To be honest, we don’t buy into the idea that your Starbucks order says anything about your personality. Tastes change, and you might order a different drink depending on the weather, or your mood, or when you’re trying to impress a cute barista.
But if you tend to get the same kind of drink again and again, it can tell you something about your palette. And this can be incredibly helpful if you know your Starbucks order by heart, but tend to feel lost while contemplating a wine menu.
Since coffee and wine share several similarities, your afternoon pick-me-up can actually help you predict the kind of wine you will like. For instance, do you take your coffee black? Do you like to get an extra pump of vanilla? Do you think coffee is disgusting and prefer hot cocoa instead?
Whether you order coffee, tea, or a peppermint mocha, here’s how your Starbucks order can help you figure out which kind of wine you should try next.
Where Vino & Espresso Meet
If you’re thinking, “Hold up. How are coffee and wine similar?” Allow us to explain.
Different types of coffee have different flavors and overall vibes, just like wine. Experts categorize both coffee and wine by their taste, body, and acidity.
Taste, or flavor notes – which we perceive with our senses of taste and smell – can range from fruity to earthy to smoky.
Body refers to how the beverage feels in your mouth. Wines are referred to as either “light-bodied” or “full-bodied,” depending on their level of viscosity, which usually correlates to their ABV. Similarly, straight black coffee feels different in your mouth than a creamy, frothy cappuccino.
Some wines have more acidity, and will be described as “zippy” or “zingy.” Depending on the level of acidity in coffee, a cup of joe can be crisp, or rich, or slightly tart and sweet.
If you like a particular flavor or element in coffee (or a fun coffee drink), you’re probably going to like that same element in wine.
Choosing a Wine Based on Your Favorite Winter Drink
Black Coffee or Americano
If a simple dark roast or Caffè Americano is your go-to, you’re likely to enjoy a similarly bold and smooth wine like Argentinian Malbec. Full-bodied with dark fruit notes, Malbec is a good analog to the strong, straightforward flavors in black coffee. If you like your coffee with more acidity – Blonde Roast anyone? – try an Old-World red wine with more delicate flavors, like a Pinot Noir from Burgundy.
Honey Almond Milk Flat White
This seasonal latte is smooth and slightly sweet, made with Blond espresso and honey. If you love this latte (or the Honey Almond Cold Brew), try Viognier, a medium-bodied white wine with notes of honeysuckle and peach. If you prefer a sweeter wine, try a dessert wine like Sauternes. Noble rot (a helpful fungus) gives Sauternes an added sweetness, plus notes of honey and beeswax.
Peppermint syrup and a chocolate drizzle takes this mocha latte to the next level. If you’re all about the peppermint mocha, try an oak-aged red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. Oak aging gives these bold reds a hint of cocoa. Plus, in certain regions of Australia, Cabernet and Shiraz are known for having hints of mint and eucalyptus.
This exciting new addition to the Starbucks menu has warm, nutty pistachio flavors and a hint of brown butter. If this is your go-to drink in the winter, try an oaked Chardonnay. Oak aging gives Chardonnay a nutty flavor, plus creamy notes of butter and baked apple. You may also enjoy an aged sparkling wine like Champagne or Cava. Cava is a popular sparkling wine from Spain that’s made in the same style as Champagne.
This decadent winter favorite has warm flavors of vanilla and caramel. Caramel Macchiato fans should try an oaked Chardonnay with notes of caramel, butterscotch, and vanilla. If you love this beverage for its sweetness, you may prefer a dessert wine like tawny port or Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry, with notes of coffee, toffee, and walnut.
If you like a creamy coffee drink with notes of vanilla, you will probably enjoy a silky wine with similar flavors. Try an Australian Shiraz with soft tannins and notes of dark fruit and vanilla. You may also enjoy a creamy oak-aged Chardonnay.
Chai tea has spicy aromas of cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper, so keep an eye out for a red wine with similar notes of spice. Try a Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, or an Italian red wine made with Nebbiolo grapes, like Barolo.
Valentine’s Day Frappuccino
Starbucks pros might know about this specialty drink on the secret menu. Essentially a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino, but with white mocha and raspberry syrup, this pink drink pairs perfectly with your Valentine’s Day candy. If you love this frap, try an Australian Shiraz, with dark fruit notes of blackberry and plum, plus a hint of chocolate and pepper.
If you skip the java and head straight for a hot chocolate, try a red wine with hints of chocolate like Merlot or Malbec. Both of these red wines are known for their rich fruity notes, smooth tannins, and chocolatey finish. If you prefer the Toasted White Hot Chocolate with flavors of caramelized white chocolate, try a California Chardonnay.
Chestnut Praline Crème
Another non-caffeinated winter favorite is the Chestnut Praline Crème, with flavors of caramelized chestnuts and baking spices. Fans of this warm drink should try a nutty, sweet wine like Madeira. If you prefer a dry style of wine, you may also like Cabernet Sauvignon, a red wine with notes of cherry and baking spice, or Zinfandel, with aromas of jam and smoke.
Matcha Green Tea Latte
Macha is popular for a reason: It’s high in antioxidants and boasts a number of health benefits. However, it can be an acquired taste. If you love this green drink, you’ll probably also love a white wine with a hint of “green” flavors, like Sauvignon blanc or Grüner Veltliner.
Earl Grey Tea
Similar to many red wines, black tea has tannins, giving it an astringent quality. If you steep your tea for a long time, try Petite Sirah, a full-bodied red wine with high tannins and notes of blueberry, dark chocolate, and black tea. If you like the citrusy taste of bergamot (the flavor that gives Earl Grey its zing), try an Oregon Pinot Noir – a light-bodied red with a slight earthiness.
Peach Tranquility Tea
If this herbal tea is your jam, you’ll probably like a similarly light and fruity white wine. Try a Pinot Gris with notes of white peach and lemon zest, or Riesling. If you take your tea sweetened, go with an off-dry Riesling. If sweetener is a no-go, start with a dry Riesling.
In Vino Finito
Is your favorite Starbucks drink not on the menu? Email us, and we can help you figure out which type of wine to try next.