Starbucks Shaken Espresso vs Latte: Which One Is better?

Now that summer is in full effect, what better way to get the daily dose of caffeine in a familiar cool refreshment than from the classic espresso superstars on the Starbucks menu? While both the shaken espresso and latte have been on the menu permanently for years, the coffee creativity by Starbucks may leave you more confused because of the many interesting ways available to modify the drinks.

Beyond my fanatical interaction with the menu, I decided to do some research on how the two beverages differ and whether one is better than the other to ease your decision when placing your next order. Enjoy!

What are the differences between Starbucks Shaken Espresso vs Latte?


Starbucks latte

Starbucks shaken espresso


Steamed milk, brewed espresso, milk foam (ice & syrup are optional)

Ice, milk, brewed espresso, whipped cream, and classic syrup

Taste profile

Smooth and sweet taste

Strong and aerated taste

Caffeine content/ Nutritional value

A Grande latte has 150 mg of caffeine, 130 calories, 11 grams of sugar, 4.5 grams of fat, and 13 grams of carbs.

This beverage has less caffeine and fewer calories

A Grande has 225 mg of caffeine, 100 calories, 14 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fat, and 17 grams of carbs.

This drink has more caffeine but fewer calories.

Availability/ Accessibility

The drink is permanently available on the menu. It can be ordered directly from the store or via the mobile app.

The beverage is easily accessible and available at Starbucks stores, and it’s on the menu all year round.

Roast level

Medium dark roast

Dark roast

Starbucks Shaken Espresso vs. Latte – How they compare.

Starbucks Shaken Espresso vs Latte

What it’s made of (ingredients)

Starbucks shaken espresso is a rich coffee to-go beverage made using full-bodied espresso, shaken with a splash of milk. Its natural flavor has a strong coffee punch which can be neutralized with sugar, vanilla, or classic syrup sweetening. Starbucks baristas can omit milk if you want the original shaken espresso in its crisp clean, simplest form, which is my personal favorite.

The Starbucks latte is a milk-based espresso, served over ice with a layer of the cold foam topping. It can be sweetened with different flavors including caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut syrups among others.

Hands down the aeration and dilution from the shaking give the shaken espresso a smoother and flavorful texture than the latte. It also has more visual appeal from the light frothy mixture as it chills in the cup.

Taste profile

The strong caffeine in the shaken espresso is a tad bitter in taste so the classic syrup sweetening gives it a bittersweet taste, while the milk gives the latte a light and creamier texture that is sweet in taste.

In this category, the Starbucks latte wins since it is easier on the tongue due to the sweet taste of coffee in milk. It is also said to help with indigestion.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

For the ultimate caffeine boost, go for the Starbucks shaken espresso which has 225 mg of caffeine in a Grande. It is also a great option for regular intake as it has fewer calories which is also the case with a latte but with less caffeine.

In a Grande latte from Starbucks, you will be consuming 130 calories which makes it a great recommendation for daily light coffee lovers.

Both drinks are healthy options but if you want more caffeine, choose a shaken espresso.

Availability/ Accessibility

Both Starbucks latte and shaken espresso are available on the menu throughout the year, and they are easily accessible directly from the stores. You can also place an order online through the app.

In this category, it will be a draw since the shaken espresso and the standard latte are easy to access in the Starbucks stores.

Roast level

The full body and bold taste of shaken espresso brew emanate from the quality dark roast which produces the naturally rich and strong flavor that Starbucks customers enjoy in their coffee.

For the latte, Starbucks utilizes medium dark roast coffee for its espresso which gives Starbucks latte a lighter flavor.

Starbucks shaken espresso takes the medal for the fuller richer flavor due to the dark roast which most additional elements cannot easily overpower in the drink.

Starbucks Shaken Espresso vs. Latte: A Comparison Review

Starbucks Shaken Espresso – Overview

Starbucks Shaken Espresso and Latte comparison

I live in the tropics so I’m always fishing for a cold refreshment and this hand-shaken beverage is among the few caffeinated iced drinks that have won my heart. I like the low-calorie content which means I can grab it as often in a week without much worry about the health implications. I also like its delightful texture and nuanced flavor that can be enjoyed without much alteration. If you’ve not tried it, you’re missing out.

Starbucks makes this beverage more delicious with some classic syrup if you enjoy added sweetness in your coffee.

What I liked

  • Its bold aerated taste of espresso
  • The high caffeine content

What I didn’t like

  • Nothing

Who it’s best suited for

  • It is a great choice for indulgent strong coffee lovers.

Starbucks Latte – Overview

Starbucks Shaken Espresso vs Latte

This milk-based espresso beverage comes with a dominant cool flavor of coffee in milk. While the milk expands the volume of the drink, it does not take away the taste of espresso. I also like that it forms a tiny velvety foam that coats the mouth with a creamy luxurious texture when you sip. The fact that it can be sweetened with a variety of flavors gives the drink some edge.

Starbucks latte is a suitable drink for customers who like a regular low-sugar drink in which you can taste the coffee in milk.

What I liked

  • Its smooth texture
  • Variations

What I didn’t like

  • Its light caffeine level

Who it’s best suited for

  • It is a great drink for anyone who likes a low-calorie drink without too much caffeine

Final Verdict: So, Which is Better? Starbucks Shaken Espresso or Starbucks Latte?

In my opinion, the Starbucks shaken espresso is better than a latte. This is because of the light balanced and smoothness that comes with the shaking technique which blends the ingredients perfectly compared to the stirring of the latte. Like many coffee lovers, I also like it due to its higher caffeine content and the option of not using milk. Of course, I also love the low-calorie levels in the shaken espresso. Try the shaken espresso when you next visit Starbucks and you’ll love it.


Is Shaken Espresso stronger than a latte?

Yes. Starbucks shaken espresso is stronger because it has more caffeine content.

Is latte healthier than Starbucks shaken espresso?

They are both low-calorie, low-sugar drinks so they can both be considered as healthy.

Which one tastes better between Starbucks latte and shaken espresso?

I personally prefer the aerated taste of the shaken espresso compared to the conventionally mixed latte.

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