Keeping kids occupied while on summer vacation requires a lot of help, and while a caffeine boost can help you get through the day, it’s the last thing you’ll want to give an already energy-charged child. Never fear, though, because your local Starbucks serves plenty of plant-based, caffeine-free options that’ll tide over your tot, teen, and everyone in between. Here are our nine recommendations for non-coffee coffee fixes to last until the first day of school. Sadly, if you’re avoiding sugar, you’re on your own.
1. Herbal iced teas
Starbucks can make an iced version of any loose leaf Teavana tea available in-store. Mint Majesty, Peach Tranquility, and Oprah Chai Herbal Blend are all good picks, while Passion Tango is already available iced, shaken, and ready to go.
2. Fizzio sparkling beverages
Free of caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup, all Fizzio handcrafted sodas make for a great, once-in-a-while bubbly beverage. Grab a Golden Ginger Ale for yourself and an Orange Cream for the little one.
3. Purple Drink
The Pink Drink phenomenon that has been dominating Instagram feeds everywhere has given way to the Purple Drink—a mix of Passion Tango iced tea, organic soy milk, vanilla syrup, and real blackberries. Perfect for any teen enjoying sunny days out or taking selfies by the pool.
4. Organic apple juice and lemonade
Starbucks is fully stocked with these fruity options, making for a quick and easy sippable go-to beverage. Customize with peach, raspberry, mango, or vanilla syrups; real strawberries, blackberries, or lime wheels; or mix with tart and tasty iced Passion tea.
5. Chocolate milk
A tried-and-true classic, single-origin Sumatran coconut milk, organic soy milk and almond butter-infused almond milk serve as the base for a creamy, bittersweet chocolate-infused drink. Ask for strawberry slices for a fun and fruity floating addition.
6. Crème Frappuccinos
All Frappuccinos are not created equal. In fact, there are thousands of ways to customize these blended beverages—one of which includes creating (vegan) crème-based, coffee-free concoctions. Vanilla Bean Crème and Strawberries and Crème are menu board staples, but any blend of clear syrup and non-dairy milk will work, too. Just be sure to remove the whipped cream, and stay away from caramel sauce and Java Chips (contain dairy), as well as matcha green tea powder (contains caffeine). A tip: hazelnut added to vanilla or strawberry drinks make for a cake batter-inspired flavor kids will love.
7. Fruit smoothies
The coffeehouse’s better-for-you blended options combine a whole banana, ice, your choice of milk, and either chocolate sauce or strawberry purée for a fresh-tasting, creamy smoothie. Just be sure to ask for the why protein powder to be omitted.
8. Frozen lemonades
The Blended Strawberry Lemonade is a menu staple that you can order by name, or get creative and try lemonade blended with peach, mango, raspberry syrups, or the new strawberry-prickly pear or mango-pineapple sauces.
9. Decaf anything!
Just about everything at Starbucks can be made decaffeinated. Your preteen wanting a more grown-up option? Try a Cinnamon Dolce Latte with decaf espresso, soy milk, no whip, and replace dolce sprinkles (which contain dairy) with nutmeg or chocolate powder. Frappuccinos can also be re-worked sans caffeine with the same decaffeinated shots—cut down on sugar as well by going for a decaf Caramel Frappuccino with sugar-free syrup (made with Splenda, FYI), no whip, or drizzle.
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