to create a detailed breakdown of the two. Read on to find out what each is all about and which one to have when.
Table of Contents
Starbucks Cold Foam
Starbucks Sweet Cream
Cold skim milk (nonfat), vanilla syrup (optional)
2% milk, vanilla simple syrup, heavy whipping cream
Mild – Each serving is sweetened with two pumps of vanilla
High – Half a cup of sweet cream gets three pumps of vanilla syrup
Frothing cold milk using an electric milk frother
Whisking the ingredients together in a bowl
Taste and flavor profile
It is slightly creamy and has a heavy milk flavor
It is very creamy and sweet and has milky undertones due to the heavy cream
You can order it through the Starbucks mobile app or in-store when making an order
You can order it from a Starbucks outlet when making an order or through the Starbucks mobile app
Starbucks cold foam, as the name suggests, is a frothy version of milk that is largely made from milk. In most cases, it is made using non-fat or skimmed milk, meaning that it has a very low fat content. In addition, to get it to foam properly, the milk used needs to be cold when it is being frothed. There are two main types of cold foam – sweet and unsweetened. Sweet cold foam is sweetened using vanilla-flavored simple syrup. Unsweetened cold foam, on the other hand, is made from cold milk alone and does not include any type of sweetener. There are many types of cold foam based on the different flavorings used. Some of the most common ones include salted cream cold foam, pumpkin cold foam, cascara cold foam, raspberry cold foam, and others.
Comparably, Starbucks sweet cream is made using slightly more ingredients. Unlike cold foam which is made from low-fat milk, sweet cream is made from 2% milk. In addition, heavy whipping cream is added, and the mixture is then sweetened using vanilla-flavored simple syrup. From the list of ingredients, it is clear that sweet cream involves more and is creamier than cold foam. Unlike cold foam, however, Starbucks sweet cream comes with a standard flavor and taste.
Even though it has but one flavor, Starbucks sweet cream wins in this category because it is sweeter and creamier than Starbucks cold foam.
With Starbucks cold foam, there is mild sweetness in every helping. That is because, in every serving of the same, there are only two pumps of vanilla simple syrup. For this reason, it makes a great addition for anyone that does not like their beverage too sweet.
On the other hand, Starbucks sweet cream is a sweeter addition than cold foam. When making it, the barista adds three pumps of vanilla simple syrup into half a cup of sweet cream. This is why it makes a better choice for anyone looking to have a very sweet drink.
The Starbucks sweet cream wins in this category because it is considerably sweeter than the Starbucks cold foam which sometimes comes without a sweetener.
To make the Starbucks cold foam, a barista uses an electric milk frother. The company uses the Starbucks Verismo milk frother for the job, and it is known to be a powerful device that converts cold milk into a creamy froth in under 90 seconds.
Comparably, the Starbucks sweet cream is made by simply mixing and whisking all ingredients together. The process does not include any special equipment as all that is needed is a whisk.
Being that it is an add-in that you can make easily from the comfort of home with simple equipment, the Starbucks sweet cream makes the better choice than the Starbucks cold foam which needs a frother to make.
Taste and Flavor Profile
Because the Starbucks cold foam mainly involves two ingredients (and only one when it is unsweetened), it largely presents a heavy milk flavor. It is, after all, made almost entirely of low-fat milk. Since it comes as a foam, it has a very light texture. You will also notice that there is not much creaminess to write about, mostly because it is made using non-fat milk. When it is sweetened, however, it assumes the flavor of the syrup or spice used. It can be made using vanilla syrup, hazelnut syrup, caramel syrup, peppermint syrup, dolce syrup, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, ginger, and so forth.
Starbucks sweet cream, on the other hand, comes with a standard recipe and is almost always sweetened using vanilla classic syrup, meaning that it carries the vanilla flavor as well. It, however, comes with a good amount of whipping cream which adds an incredibly rich creaminess to it. There are also milk undertones because there is a significant amount of milk in the cream. Unlike the cold foam, the sweet cream is a lot heavier, but this gives it the ability to interact and mix with drinks better, even the hot ones.
Because it can be customized to include whichever flavor you prefer, the Starbucks cold foam wins in this category against the Starbucks sweet cream which almost always comes with the same flavor profile and texture.
The Starbucks cold foam is available in all Starbuck outlets across the country and in other participating countries as well. You can order it in-store when purchasing a drink, or you can add it on the Starbucks mobile app when making your order. You, however, cannot have it on its own.
In the same breath, you can get the Starbucks sweet cream from any Starbucks outlet across the United States and in other countries as well. It is also available on the Starbucks mobile app. Just like the cold foam, however, you cannot have the sweet cream on its own as it can only be ordered as an add-on when you purchase a drink.
Being that they are both available in-house, on the Starbucks app, and on similar terms, both add-ons are placed on equal footing in this category.
Starbucks cold foam is one of the most popular add-ons for many coffee and tea drinks at Starbucks. Seeing as it is a cold product made from cold milk, it makes a great accompaniment for cold drinks, especially the Nitro Cold Brew.
The cold foam is made entirely from milk but, in most cases, it is sweetened using vanilla simple syrup. It can also be sweetened using other syrups of different flavors, or spiced using certain spices like ginger, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.
Because it is a frothy drink, it is quite airy which allows it to float quite easily on your drink of choice. The fact that it does not easily mix with the drink adds a nice texture to the same.
What I liked;
- It does not have much fat
- It is airy and frothy
- Can come in different flavors
What I didn’t like;
- There is not much creaminess to it
Who it’s best suited for
Starbucks cold foam is best suited for people who prefer airy and light add-ins. It is also great for those who do not like too much creaminess or sweetness in their drinks.
Starbucks sweet cream is a product made from milk, heavy cream, and sweetener. It is used as an add-in to many Starbucks drinks. The sweet cream is versatile and can be used for both hot and cold drinks. In addition, it is not limited to teas and coffees and goes well with other drinks such as refreshers.
One of the features that stands out the most about it is that it is thick and creamy, thanks to the whipping cream and milk used when making it. Sweet cream almost always comes with one flavor profile since it mainly features the same ingredients.
What I liked;
- It is thick and creamy
- It is sweet
- Can be had with a wide assortment of drinks
What I didn’t like;
- It is not available in many flavors
Who it’s best suited for
Starbucks sweet cream is best suited for people who like creamy and sweet drinks as it adds a characteristic thickness to drinks. It is also great for people who like to experiment with different drinks.
Even though it only offers one flavor, the Starbucks sweet cream is a better add-on than cold foam because it can go well with both hot and cold drinks. It also works quite well with both caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks, much unlike cold foam which works best with teas and coffees.
Is cold foam from Starbucks sweeter than sweet cream?
No, the cold foam has less sweetener than sweet cream meaning that it is less sweet.
Does sweet cream pair better with hot drinks than cold foam?
Yes, it does. Cold foam works best with cold coffee or tea.
Which one is healthier between sweet cream and cold foam?
Cold foam is the healthier one of the two because it has less fat and less sweetener than sweet cream.
Kai Jordan worked as a Certified Nutrition Specialist and now a food critic whose main objective is to provide consumers with as much information as they need to make the right choices concerning foods and drinks. Jordan is passionate about helping the public reach their health-related goals but also keen on reviewing foods and drinks offered by some of the famous restaurants the likes of Starbucks.
Kai has therefore created well-researched and comprehensive excerpts regarding the services and products offered by the giant restaurant chain. And which can be retrieved from Starbmag.com, apart from talking writing, and dealing with food Kai loves also to Kayak. You can read more about me on the about us page.