10 irregular Starbucks drinks you should try (US Edition)

Getting bored of your usual at Starbucks but unsure what else to try? Look no further for your (non-seasonal) drink suggestions!

I know how obsessed everyone is with lists nowadays, and I promise that I’m not going to become one of those writers that consistently churns out lists upon lists. However, I feel that they’re nice once in a while. Anyway, considering how popular my last Starbucks article turned out, I’m writing this one for those of you that have figured out what you want on a regular basis, but want to branch out and try something new and/or unusual.

Disclaimer: Some syrups are not available in some countries or some stores. These are my own personal tastes that I enjoy, and your preferences may vary from mine.

Now, onward!

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Anatomy of a Starbucks drink: A Primer (US Edition)

I love Starbucks. Music complaints aside (see earlier article on Music in cafes and such), it is my default place to go read a book, do some work, or hang out with a friend or two. I guess it helps that my habit formed at one of the most awesome Starbucks places ever and that I worked there. BARISTAS UNITE. I digress.

Do you love being at Starbucks and wanted to learn a bit more about what goes into some of our drinks and how you can customize them? Been confused about the difference between breve and skim? Ristretto versus lungo espresso? Dry versus wet cappuccino? Well, look no further, because here is the guide that I was never able to find on the internet!

Sizes

Real basic: Short is 8 oz, tall is 12 oz, grande is 16 oz, and venti is 20 oz. Makes sense if you speak Italian because “venti” is “twenty”. In some places, there is also a trenta size, which is 30 oz. This size is only available for iced coffee and iced tea.

Easy, right? Generally, we will understand what you mean by small, medium, or large…or if you point. But in case you ever wondered what the size differences were, here they are.

Skinny or Light

For any drinks with milk that aren’t frozen, ordering it “skinny” means you want it with sugar-free syrup, non-fat milk, and no whipped cream. If you want to change any of those things, tell us!

For frappuccinos, if you order it “light”, we use non-fat milk, sugar-free syrup, no whip, and sugar-free frappuccino bases.

Milk

The default for hot drinks is 2% milk (in the US). The default for frozen drinks is whole milk. You may request that your drink be made with something else if you would like. Whole milk and skim/non-fat cost nothing extra, while soy milk and breve (which is half cream and half milk) cost extra unless you are a Starbucks Gold member. Generally, we will ask you if you still want whipped cream if you order something non-fat or soy. Ordering something skinny automatically means no whipped cream.

Drinks that get whipped cream: all fraps except coffee frap and smoothies, hot chocolate, mocha, caramel apple spice.

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The Endless Ambient Music in Food Service

I only started working in the the food service industry this past year, but I have frequented cafes and the like for a very long time. One thing I have noticed is that the music rarely changes, if ever. Another thing I notice is that it is almost invariably annoying, too loud, or highly repetitive.

Let’s start with my first point. For those of you who don’t know me well, I basically lived in Starbucks at my university. I lived off campus and as a central, high traffic location, I used to hang out there and it had the right amount of white noise, so I studied there as well. I eventually picked up a job there as well, but there’s one thing that always ruined it for me: the music. Granted, the playlist was fairly long (about 3-4 hours apiece, I believe), but considering the amount of time I spent there on a daily basis, this is not a large amount of music. The reggae part of the playlist was alright; I once heard “Stand by me” five times in a day. However, as far as I could tell, the playlist only ever changed once every few months are so (Christmas music started playing in early November, but that’s a whole other story…I’m of the “no Christmas until after Thanksgiving” camp).

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