Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

What Does Your Starbucks Order Say About You? (Slideshow)

What Does Your Starbucks Order Say About You? (Slideshow)

Vanilla Latte

The vanilla latte is the little black dress of Starbucks drinks. You’re loyal to the classics for a reason: they’re good. You like clean tastes without a lot of clutter. Your friends can probably count on an honest answer when they ask "Is this pattern too busy?"

Red Eye

You’ve got a mountain of tasks, and you don’t stop until your inbox is empty, even if it means powering through the last few pages of that big report slightly trembling from the caffeine mainline you’ve inserted directly into your aorta. You probably won’t finish this list because you’ve got things to do, and look! Was that a bunny?

Captain Crunch Frappuccino

If being a grown-up means drinking acrid coffee in an over starched business suit, you’re out. Around twenty, when your friends stopped watching Sponge Bob and started studying for the LSATS, you said, "Later haters," and discovered Adventure Time on Netflix.

Upside Down Caramel Macchiato

A sweet tooth is usually indicative of a sweet nature. You like life, and coffee, to be fun. You’re not above spontaneously singing along to the new Sara Bareilles playing on the speakers if conversation drops off during your coffee date.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

You wait all year for this, and when Starbucks, at long last, puts out that sign reading “Pumpkin Spice Is Back”, you’re the first in line. You probably get teased for your obsession with Pumpkin Spice, Downton Abbey, and Christmas, but why just like something when you can love it?

Misto

You could call it café au lait, but where’s the fun in that? A little mysterious and totally sophisticated, you like your coffee classic, but not if you have to say it in a way that’s boring.

Dirty Chai

This drink tastes as fun as it is to order. You probably have a kick-ass recipe for vegan chicken salad, and even though that is the actual opposite of chicken salad, your friends begrudgingly have to admit it’s pretty good.

Medium Coffee, Black

You’re not a crowd follower, and your refuse to give in to Starbucks’ corporate lingo. You wanted a coffee, not a linguistics lesson. You see no reason to complicate things with a lot of artificial sweeteners and made up sounds. You would never say practicality is your middle name because, um, it’s not.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


How to Order at Starbucks So Baristas Don't Judge You

In terms of basic and ubiquitous chains, Starbucks is about as basic and ubiquitous as it gets—and yet its rules and rituals still manage to confound even the most seasoned of coffee drinkers.

Before I swindled Lifehacker into paying me to tweet, I worked as a Starbucks barista for a little over a year, waking at 2:45 most mornings to get to the store by 4 a.m. for opening time. In that short, horrifically sleep-deprived time, it became very clear that most people could stand to learn a bit more about the dos and don’ts of ordering at Starbucks. Here’s a guide from me to you.

Order ahead using the Starbucks mobile app

Plain and simple: If you don’t want the barista to judge you or your order, use the Starbucks app so they never get the chance. A couple of tips if you do it this way:

You should only order via the app if you go to Starbucks regularly

This is because the app only allows you to pay through its rewards program , which requires you to load the app with a gift card or with money from your credit card. So, if you only plan on going once, you’ll probably have a couple bucks leftover on the card you’ll never use again. But if you’re a regular customer, it’s probably worth it .

Double check your order details before you submit it

Few things are more annoying to a barista than making a drink exactly as it was ordered, then having to trash it and remake it because the customer made a mistake when ordering.

Many drinks, like iced teas, are sweetened unless you specify otherwise

If you don’t want your iced tea sweetened, tap, “flavors” then hit the minus button until it says “no liquid cane sugar.”

Your drink might not be waiting for you where the regular orders are

If you don’t see your drink on the handoff plane—that’s Starbucks’ term for what most humans calls “a counter”—where baristas call out in-store orders, check to see if there’s a separate zone on the counter for mobile orders. Sometimes these are located by an exit so that people in a rush can nip in and out without elbowing their way through a crowd. If you don’t see an area like this, you can simply ask the barista where you should pick up your mobile order. This has the added bonus of getting the barista’s attention they’ll be more likely to make sure your drink didn’t get lost or misplaced.

Of course, if you’d rather just order in person, that’s perfectly all right. But I have a few tips if you do so—and some pitfalls I want to help you avoid.

This Caffeine Calculator Helps You Plan Your Day

Caffeine can make you more alert, but so can a good night’s sleep. Until now, if you wanted to plan

When you order in person

Ask questions

If you don’t know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, ask! (Cappuccinos have more foam and less steamed milk than a latte, if you were gonna ask.) If you’ve never had one of the winter seasonal beverages, like the chestnut praline latte, you can simply ask the barista to describe it. Nobody expects customers to know everything, and it’s way easier to sort out issues before you’ve ordered than after you already have a drink in your hand.

