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"Secret Menu" Frappuccinos With Slightly Less Sugar

Updated on July 12, 2015

Blended Creativity


Secret Menu, what is the secret?

As a few of you may know from one of my other hubs, I am currently (as of this and my last hub) employed at Starbucks. It is such a great company to work for, I would be happy to retire from this company. It is a company that has been proud of the fact that they give their customers so much power over their drink choices, many of the drinks that have been featured as special drinks have been original customer creations that the corporation heard about, and decided to feature in the stores.

A few years ago it wasn't quite so simple to personalize Frappuccinos. They started with a pre-mixed base, which you could then customize as you wished, but the base itself you were stuck with. Sorry lactose intolerant customers, too bad decaf coffee drinkers, sorry but there was nothing that could be done to make the drinks more friendly for you. Then Starbucks did a massive reworking of how Frappuccinos are created, and the very next summer the create-your-own Frappuccino advertisements were on! Everyone was invited to create their Frappuccino drink they way they wanted it!

You would think that would have been the end of it. Starbucks gave creative licence to the customer to create the drinks they wanted to drink, so all the creative people should have been eager and ready to try out all the new possibilities! Except they weren't so ready, and they weren't coming in and creating drinks. What was the problem?

Why the secret menu items work

Well the main problem with having everyone off the streets creating their own versions of blended drinks is what happens if you don't like what you created? Now I know that even if you did create it yourself, if you happen to not like the outcome you can bring it back and we'll try again. Really though, how often do you want to take a chance on a potentially $5 drink that you may or may not like, and how eager would you be to have to bring it back to have something re-made? Most of the time people are just going to order what someone else has already said works, either off the menu or from hearsay from someone else.

When Starbucks Corporate realized this, they turned to the people with the least to lose from experimentation for creative drink advice, their baristas. I remember the year they asked all the baristas to fill out a card describing their favorite off-the-menu blended drink. After all, we are there nearly every day, and we tend to come up with some really creative drink mixtures. I fully believe this is the true basic start of the Starbucks secret menu. So now instead of having to create a drink idea on your own and hope it actually tastes good, there are secret menu recipes everywhere to look up and try with at least one person saying it not only tastes good, but that it also tastes like whatever it is trying to taste like.

The only problem now is that most of these drinks are made by, and for, young teens to early twenty year olds who don't have to worry as much about what they consume. This means that most of these drinks, when I have tasted them after making one at the request of a customer, taste like blended candy bars rolled in sugar. Far too sweet for my taste, and for the health of my hips. So I decided to come to the rescue and offer a few frappuccino drink recipes that are fun and delicious, and not quite so full of sugar. Though still with a lot of sugar for the most part, lets just be clear on that!

Banana Split Frappuccino

Just one of the popular flavors people love to try, once someone has created a version they feel safe sampling!
Just one of the popular flavors people love to try, once someone has created a version they feel safe sampling!

Banana Split Frappuccino

One of the most popular "Secret Menu" frappuccinos is the banana split. I'm not surprised it is so popular, it has a very classic mix of flavors that appeal to a variety of people. However I am often shocked at the unnecessary extra sugars that are generally added to this recipe.

Start by asking for a strawberries and cream frappuccino, but in a venti cup please. Then add:

  • one banana
  • Java chips
  • caramel sauce on top, or extra swirled in the cup for extra flavor!

This is also one fun frappuccino flavor to have a specialty flavored whipped cream if they have any currently for a featured flavor, and if it sounds compatible to you.

Caramel Apple Spice Frappuccino

This is a drink that is available year round, but is really only popular around the Christmas holiday season. Typically hot, it is a strange mix of slightly sour and caramelly sweet, very similar to the sour apple suckers that have caramel on top. If you enjoy that drink during the cold winter months, try this one on a hot summer day.

  • Apple juice to the bottom cup line
  • Cream base drink mix
  • Cinnamon dolce syrup (appropriate to size)
  • Ice (appropriate to size)
  • Top with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and cinnamon dolce powder

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

A healthier, but still indulgent, option is to create a fancy drink out of one of the smoothies. Here is one version for a smoothie with strawberries and chocolate.

  • Strawberry Smoothie
  • Add Java Chips

Chai Cream Smoothie

A brand new version of the classic smoothie drink. Basically this drink takes the basic chocolate smoothie recipe and substitutes chai for the chocolate. Here is the full recipe if you need it.

  • Milk to the bottom line of a grande cup
  • 3 Pumps Chai
  • Whole Banana
  • Protein Powder, 2 scoops
  • Ice, tall scoop


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