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September 24, 2011


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lol @ cake batter frappuccino. We haven't had almond in years.

Jeff Tom

Stupid and worthless post. These are NOT "secret" drinks. They are NOT part of the standard SB menu. These are items some baristas and customers have created that can be made with most of the available whatnots at SB. But the author's attempt to show that baristas are clueless because they are unaware of non-standard drinks is not worthy of posting here.


i second what jeff and tom said


Attention starbucks customers: If you go into a Starbucks and order these drinks* be prepared to be met with blank stares and/or attitude.

If you really want to try one of them, remember how it says to make them on that site, and go in and order them completely. DO NOT go in and order a Crunchberry Frappuccino. Order a Strawberries and Cream with a pump of toffee nut (not hazelnut. Yes, I've tried it, toffee nut is the right way, and yes, I've heard it called a crunchberry, and will still pretend you're on crack if you order it from me by that name, because baristas should not be expected to know what a Crunchberry Frappuccino is until its on the menu as such).

*It IS ok to order a short, as long as it's a hot drink (there's not iced short size). Ordering a French Press is legit too, though time consuming, so your barista might have to hold back their annoyance. Affogatto USED to be on the menu, a long time ago, so if you're lucky, your barista will know what you mean, but you're better off just saying exactly what you want. Some of those other drinks also are common enough that your barista might know what you mean, but there are often regional or other differences, so again, you're best off just saying what you want.


I second that Jeff Tom!


I got attitude when I wanted an extra slice of lime in the Cool Lime Refresher, so these requests must REALLY set the barstas off.


CJ2, I'm sorry that you got attitude with your Lime Refresher. At my store, baristas don't have attitude but the exclusive clientele does. Yet, I can honestly say that I've never seen a barista look annoyed.


@cj2 you shouldn't have gotten that... but when did you ask? at the register where the person is writing the cup, or after the drink was made? the time is when that easy stuff starts annoying. when we ask customers what they would like... we mean everything. you don't go to anyplace else and get asked "what can we help you with?" and you order, and when it's made you ask for nonfat, extra this, extra that. we don't have refreshers...i don't know how to make that, but maybe theres an extra charge for another lime, and you didn't pay for it... maybe the drink was finished and now that barista had to remake it... i don't know the subtleties of how and what you ordered, or when it was placed, and i'm not judging you.


Ah. Now I know why those teenagers came in asking for the Cake Frappuccino today.


Another obscure drink customers at our store ask for is an UNDERTOW...The customer looked at me in bewilderment after I had told her I had no clue what that was...It definitely isnt on any starbucks menu board...Take a short cup...add an ounce of half and half...add whatever flavor syrup you want...then with a spoon in hand let the shots pour down the spoon slanted-wise into the cup...then chug it...


What about the Pizza Latte? Marinara flavored syrup, steamed, melted cream cheese, bread crumb sprinkles, espresso, chili flakes... Voila!

Starbucks Gossip webmaster

First-graders protest the arrival of Starbucks on NYC's First Avenue. Read it here.


The first time a customer ordered an undertow from me I had no idea what she was talking about and I had a line to the door. She, of course, looked at me like she was at a cafe in Italy and how dare I not know what an undertow is(stupid American barista), but when you're a fairly new partner and you've only been trained how to make beverages that are presently on the menu, the pretentious stares from elitest customers gets pretty annoying. That said, now I know what they are, how to make them, and I can honestly say they're delicious and the perfect way to shoot some caffeine into yo when you're in a rush or don't want all the extra milk, sugar, and calories of a bigger drink.

And on the subject of "secret menu items", at my store we don't glare at customers who come in and order drinks not on the menu. I actually suggest some to customers if it's slow. The "crunchberry" is delicious, and I don't care how they order it, as long as they get their point across and I know what they want. Customers coming in and ordering drinks by names that aren't on the menu is small potatoes when you take all the other things ill-mannered customers throw our way all day. Choose your battles, fellow baristas.


I like drinking coffee in small towns. Mom and pop cafes. Old-fashioned ceramic mugs. Cream and sugar.

I hope all big cities shut down someday, and the people all have to leave them and crawl out to the countryside.

Then they can sit beside me on the stool at the small-town lunch counter and have a simple American coffee out of one of those mugs.

I'll buy.