Be aware of how much espresso and sweetener is added, by default, to each size

Starbucks makes everything according to a standard recipe, and the quantity of each ingredient varies based on the size you order. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Short: One shot of espresso two pumps of syrup. (This is an eight-ounce size you can order for hot drinks only, even though it’s typically not advertised very well.)
  • Tall: One shot of espresso three pumps of syrup.
  • Grande: Two shots of espresso four pumps of syrup.
  • Venti (hot): Two shots of espresso five pumps of syrup. (Note that the amount of espresso is the same as a grande. If you want more espresso in your hot latte, maybe stick with a grande and just ask for an extra shot. It’ll have less milk, sugar and calories—and it’ll probably cost a little less.)
  • Venti (iced): Three shots of espresso six pumps of syrup. (An iced venti beverage is slightly larger than a hot venti—I don’t know why— hence the extra pump and shot of espresso.)
  • Trenta: Seven pumps of syrup. (Starbucks doesn’t serve espresso beverages in this size.)

There’s one big exception (I can think of) to the above: Americanos get an additional shot of espresso.

Feel free to customize your order

Being considerate of low-paid service employees is a very good thing, but Starbucks baristas expect—and are trained—to customize just about anything about a drink. You shouldn’t feel bad about making a tweak (or two or three) to a drink if you don’t like the standard recipe.

How to Get the Closest Thing to American Coffee Around the World

International travel is a beautiful way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely…

If you ordered an iced coffee last time but you thought it was too sweet, ask for fewer pumps of syrup—or none at all. Or maybe ask for a different kind of syrup altogether. Iced coffees typically come with a flavorless simple syrup, but you can swap that out for vanilla or caramel or whatever you want. These kinds of customizations are totally run-of-the-mill and you shouldn’t feel like you’re being a pain for asking for them. Well, you are being a pain, but no more so than almost everyone around you, so order away.

This doesn’t apply to people who order things like, “a caramel Frappuccino but with extra caramel drizzle on the inside walls of the cup instead of on top of the whipped cream,” which is a very real, very annoying thing people do way more than they should.

Say your order in the correct sequence, if possible

As a general rule, the first thing you should tell your cashier is the size of your drink and whether you want it hot or iced. If your cashier is writing the order details on your cup, they can’t write anything until they’re holding the correct cup for your order. So, if you say “Vanilla latte with six pumps. Grande. Oh, and iced,” they might ask you to repeat your order because only at the very end of your order did they know what cup to grab. Instead, say, “Iced grande six-pump vanilla latte.”

Don’t get cute with the names

Don’t tell them your name is “Trump 2020” or “America” or “Fart.” (Unless that’s really your name—in which case, best of luck to you.) It’s humiliating enough for a barista to pretend to be cheerful when they’ve been cranking out drink after drink since six o’clock in the morning It’s like a kick in the face if you have to plaster on a smile and say, “I have a venti iced coffee with nonfat milk for . Tinkerbell.”

Don’t order from the secret menu

Secret menus, in general, aren’t real . They are finicky orders that customers have invented that usually require a lot of legwork on the part of a store’s employees. It’s fine if you want to order an inventive drink you saw online, just be sure you know exactly how it’s made—and be willing to pay for all those extra ingredients. Don’t go up to a Starbucks barista and ask them to make you a Butterbeer in the middle of rush hour and then balk at the price once they’ve plugged everything in. They will hate you.

Don’t simply say “skinny” in front of a drink name all willy-nilly

At Starbucks, “skinny” means a very specific thing: Nonfat milk, sugar-free syrups and no whipped cream. You can say you want a “skinny vanilla latte” or a “skinny mocha,” but if you say you want a “skinny pumpkin spice latte,” your barista will have to explain to you that Starbucks doesn’t offer a sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup. Instead, you’d order a “nonfat pumpkin spice latte with no whipped cream.”

Don’t say, “Is this mine?”

The person who made your drink is not the person who took your order. If you say, “Is this my drink?” the barista will not know. Look at the damn cup! Your order—and also probably your name—is written on it! That’s how the barista made it!

Don’t hover

Give the barista some space. Unless you’re actively trying to get the barista’s attention because they messed something up or lost your order, step back to a comfortable distance. You’re not only making the barista uncomfortable by watching their every move, but you’re probably blocking other customers from grabbing their drinks.

Don’t try and strike up a conversation about how wacky Starbucks size names are

You are the millionth person to assault them with such jokes today and it is not funny. It has never been funny.

This story was originally published in 2019 and updated with new information on 3/3/2020.


Watch the video: What Your Starbucks Drink Says About You (December 2021).