What Is A Quad Coffee At Starbucks? Ultimate Caffeine Stack

what is a quad coffee at starbucks

What Is A Starbucks Quad Drink?

There are those days. Bleary-eyed from a late night, you stumble through your morning routine, but now you must get to work. A few months ago, when you tried to get caught up on all three seasons of Barry before the finale, you tried adding an espresso shot to your coffee. 

The barista called it a “red eye.” That extra boost of coffee worked reasonably well until you caught up with friends who kept you out until the sun came up, and you had to go with a “black eye,” which the barista explained is a black coffee with two shots added.

You are beyond that now. You need a herculean dose of caffeine. You need an adult dose. You need a quad.

What is a quad coffee at Starbucks? A quad coffee is an espresso drink with four shots. A normal “tall” (or small) latte at Starbucks includes a single shot. The next size up, Grande, has two shots. And the Venti, although larger than the Grande, also has only two shots of espresso. 

The extra room in the cup is filled with more milk and syrup. If you want to get your money’s worth, go with a Grande quad and ask them to put it in a Venti cup. 

You’d be surprised how quickly those extra couple ounces fill the cup.

Each espresso shot at Starbucks is 0.75 fl. oz and five calories with 75mg of caffeine, meaning a quad is three fl oz and 20 calories with a whopping 300 mg of caffeine. That will wake you up in the morning!

Understanding Espresso and Its Significance

So, what is espresso? you might be wondering. People throw the word around, but can you differentiate it from a cappuccino or a coffee? 

Espresso is a method of brewing coffee that originated in Italy. It involves forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. 

The result is a beverage thicker than coffee brewed by other methods.

On top of the espresso, you’ll often find a layer of crema, which is a foam with a creamy consistency. A well-prepared espresso will have a balanced flavor with a hint of sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and a strong coffee taste.

This shot can be added to water, steamed milk, ice, coffee, or even consumed alone. It is made from coffee beans, just like coffee, but tends to be a little darker. 

Traditionally and historically, however, espresso is more than that. It is a system of drink preparation, a menu of options, and even the relationship between the drink maker and the coffee drinker. 

Some might go so far as to call it a way of life.

Why Order A Quad At Starbucks?

Of course, someone might want to order a quad if they were recovering from a long night or needed a sudden jolt of caffeine, but there are other reasons as well. 

Utilizing caffeine has several benefits, including changing the taste and consistency of the beverage as well as potentially adding to athletic performance. 

Most pre-workout supplement makers add caffeine to their products, after all. If you grab a coffee on the way to the gym, you might as well skip the fruit punch-flavored pick-me-up and go right for the caffeine.

How to Properly Order a Quad Espresso at Starbucks

When you walk into a Starbucks, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many things to order that it might be easier to order a small coffee and head for the door. Even though there are many ways to order a quad, it does not have to be that complicated.

Quad Latte: 

As mentioned above, the drink can be ordered as a quad latte. So you could ask for a “grande latte with two extra shots” or simply a “grande quad latte.” If ice is your thing, you can order it as a “grande ice latte with two extra shots.”

Quad Cappuccino: 

Don’t forget about the “quad Cappuccino” option, like a latte with significant steamed milk. If you are looking for flavors, there is always mocha, white mocha, caramel macchiato, vanilla syrup, or the pumpkin spice quad. It works with any of them!

If you are lactose intolerant, hate iced coffee, or simply love the taste of espresso, you can order a quad espresso and drink the shots without anything added. 

Quad Americano:

If you prefer the simplicity of the hot water and espresso shots that make up a café Americano (sometimes just called an Americano), I have news: ordering a venti Americano means you are already drinking a quad since those already come with four shots. 

Don’t forget that each shot will be an additional charge and can add up quickly! Now that you know that a grande has the same amount of caffeine as a venti, you are already saving a buck or two. Spend that money on a couple of extra shots instead! 

Comparison Table: Caffeine Content in Popular Starbucks Drinks

Below is a table of several popular drinks at Starbucks and their caffeine content depending on the number of shots added.

Starbucks DrinkTallGrandeVentiQuad
Latte75mg(add 3 shots for a quad)150mg(add 2 shots for a quad)225mg(add 1 shot for a quad)300mg
Caramel Macchiato75mg150mg225mg300mg
Café Mocha75mg150mg225mg300mg
Americano150mg (typically two shots in a tall cup w/ water)150mg225mg300mg
Hot Chocolate20mg25mg30mg330mg
Dark roast coffee195mg260mg340mg640mg
Medium roast Coffee235mg310mg410mg710mg
Blonde Roast Coffee270mg360mg475mg775mg
Starbucks Quad Coffee Drink Caffeine Comparisons

Key Takeaways

  • While most people have an idea for what they can get in a Starbucks, people are often surprised to find how easy it is to customize their caffeine level. 
  • After discovering that a venti won’t wake you up more than a grande, hopefully, you know how much caffeine comes in a quad, in every size, and even how to order it correctly.  

Stabuck’s Quad In A Nut Shell

A quad doesn’t solve all your coffee and caffeine woes but will get you through the day. Beloved actor Pedro Pascal goes for six shots after all.


How is a quad espresso different from a regular espresso shot at Starbucks? 

If you step up to the bar at a Starbucks and order yourself “one espresso, please,” they will probably interpret that as a tall espresso, which includes one shot. If you order it in the store, most locations will provide you with a small ceramic espresso cup to enjoy the drink. If you order a quad espresso, they will “pull” four shots and quadruple your caffeine intake (and the cost of the beverage).

Can I customize my quad drink with flavors or milk options? 

A traditional espresso is less than an ounce of hot water poured through ground espresso beans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add flavors or milk. You can do whatever you want. You are free! Starbucks will offer you any syrups and flavors for your coffee, from mocha to cinnamon to peppermint mocha. How better to celebrate the holidays than with a quad peppermint mocha?

What’s the difference between a Starbucks quad and other coffee shops? 

As Starbucks is more homogenized and uniform than other coffee places, you will most likely get a 0.75 oz individual espresso shot (up to 3 oz for a quad) using the same machines and training throughout. They often use the same beans and method for pulling the shot (unless you request a Ristretto or Lungo).

Other coffee shops may offer slightly larger or smaller shots with various flavors of beans, but it doesn’t mean it’s not an espresso, and it doesn’t mean it’s not a quad.

Are there seasonal quad drinks available at Starbucks?

You know it. It’s getting a little cooler out there. Get yourself a Quad Pumpkin Spice Latte! You know you want to.

Are Quad Starbucks Drinks Safe?

According to the Mayo Clinic and the FDA, up to 400mg of caffeine is safe for adults. At 300mg, the quad approaches that limit. According to a study endorsed by Harvard University, higher doses of caffeine can result in adverse effects such as “anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.” 


Starbucks®. Starbucks Coffee Company. (n.d.). https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/410/hot

WebMD. (n.d.). Pre-workout supplements: How it can benefit your overall well-being. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/health-benefits-pre-workout-supplements

Geller, W. (2023, March 10). Pedro Pascal’s Starbucks Order goes viral: “daddy needs his coffee.” Peoplemag. https://people.com/food/pedro-pascals-starbucks-coffee-order-goes-viral/

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, April 26). How much caffeine is in your cup?. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372Coffee. The Nutrition Source. (2023, February 2). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coffee/

Christopher Mize

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