There’s a reason why Starbucks is one of the biggest global chains out there — there are so many great things about it! The Frappuccinos are delicious dessert beverages you can have in the middle of the day, and they are always coming out with new ones so that we never get bored. The lattes are truly a wonderful way to drink coffee, but for “serious coffee drinkers,” there are plenty of options as well (their espresso is very strong). The Starbucks baristas can even become your friends if you go there often enough, and the bakery items are pretty solid. In fact, some people consider Starbucks to be their little luxury each day, and we can see why.
But one of the very best things about Starbucks is that you can pretty much do whatever you want with the ingredients and menu options they offer.
Yes, a secret menu doesn’t actually exist, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order the secret menu drinks you see online. Starbucks baristas basically have to do whatever you (politely and reasonably) ask them to do with your drink, meaning that everything is totally customizable… which could change your whole experience there. I mean, if you’re going to spend $6 on a coffee, you want it to be something you truly enjoy.
These are all of the things you didn’t know you could ask your Starbucks barista to do, and they might just make your order even better. Try them out next time!
1. Select your choice of milk.
Just because a menu item says it comes with regular milk doesn’t mean you have to get that. Starbucks gives customers an option between whole milk, 2% milk, non-fat milk, or dairy-free alternatives like soy, coconut, and almond milk. And really, you know it’s only a matter of time before they add oat milk to their menu, too.
2. Ask for less syrup in your drink.
Many people complain that Starbucks’s lattes are way too sweet.
They can be, because there are a lot of pumps of syrup in one drink. If you find that you like the flavor, but hate how sugary it is, just ask for fewer pumps. You can ask the barista how many pumps of, say, caramel syrup are in a Caramel Macchiato. Then, ask for less. Another way to figure it out is to download the Starbucks app and go to the customization screen of any drink — that will show you what exactly you can change.
3. Try a sweetener substitute.
Can’t have sugar? Starbucks says you can substitute with something like Sweet’N Low®, Equal®, SPLENDA® or Stevia Blend from Whole Earth.
4. Adjust your whipped cream.
Certain Starbucks drinks come with whipped cream, like the Frappuccinos and sometimes the lattes.
But you can always say “no whip” if you’re not into it. You can also just ask for less whip if you only want a little taste. And of course, you can add whipped cream to any drink you want as well.
5. Opt for a “skinny” drink.
Trying to keep things on the lighter side, but still want to treat yourself? Starbucks says, “Most handcrafted espresso and Frappuccino® blended beverages can be requested ‘skinny,’ which means the beverage is made with nonfat milk, no whipped cream, and a sugar-free syrup if available.”
6. Add cold foam.
Creamy cold foam is still relatively new at Starbucks, but many customers love it for the added texture and flavor it gives an iced drink. You can add this to any iced or cold brew beverage you want.
7. Add a syrup to a coffee.
On the Starbucks menu, you’ll see that the lattes come with syrups, while the coffees are just plain coffee.
But you can definitely add syrups to your coffee to make them flavored if you like. For example, an iced coffee with caramel syrup is delicious.
8. Add extra shots of espresso.
Feeling extra exhausted? Get more espresso in your drink instead of getting a larger drink or more than one.
It will cost more, but it could be worth it. This is especially helpful with a venti drink. Grande and venti drinks both have two shots of espresso, which means that with a venti, you’re only getting more milk, not more espresso. If you add an extra shot to your venti and make it a triple, you’ll have a bigger drink that isn’t watered down with milk.
9. Order a tall in a grande.
This trick is an internet favorite for making the most of the money you spend at Starbucks. If you’re ordering a tall coffee and you know you’re going to add milk to it, ask for it in a grande cup (you can also do this with a grande in a venti). This way, you don’t have to dump coffee out to make room for milk, so you basically get more out of your drink.
10. Go from hot to iced, or vice versa.
Pretty much any latte on the Starbucks menu can be made iced if you would prefer it that way. And sometimes, the cold drinks can also be made hot. Just ask!
11. Make your own “latte.”
Another internet favorite trick is to save money on a latte by basically making your own.
Instead of getting a latte, order a triple (or double) espresso over ice, in a Venti cup with room for milk. Go to the condiments area and fill it up with milk — it’s basically a cheaper iced latte. If you want a hot latte, order a coffee with steamed milk, which is still cheaper.
12. Ask for no water with an iced tea.
You may not have realized that most of the teas at Starbucks are a little watered down.
Iced teas and even the hot chai latte have water added to them. If you want your tea to be stronger, ask for “no water” and you’ll get a lot more flavor. You can also ask for light ice with your iced teas to keep them less watered down and to get more out of the cup.
13. Order a short.
If you just want something small, order a short! It’s not a size that’s on the menu, but it exists, and a lot of people get it. The short is cheaper and obviously smaller.
14. Order a chai tea to basically make your own chai latte.
Looking to save money on your chai tea habit?
Order a chai tea instead of a chai tea latte (which is just a chai tea bag in hot water with added milk) and then add your own milk to it at the condiment station. You can even ask for a bit of steamed milk for that tea — a small amount of it is free.
15. Ask for light ice with your Frapp.
You can also ask for light ice in a Frappuccino. This keeps the drink from being watered-down and gives you a lot more flavor.
16. Ask for your chocolate chip cookie warmed up.
Okay, this one is a game-changer.
If you’re getting a chocolate chip cookie, ask to have it warmed up. It’s incredible when it’s hot and all the chocolate is melted. You can do this with almost any bakery item to immediately make it taste like it just came out of the oven.
17. Request for your drink to be shaken.
Sometimes iced drinks are shaken already, but if you’re not sure, just always ask for them to be shaken. It mixes them up better than you will be able to on your own.
18. Mix your tea bags.
Did you know that you can get more than one tea bag when ordering a tea at Starbucks?
If you want to basically make your own tea, mix and match the flavors to come up with something awesome.
19. Ask for liquid sugar.
The most annoying thing about putting sugar in an iced coffee is that it all sinks down to the bottom and doesn’t mix well. Instead, you can ask your barista to put a few pumps of liquid sugar into your iced coffee so that it mixes much better.
20. Ask for kid temperature.
A lot of people complain about Starbucks drinks being too hot. If that’s the case for you, request them to be made at kid temperature, and they’ll be warm instead of steaming hot. You can also ask for “extra hot” if that’s what you prefer!
21. Have them make your drink directly in your personal travel mug or tumbler.
If you hand your barista your reusable travel tumbler or mug, they’ll make your drink directly inside it for you. According to Starbucks, in 2013, customers brought their own tumblers into stores 46.9 million times, saving 1.6 million more pounds of paper than they did in 2012. Keeping the planet happy never looked so good.