Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Starbucks: Decoded Pt. 3

We've made it to the end of the series! By the end of this post, you'll pretty much be a certified barista, minus the fancy lapel pin (they seriously have those).  Today is probably the most involved of the posts, and I'm going to try to make this as clear as I can, but if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me!  Today we're going to talk about all those little boxes on the side of the cup.




  • Box One: Decaf.  You can do that.  The only thing you can't get decaf is a Frappuccino, but the caffeine in there isn't too serious.  You can also do Half-Caf.  As in, half the caffeine.
  • Box Two: Shots.  When ordering an espresso drink, each size comes with a pre-ordained number of espresso shots.  Short (8 oz) and Tall (12 oz) each come with one shot.  What? You didn't know they made a Short?  They do.  And you really don't need any more than an 8 oz latte.  Grande (16 oz) and Venti (20 oz) each come with two shots, and the Iced Venti (24 oz) comes with three.  Now, if you want your tall latte to have two shots of espresso, you'd order a Double Tall.  If you want your grande latte to have an extra shot, you'd order a Triple Grande. If you want four shots, you'd order a Quad <Insert Drink Size Here>.
  • Box Three: Syrup.  We're going to break this up into two categories: number of pumps and syrup combinations.  Shorts have two pumps of any given syrup, Talls have three, Grandes have four, Ventis have five, and Iced Ventis have six.  (They've seriously idiot-proofed working at Starbucks).  You can add more or detract from the number of pumps of syrup.  For example: Whenever I order a Mocha Latte, I always get a little less syrup, because the Mocha is a little too rich for me and I think it's a little chalky.  So I usually order a Tall, Two-Pump Mocha.
  • Combinations: You can also ADD extra syrup to a beverage.  For example, you can get a Raspberry Mocha, or a Vanilla Chai, or a Peppermint White Mocha.  It costs about $0.35 to add syrup (don't quote me on that number).  When you add a second syrup, you get the pre-ordained number of pumps.  So a Grande Raspberry White Mocha would have four pumps of Raspberry AND four pumps of White Mocha.  That's eight pumps of syrup and that's getting way up there in the calorie department.  And personally, I don't want my drink that crazy sweet.  But you can also specify the number of pumps for Syrup 2.  For example: A Grande, 2-pump Raspberry, 2-pump White Mocha.  See what I mean, bean?
  • Box Four: Milk.  There are six different milk options: Soy, Nonfat, 2%, Whole, Breve, and Heavy Cream (I DO NOT recommend this last one.  It'll stop your heart, I swear.  And it goes straight to your ass).  Starbucks uses and organic vanilla-flavored soy milk, so take that into consideration when thinking about how sweet you want your beverage (Whenever I order a soy beverage, I cut down on my syrup a pump).  Beverages come with 2% as standard, unless you get a Skinny Latte, but we'll get to that in a minute.  Breve is just a fancy name for steamed Half-and-Half.  Heavy Cream is what you make whipped cream out of.  It has chunks of milkfat in it.  Not recommended for your arteries or your waistline.  Here's an example of an "altered milk beverage": Venti Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Latte.
  • Box Five: Custom. This is where you can really go wild.  You can get a no-water Chai.  You can ask for no whip, or extra whip.  You can customize the temperature of your drink!  Starbucks beverages come at a standard temp of 160-degrees Fahrenheit.  If you want it "warm" it will come out around 145-150.  Extra hot will take you to 180.  I don't recommend going any hotter than that because you will burn the shit out of yourself (please don't try to sue for being stupid), and it will also scald your milk.  Ever had scalded milk?  I have.  It tastes like vomit and burnt popcorn.  Um... gross.  There are a million ways to customize a Starbucks beverage.  Definitely get to know your baristas, because they will recommend all kinds of tasty things to you.
  • Box Six: Drink.  This is where the barista writes what kind of drink you have so they don't get it all mixed up and confused and crazy-like.
  • Skinny Lattes: There are four sugar-free syrups at Starbucks: Sugar-Free Vanilla, Sugar-Free Hazlenut, Sugar-Free Caramel, and Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce.  When you order a Skinny Latte, you get a sugar-free syrup of your choice, as well as nonfat milk.  The Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte, unlike it's regular counterpart, DOES NOT come with whipped cream.
Now, How to Order Your Perfect Beverage!  There's an order here.  A science, if you will.  It goes like this:

  1. Hot or Iced? (Frappuccinos are their own realm)
  2. Do you want decaf or 1/2 caf?
  3. Any extra shots? One less shot?
  4. Size.
  5. Any syrup customizations?
  6. Any milk customizations?
  7. Do you want your drink a certain way?
  8. The drink itself.


Example 1: An Iced (1) Tall (4), 2-pump vanilla (5), soy (6), no water (7) Chai (8).
Example 2: A Decaf (2) Grande (4), no-whip (7) Mocha (8).  (If you don't specifically say "Iced" your drink will be hot, you don't have to specify a hot drink.)
Example 3: An Iced (1) Quad (3) Venti (4) 2-pump Peppermint (5), Nonfat (6), Light Whip (7) White Mocha (8)
Example 4: A 1/2-Caf (2) Short (4) Skinny Hazlenut Latte (8)

So there you have it, all the tools you need to make your perfect beverage!  Now get out there and get caffeinated!

3 comments:

DecorandtheDog said...

Extremely useful info. I don't go to Starbucks because I always feel dumb ordering...oh yeah, and I'm cheap. You should make printable cheat sheets. :P

Marianne said...

I was just thinking I need to make myself a cheat sheet just so I can get my perfect coffees now.

Joy said...

Why they want to minus the fancy lapel pins?