Starbucks dark caramel vs. caramel: Which One is better?

A large number of Starbucks drinks would not exist if the caramel was non-existent. The caramel flavor makes a huge difference in the taste of drinks; some have made certain drinks their favorite because of caramel. Most of my favorite beverages have caramel. I was sometimes in a dilemma on which type of caramel I should have in my drinks: dark caramel or caramel. I conducted research, and I determined the best kind of caramel. In this post, you will learn which caramel is better; dark or caramel.

What is the difference between Starbucks dark caramel and caramel?

Features Dark caramel Caramel
Taste Strong flavor with a hint of bitterness and smoky flavorA rich sweet taste
Uses Blends well with bold ingredients such as espresso or salty nuts. Used as a glaze on cakes, sweet frosting, and rich ice cream.Used as candy, flavoring candies, desserts, and beverages
Color Blackish-brownOrange-brown
Density Very high density and stickyHigh density and sticky
Preparation process It takes a slightly longer time to cook than caramelIt takes a shorter time to cook than dark caramel

Starbucks dark caramel vs. caramel; how do they compare?

Starbucks dark caramel


Dark caramel has a strong taste of burnt sugar and a strong smoky flavor. It is also slightly bitter. While some people like the hint of bitter taste, many prefer a plain sweet taste. Due to the bitter taste, it is hardly consumed as candy

On the other hand, caramel has a rich sweet taste. It is slightly different from regular sugar because it has a unique nutty flavor. The sweet taste makes it like candy; hence, it can be consumed alone like candy. If you don’t like extremely sweet things, then you may not like caramel, especially if not in a beverage.

Starbucks caramel wins over Starbucks dark caramel in this category because the sweet candy taste of caramel is better compared to the smoky, slightly bitter taste of dark caramel.


The dark caramel blends excellently with bold ingredients such as espresso or salty nuts. Although it adds sweetness, it also maintains the hint of the bitter taste that is attractive to some individuals. It can also be used to glaze products such as cakes, sweet frosting, and rich ice cream with excess sugar. Adding a slightly bitter taste to the products creates a more balanced flavor.

The Starbucks caramel adds a sweet and nutty flavor to candies, desserts, and beverages. It combines well with products that are consumed for their sweetness. Adding caramel increases the sweetness and also creates a desirable caramel flavor.

Dark caramel and caramel are both useful in different aspects. When combined with the right products, they produce an exceptional result. Caramel is, however, used more than dark caramel and hence wins the category


Dark caramel has a dark brown or blackish brown color. The dark or brownish color results from sugar burning for a longer time. The dark color contrasts sharply, especially when used over cream on beverages. When dissolved in drinks, it makes them darker than regular.

Caramel is dark amber or orange-brown. The amber or brownish color results from cooked sugar that has not been allowed to cook for a long time. It also contrasts when used over cream foam, making the beverage appealing. The color is perfect for beverages because it does not make them extremely dark.

Color appeals to people differently; some like dark colors while others like lighter colors. Therefore, there is no absolute winner in this category.


Dark caramel is thick and hence has a high density. Due to its high density, it isn’t easy to combine with drinks, especially the iced ones. You must pour it on a hot drink before pouring it over ice.

Caramel is slightly less dense than dark caramel. It easily combines with drinks and can be used over ice. It is, therefore, easier to use.

Caramels win over dark caramel in this category because it easily combines with hot and cold drinks making them easier to use.

Preparation process

If you decide to prepare your caramel at home:

Preparation of dark caramel takes slightly longer and is more delicate. It is delicate because it is removed from the heat shortly before it starts burning. Little wrong timings will lead to burned sugar instead of dark caramel.

Preparation of caramel takes a slightly shorter time. Although the preparation is delicate, it is not to the magnitude of dark caramel. There are fewer chances of ending up with burnt sugar instead of caramel.

The dark caramel preparation process takes slightly longer and is more delicate than caramel. It, therefore, loses in this category.

Starbucks caramel vs. dark caramel: A comparison review

Starbucks caramel – Overview

Starbucks caramel

What I liked

  • The rich sweet taste
  • Its many applications

What I did not like

  • The orange-brown color

Who it’s best suited for?

Individuals with a sweet tooth

Starbucks dark caramel – Overview

Starbucks dark caramel vs. caramel

What I liked

  • Its balanced flavor from the combination of sweet and bitter taste

What I did not like

  • It does not combine well with drinks over ice.
  • Its bitter taste

Who it’s best suited for?

It is suited for those who enjoy a bitter drink taste, especially espresso lovers.

Final Verdict: So, which is Better? – Starbucks caramel or dark caramel

Caramel is better than dark caramel because it has many uses compared to dark caramel. Additionally, its sweet, rich taste is better than dark caramel’s sweet, bitter taste.


Which one has a more balanced flavor between caramel and dark caramel?

Caramel dark has a more balanced flavor because it has a hint of bitter taste besides the sweet taste.

Which one tastes better between caramel and dark caramel?

Caramel tastes better because it does not have a bitter taste

Can dark caramel be used in place of caramel?

Yes, in some places, but not all.

Leave a Comment