10 Ordering Mistakes Even Starbucks Regulars Don't Know

Starbucks Coffee sign


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Hand holding grande Starbucks take out coffee cup

Don't Make These Mistakes at Starbucks

There are many Starbucks hacks on social media, including ways to create new drinks, make dupes at home, or just get more for less money. Actually ordering what you want at the store has been overshadowed by all these wannabe viral content plays, but it still takes some finesse. Here are ways to avoid common mistakes (including some that will cost you) next time you place an order at the world's biggest coffee chain. 

Starbucks Puppuccino

You Forget Your Dog

Look, if you have a dog, chances are a pup cup will be mightily appreciated while your fur kid waits for you to order and do stuff instead of lavishing them with attention. And those pup cups (or puppuccinos if you want to be fancy about it) are free. More than one dog? Ask nicely for multiple cups and you'll likely get them. 

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha

You Forget the Freebies

Want to line your cup with mocha sauce? Free. Want whipped cream? Also free. How about cinnamon or a splash of cream? Still free. And some of the add-ons that aren't free still aren't too steep, if we're being honest. Add an extra espresso shot for a buck. That doesn't look like a plain old coffee anymore, does it?

Above angle view of a young man using a trading app

You Don't Order Ahead Using the App

Does anyone not use the app to order anymore? Wait, I'm forgetting everyone waiting in line at my local Starbucks, so never mind. Not only can the app help you make an informed decision without a barista getting impatient, but you can also get points redeemable for free drinks (or a branded cup). More importantly, order ahead so it's ready for you when you get there. Unless you like lines. And waiting. 


You Don't Get Bakery Items Warmed Up

Yes, the croissant or lemon pound cake will taste just fine at room temp, but you can level up by asking the barista to serve it up warm. There's no good reason not to do this, really. 

Frappuccino beverage from Starbucks Coffee

You Don't Tweak Caffeine or Sweetener

So, you've ordered the latest hopelessly complicated Starbucks menu item, but that doesn't mean you have to settle, friend. Maybe it's too sweet, in which case you can knock down the number of pumps of sugary stuff. And maybe it's not going to keep you awake for, I don't know, hours and hours, possibly days? Go ahead, adjust what goes in your drink. Just don't pick dark roast. Surprisingly, a tall Blonde Roast has 270 milligrams of caffeine, while a tall Dark Roast has just 195 milligrams.


Starbucks: Make Your Own Iced Latte
Elena K. / Yelp

You Get a Grande Coffee in a Grande Cup

It makes sense — you get a grande coffee drink, you get a grande coffee container. But if you get a grande drink in a venti cup, you'll have a lot of room to add cream or milk and won't have to ask for "room," which means you get less coffee. 

A Starbucks drive-thru barista
Ronald Martinez/Getty

You Order That Weird Drink You Saw on TikTok

TikTok creators love to make up new, weird Starbucks drinks. Three pumps of this, a shot of that, yada yada yada. If you simply must try it, know exactly what is in it. There is not a secret menu, and your barista has likely not spent hours on social media. They do not know what goes in that bizarre drink named after a wizard or a "Succession" character or a mammal we never learned about in school. Stop it. 

Starbucks Barista
Dan R. Krauss / Getty Images

Forgetting to Tip Your Barista

This falls under basic, common courtesy, but these people are dishing up your ridiculously complicated coffee order for not a lot of pay (the average starting salary for a barista in the U.S. is $12.54, according to Indeed.com). So be nice, for goodness' sake. You're the one spending half of their hourly pay on a stupid coffee.

Make Pour-over Coffee,Pour Hot Water Into Coffee Powder

You've Never Gotten Pour-Over Coffee

Yes, it's a fancy coffee shop thing, and it will take longer, but it does taste better than regular drip coffee and costs less than cold brew. If you have some extra time to spend, give it a shot. It's apparently available at every Starbucks, even though it's never on the menu given the lengthy process of making it. 

Starbucks Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato

You Can Get a Teensy Tiny Drink

If you just want a little coffee jolt, know that you can order an 8 oz. version of anything on the menu — just ask for a short. You'll get a cup that Starbucks usually reserves for kid-sized hot chocolates, and you may feel a little weird with your itsy bitsy drink, but if you don't want or need something bigger, it's good to have options.