Order at Starbucks

A Step-by-Step Guide to Ordering at Starbucks

Ordering from Starbucks can be pretty intimidating for those who aren’t coffee connoisseurs or regular Starbucks customers. Your next order from Starbucks will be a snap with a basic understanding of coffee-making guidelines.

Tailor your drink to you

Think about what you want.

To get a drink you enjoy, it’s important to order something based on your craving. Ordering from Starbucks doesn’t necessarily mean you have to order coffee; there are dozens of drinks, including tea, smoothies, and hot chocolate. Factor in the temperature and time of year to decide what sounds good! If you’re unsure what sounds good, don’t hesitate to ask your barista(s) for suggestions or help! They can give you choices based on your drink preferences to help you make a right decision. Don’t forget to consider whether you want your drink hot, iced or mixed, how sweet you want it to be, and how much caffeine you want it to contain.

Choose a size.

Starbucks is known for its distinctive sizing. Don’t worry; understanding the sizes is easy. Tall is 350ml, Grande is 470ml, Venti is 590ml for hot drinks, and 770ml for cold drinks. Some Starbucks also offer small drinks, which are 240ml or Trenta, which is 920ml. Tall usually contains an espresso, Grande gets a double, and Venti gets a double unless it’s an iced drink, which then contains a triple espresso. If you want more espresso than what’s included in the size you’re ordering, just ask for more! This costs more, but you’ll have the perfect amount of espresso without having to increase the size of your entire drink.

Add some flavor!

It doesn’t matter if you order coffee, tea or any other beverage – you always have the option to add sugar or flavoring syrup. Adding flavor usually means two extra pumps of syrup, so if you want your drink extra sweet, be sure to mention it and be prepared to pay more! Sugar is free, but flavored syrup is not. If you’re unsure which flavor to add, ask to see the flavor card or ask the barista what popular flavors are available! There are dozens of flavor alternatives, so don’t think you’re limited to “sugar” or “no sugar.” Most of the popular flavored syrups like vanilla, caramel and hazelnut are also available sugar-free. If you’re trying to be healthier, order a sugar-free flavored syrup for your drink. Ask for seasonal flavors when ordering, as there are many specialty syrups at different times. Pumpkin is available in fall and winter, while coconut is often available in summer at participating locations.

Choose the drink base.

Some drinks are made with milk, while others are made with water as the base. If you prefer one over the other, specify when you order. Skim, semi-skimmed, soy, and half-and-half milk options are available. Some Starbucks even have specialty milks like almond or coconut milk. You can get any drink hot or cold and many coffee drinks mixed. If you change the shape of your drink, you may also need to change the drink base. For example, blended coffee needs to be made from a milk base instead of water to get the right consistency. When milk is frothed, it forms a very fluffy froth. It’s like warm, whipped milk on top of your drink. If you like foam, you can order your drink with extra foam; if you don’t like it, ask them to leave it out.

Think about the caffeine.

Espresso and coffee both naturally contain caffeine, as do black and green teas. If you want less caffeine in your drink, order semi-caffeinated (half the normal amount of caffeine) or decaffeinated (no caffeine). You can also add extra coffee if you want your drink to give you a little more energy.

Choose a drink

Have brewed coffee!

You might make this brewed coffee at home but in many different flavors. Most Starbucks runs many brews throughout the day so that you can test different roasts and blends. Filter coffee is the cheapest and easiest thing you can order off the menu.

Try a latte.

A latte is a simple espresso drink made from frothed milk and espresso. Any flavor can be added to a latte, and any type of milk can be used. A latte can be prepared hot or iced.

Try an Americano.

This is one of the most popular drinks for coffee enthusiasts as the espresso flavor is very strong. An Americano is made from just espresso and water and contains one more espresso than any other drink. As with filter coffee, milk and sugar can be added, as well as any flavoring you might like.

Try a cappuccino.

A cappuccino is similar to a latte in that it’s made with just frothed milk and espresso, but a cappuccino is mostly foam. This means your drink will be light and fluffy rather than liquid. When ordering a cappuccino, you must order it “wet” (not as much foam) or “dry” (mostly foam). Add flavoring or sugar as you like.

Order a caramel macchiato!

Macchiato is the Italian word for “spotted”. It is used in this drink to describe the stains of the espresso poured on top – rather than stirred into the drink. A caramel macchiato is prepared with vanilla syrup, frothed milk and milk froth, espresso and caramel drizzled.

Have a mocha.

A mocha is a latte (milk and espresso) with chocolate added. The two mocha variants are milk chocolate and white chocolate. The former is slightly richer, while the latter is much sweeter. Mochas are usually made without foam, so if you like the creamy milk, ask for a little on top.

Try an espresso specialty.

If you are a real espresso lover, order it directly! Ask for a single or double espresso, then add a modifier of your choice. Often, macchiato-style espresso is served with a dollop of foam or “con Panna” with some whipped cream.

Order a tea.

If you’re not a coffee lover, try one of the many teas available! Most teas are made with hot water, but several latte teas are made with milk. These include the ever-popular Chai (tea flavored with spicy cinnamon) and London Fog (a sweet blend of vanilla and Earl Gray tea). You can order any tea made with milk or water, hot or cold.

Have a frappuccino.

A frappuccino is a mixed drink, usually made with coffee. Starbucks offers many Frappuccino specialties, so ask your barista(s) which ones are available if you don’t see them on the menu! There is no coffee in some Frappuccinos, such as Strawberries with Cream. These often include whipped cream and chocolate or caramel drizzled on top.

Try other drinks without coffee!

If you’re not interested in coffee or tea, don’t worry — Starbucks has several non-coffee beverages. As a hot drink, you get hot chocolate, milk with flavored syrup or apple cider. You can also have lemonade or a variety of smoothies if you want something cold without the coffee.

Order your drink

Once you decide on your coffee and all the possible variables, place your order. Start with the drink’s size, name it, and make any changes you’d like. For example, order a “grande chai latte with extra foam”. Don’t be afraid to get specific!


About the Author

Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan is CouponAnnie's Contributing Writer. He lives life on the cheap, but that doesn't mean a boring existence. Josh loves helping people focus on frugality without giving up the things they enjoy. When he's not getting deals, he's probably drawing or writing something amazing.