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Let’s start with Starbucks’ description of the Blonde Flat White:


“Ristretto shots of Starbucks Blonde Espresso–which is subtly smooth without the roasty edge–get the perfect amount of whole milk, creating a cup that’s not too strong, not too creamy, but just right.”


What’s a ristretto shot? It’s a shot that is “pulled” for a shorter duration of time, resulting in a sweeter, less-bitter tasting espresso. Blonde Espresso doesn’t need ristretto shots to make them sweeter, instead utilizing ristretto to further bring out the natural sweetness of the roast.

My Recommendation

I recommend getting any and all hot Starbucks milk-and-espresso beverages with breve and extra shots of espresso.

Unlike a normal hot espresso drink, Starbucks Flat Whites come standard with whole milk instead of the normal 2%. This is a good indicator that a richer milk brings out the benefits of the ristretto flavor profile, so I’d still recommend upgrading your milk choice to breve. That’s what I did.

My Experience

This was my second foray in Starbucks’ featured Blonde Espresso line of beverages, right after the Blonde Caffè Americano. My strategy was to get the full spectrum of the new flavor profile by first trying the espresso with water, then with milk, then with a flavored syrup.

The Blonde Flat White is a brighter, creamier-tasting flat white. A Flat White made with the standard Starbucks Signature Espresso is good, but has a one-note taste. The Blonde Flat White is a more layered flavor experience, and is more drinkable. I wouldn’t normally order a standard Flat White with no flavored syrup, but I’d get the Blonde Flat White unflavored again any day.

This drink showed me the relative complexity of Blonde Espresso when compared with standard Signature Espresso. When I tried Blonde Espresso in a Caffè Americano (which is simply espresso and hot water), I got a significantly different perspective on the flavor profile. In the Blonde Flat White, the acidity is muted by the milk, and the creamy sweetness is accentuated. 


I really liked this one. It was very easy to drink, and, naturally, gave me espresso flavor notes that I hadn’t experienced prior. I appreciate the variety that Blonde Espresso brings to the standard Starbucks beverage lineup, and the more subtle, less-roasty flavor experience that goes along with it. Some days I may opt for Signature Espresso, some days for Blonde, and I like having that option.

If you want to taste your coffee with your steamed milk beverage, but want something less roasty (bitter) than the flavor of Signature Espresso, get this. It’s really good.

Nutritional Information (Courtesy of For the Standard-Recipe Blonde Flat White:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (16 fl oz)
Calories 220Calories from Fat 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 35mg12%
Sodium 150mg6%
Total Carbohydrate 18g6%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 17g
Protein 12g
Caffeine 225mg**
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
**Each caffeine value is an approximate value.

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