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How to Order at Starbucks the Barista Way

Updated on April 19, 2013

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Starbucks and its Fancy Names

A lot of times, new people that go to Starbucks and they get overwhelmed by the number of drinks in there. Unlike most coffee places, they have their own lingo. I am going to introduce you to some basic Starbucks products, and you will be familiar with some of the common items that people usually buy.

Starbucks Coffee and Flavors


Starbucks is well known for its coffee and fast service. Each Starbucks chain might vary in what they brew for coffee everyday, but every store brews a medium roast, dark roast and blonde roast. The medium roast(called Pike's Place) is the standard, every store brews that. The blonde and dark roast can vary everyday depending on the season.

The blonde roast is actually the highest in acidity and caffeine. Although the taste of blonde roast is light and crispy, it fools people into thinking it is not a strongly caffeinated coffee. The dark roast like Sumatra may taste really earthy and strong, but it has less caffeine than the blonde roast.

Syrup Flavors

Starbucks has many different types of syrup flavors that you can put into your coffee. The main syrups that they have all year round are:

  • Vanilla/Sugar Free Vanilla
  • Hazelnut/Sugar Free Hazlenut
  • Cinnamon Dolce/Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce
  • Caramel/Sugar Free Caramel
  • Peppermint
  • Raspberry
  • Toffee Nut
  • Classic
  • Mocha/White Mocha
  • Chai Tea
  • Green Tea

Seasonal Syrups

Some syrups are only available during a certain season. Below are a list of what usually comes out during certain seasons:

  • Pumpkin Spice(Fall Season)
  • Caramel Brulee(Christmas)
  • Eggnog Latte(Christmas)
  • Vanilla Spice(Spring)


For the hot teas, there are a total of 10 regular ones that you can choose from. Here are the following selections:


  • Awake - Regular black tea
  • Tazo Chai
  • Zen - Green tea
  • China Green Tips - Dark green tea


  • Calm - Chamomille tea
  • Refresh - Peppermint tea
  • Vanilla Rooibos
  • Passion

For cold teas, there are only 3. It is the black, passion and green tea.

Cup Sizes

Starbucks has got 3 main sizes. The Tall is a small, Grande is medium and Venti is large. This applies to both hot and cold cups. The hot cup also has a short cup and the cold cup has an extra-large called the Trenta. Only a few drinks are made in the Trenta. They are Black/Passion/Green Tea and the Berry Hibiscus/Cool Lime Refresher. Below are the pictures for each cup:


Ordering Style

Usually, a lot of customers come in and order their drink however they want. Often times, it causes confusion. Some customers order a tall coffee, thinking it is our biggest size. We give them the coffee, and they realized they just ordered a small.

The best way to order without much confusion and easy for all Baristas to follow is by doing this order:

  1. Hot/Cold
  2. Size of Cup
  3. Syrup(if any)
  4. Custom stuff(add chips, add lemonade etc.)
  5. Whip or no whip cream

For example, order it this way:

1) Can I get a cold grande mocha frappuccino with whip cream?

2) Can I get an iced venti toffee nut latte, and add whip please. Thank you.

The reason why you should order this way is because if you were to start off with the drink, the Baristas do not know what size you want it in, and whether it would be hot or cold. Often times, drinks are mixed up because customers did not specify and the Baristas did not ask them.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Coffee and Pastry Combo

Sometimes, coffee is not enough. Adding a pastry really gives the coffee some extra flavor. Here are some popular combos that I recommend:

1) Sumatra(Dark Roast) with Lemon Cake or Chocolate Brownie

The Sumatra itself has a very earthy taste and it lingers in your tongue. A lemon cake or chocolate brownie really takes away some of the bitter taste, making it a sweet and bitter mix.

2) Veranda Blend(Blonde Roast) with Cheese Danish

Veranda blend is acidic, and the taste doesn't last that long, it is a quick taste and it is gone. A good pastry to go with it is the cheese danish. The bread will retain some of the coffee if you eat them together, hence preserving some of the coffee taste.


Ordering drinks in the right order will help you be a better customer and also become a Barista's favorite. If you ever visit Starbucks, please do try out some of the recommendations!

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