Coffee Drinks that Starbucks Doesn’t Sell

Vietnamese, Turkish and Irish CoffeeLike it or not, Starbucks sets the standard for coffee shops. Here in Dallas, the coffee behemoth grossly outnumbers local cafes. This makes it hard for local coffee shops to compete. Some places try to be more upscale, others try to be more down to earth. But another way to compete is by offering coffee drinks that Starbucks doesn’t sell.

Limited Menu

As an international chain, Starbucks has to keep its costs down by offering a fairly limited menu. It may not seem limited, but virtually every drink on their menu is a simple combination of coffee, milk and/or sugared syrup. A Pumpkin Spice Latte contains espresso, milk and nutmeg-flavored syrup, while a Peppermint Mocha is the same thing with chocolate and peppermint flavoring. Even Starbucks’ non-coffee drinks combine flavored syrup, milk, water, and maybe tea. This keeps the supply chain cheap and simple, while allowing the stores to sell a wide variety of expensive drinks.

Different Coffee Drinks

With that in mind, here are a couple of drinks I’ve never seen at a Starbucks. That’s not to say that no Starbucks store has every tried any of these, but the following drinks are not at your average coffee shop.

  • Vietnamese Iced Coffee: This is one of my favorite coffee drinks. It has sweetened condensed milk in it, giving it a caramel flavor that a Caramel Macchiato just can’t imitate.
  • Turkish Coffee: Another one of my favorites, Turkish Coffee is finely ground, making it stronger than the average espresso. It’s often brewed with additional spices, particularly cardamom. I always get Turkish Coffee at Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Greek restaurants.
  • Irish Coffee: Starbucks has experimented with serving beer and wine in select locations, but it’s not a bar. There are a wide variety of alcoholic coffee drinks you won’t find at Starbucks, though as someone who goes to the coffee shop to get work done, I’m okay with that.

Are there any coffee drinks you’d like to see at your local Starbucks? If so, let me know in the comment section.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs regularly at

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2 Responses

  1. May 30, 2016

    […] in Dallas, at least, the coffee shop scene is dominated by Starbucks. Beyond that, there are maybe 10-20 locally-owned places. And that’s it. Some of these […]

  2. February 4, 2017

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