Quick Recipes and Easy

Ordering Coffee At Starbucks

The sight of a bustling Starbucks in the morning, drive-through lines ten cars deep, people inside tapping their toes impatiently as the espresso machines whir, is enough to overwhelm even the most advanced coffee drinker. When it’s finally your turn at the counter, you freeze; there are just too many options, and the lady behind you is getting pushy! Ordering coffee at Starbucks can be challenging, but, knowing the lingo and understanding your basic options will make you more comfortable when that barista finally takes your order.

First, we must break down the Starbucks menu into groups to help categorize available drinks. To first separate the beverages, we should look at what coffee drinkers really care about…is there caffeine in it, or not? While most of us know that any coffee drink can be ordered with decaf coffee or espresso, some people fail to realize that Starbucks offers drinks that really have no coffee or coffee products in them. While this is excellent for children or people who do not like coffee, a Starbucks novice who really wants a coffee drink may order a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino not realizing that it’s just vanilla beans and cream mixed with ice! Coffee products are: brewed coffees, iced and hot espresso drinks such as cappuccinos, mochas, lattes, and macchiatos, and frappuccino light or regular blended coffees. Tea products will also have caffeine, including chai tea which is commonly made into a chai tea latte. Products offering no coffee are: flavored hot chocolate drinks, any crème drink such as the vanilla crème or pumpkin spice crème, frappuccino juice blends, and frappuccino crème drinks as well. Now, many of these names sound similar, so be sure to read the menu carefully if you are confused about a pumpkin spice crème versus a pumpkin spice latte (the latte is the one with the espresso!).

As we have the Italians to thank for introducing drinks such as the latte, it is only honest that we learn proper pronunciation of Starbucks beverage names to give credit where credit is due. To start any order but, you must first specify size. The sizing has also apparently been borrowed from the Italians, as the options are tall, grande, or venti instead of small, medium, and large. Grande, the 16 ounce drink, is pronounced with a sharp A at the end: grond A. Venti, the 20 ounce drink, is said vent E. Once the sizing is understood, we may go on to the drinks. The latte, a well loved choice, is pronounced “lott A.” For effect, sometimes a word like dolce is added to a drink name, like the cinnamon dolce latte. Dolce is pronounced dol chA. Two other drinks that are a bit challenging as well are the café au lait and the chai tea. Chai really has a soft ch, not kI, but chI. The café au lait, a mixture of coffee and milk, is pronounced café oh lay. What’s fantastic about these terms is that once you learn your drink (people are usually creatures of habit and will order the same drink once they’ve found a excellent one), you can forget all the other names. Beyond that, ordering a cinnamon dolce latte just sounds more romantic than an “espresso with milk, cinnamon, and vanilla syrup with whip cream on top,” right?

When you listen to the most experienced Starbuck’s customers give their orders, not only will you hear proper pronunciation, but there is a kind of rhythm to the order that provides the baristas the exact beverage specifications in a certain order using the least amount of words and syllables possible. This practice seems to have been adopted nationwide. For example, an order may go… “I would like a tall skim double-shot vanilla latte with whip.” This is much quicker than saying… “I would like a vanilla latte made with skim milk, and two shots of espresso, with whip cream on it. Oh and I’d like that in a tall size.” To become a knowledgeable order-giver, you must first know what your drink options are, and then the proper order to convey your selections. Because people seem to like choices, many stores offer them, and Starbucks is no different. They offer whole, two-percent, skim, soy, and in some stores, organic milk. The syrups, which can be added in any combination to any drink, are offered in regular or sugar free. As a basic rule, in espresso drinks, a tall has one shot of espresso, a grande has two shots of espresso, and a venti has three. So, you could really order a grande espresso drink as “half-caf,” which means one shot of espresso is caffeinated while the other is not. To place your selection together, follow this guideline: size, milk product (soy, non-stout, etc.), caffeine specification (half-caf, decaf, etc), syrup flavoring choices (sugar-free vanilla, hazelnut, etc), basic drink (latte, cappuccino or cap, mocha, etc.), whipped cream instructions (whip vs. no whip), and finally, additional heat (extra hot). This guideline includes every possible option, but in most cases, your order will be much less complicated because you are sticking to the standard drink preparation. In any drink with milk, whole milk is used as the standard because it offers the best flavor; same goes for regular syrups as opposed to sugar free. So, when you order a tall pumpkin spice latte, it will come with one shot of espresso, whole milk, and regular syrups. On the other hand, if you are more health conscious, you may order a tall nonfat sugar-free pumpkin spice latte, no whip. Because you want something other than the menu standard, you have to specifically say so.

Once you have learned the Starbucks ordering process, proper drink pronunciations, and menu selections, do not get comfortable. Just to keep everyone guessing, seasonal specials are offered such as the gingerbread latte in fall and the eggnog latte during Christmas time. In the summer, when cold iced drinks are preferable, the mint chocolate chip frappuccino may show up on the menu. These specialty drinks are a way to give long-time customers new options for enjoyable refreshment.

Now, do not let that pushy lady behind you intimidate her way to the front of the line. Organize your thoughts, place together your order, and go ahead, say it! If a word happens to come out incorrect, or you switch the order of a couple words, it is truly not the end of the world. All snobbery aside, most baristas are very willing to clarify menu options and help you reach a choice. Ordering coffee at Starbucks may take a small practice, but once you have that fresh steaming cappuccino in hand, your diligent preparations will be more than worth the effort.

David Beart is the owner of professorshouse.com professorshouse.com This site covers a wide selection of topics including relationships, family, cooking and other household issues. For additional articles that hot and cold beverages, please visit professorshouse.com/food-beverage/beverages/beverages.aspx professorshouse.com/food-beverage/beverages/beverages.aspx

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