Things, my dear EM, are much more complicated than "a simple American coffee." What is "American coffee"? Where does it come from? How did it get from the bush (or tree) to your cup? ;)

In other open thread goodness, I must ask everyone... has anyone else had guatemala de flor through a clover? I had one today, and it was uh-mazing.

William M

Strawberry frap! is my personal fav!!


Stan brings up an interesting point. No one would order a pizza and then when it arrives say "can I get some pepperoni on that?" but why do they think it's totally fine for them to wait until I'm done with their latte to ask if I can make it nonfat?


I live in a smaller town with only a couple of Starbucks. Not sure if this is an issue anywhere else, but, I get very frustrated when customers just grab the first drink off the hand off plane. Even if they ordered an extra-hot mocha, but grab the strawberry creme frappuccino, take a sip, and then ask why it you didn't make their beverage right. Now, I have to re-make the STCF again, and now the line of customers has to wait even longer. UGH!


@managermatt I had a customer order a tall passion tea and then take another customer's venti iced green tea refill without a lid but with a name on it and drank half before she came back to say it didn't taste right. She blamed us for letting her take someone else's cup in the first place. No wonder the aliens never visit, they know humans are too dumb to be worthy.


Anyone talking about the price increase coming on Oct. 4. Another one. Again.


Haven't heard of another price increase, what items is it for?


Tall drip and tall espresso based beverages are the first ones.Then a few weeks later the prices.


We had a lady tell us our store sucked because we didn't know how to make a "Crunchberry Frappuccino." And she told me personally to my face that I didn't know what I was doing and wasn't doing my job.

I really wish baristas wouldn't suggest weird drinks and name them and tell customers about them. Because then those people come back for another visit, order that "weird drink" and get huffy when we don't know how to make it. We have people order "Caramel Macchiato Frappuccinos" at my store. There is no such thing! Don't order it like that, either. Order a vanilla bean frappuccino with caramel drizzle and a shot affogato style. And yes, I will charge for all those modifiers.

Jeff Tom

That is disappointing re: the price increases. Inflation is not going up that much.

I have been spending less at Starbucks lately, mostly due to my switching to purchasing whole beans from local roasters here in Seattle. But the unfortunate side effect of Starbucks raising prices is that other, local coffee places also take advantage and rasing their prices as well.


You do realize that if everyone left the big cities and came to your small town you would no longer live in a small town because the population increase would make your small town a bigger town if not a city?

Your comment makes no sense.


@toolong is that nation wide or region specific?


We expedite the lines so the drinks are being made as the customer is waiting to pay. Their order is a Venti, breve, triple shot latte. What do they say once they reach the register? I ordered a large coffee or a large latte. NO YOU DIDN'T. You must pay for the items you added to the large latte. YOU DID NOT ORDER A LARGE COFFEE.

Please refrain from berating the barista ringing up your sale. You DO have to pay for what your order. Nor can you order a latte and return for a refill of coffee. Refills are for hot or iced coffee or hot or iced tea. Not for whatever you want. Oh, and PLEASE stop bringing in dirty cups from the coffee you purchased 3 days or 3 WEEKS (true story the man had been on vacation). Also my store opens 6am please do not come in at 6:05am for a refill. You have not yet purchased anything from me. How do you think you are entitled to a refill? Lastly you cannot buy a coffee and purchase an refill at the same time to take with you. That is not a refill. That is a purchase of two coffees.


There is a menu board with the drinks listed. The drinks you mentioned do not exist. They are the drinks listed on the menu board with modifiers. The barista(s) you ordered from do actually know their jobs. You may call the drinks whatever you like (and no I do not insist you learn Starbucks terms. That is what I am paid for not you.) I cannot make your order to your taste if you do not tell me what you want.

The ignorance portrayed is your own. It makes a great read on your blog. However, for the person taking your order you are merely pretentious and annoying. Someone is taking your order why would you play games and make it difficult for you, the worker and anyone waiting in line after you?



My apologies. My response should have been direct @EM the post directly beneath yours.

@EM not meant to be a mean comment. Yours just doesn't make sense to me.

Black Apron Boy

I'm so confused. I have worked with the company for 5 years all over the country, East and West coast. I still to this day do not have customers yell at me, treat me like I'm ignorant, or get frustrated with me. It is all about how you OWN the situation. If I get a customer that orders some crazy beverage that I don't know how to make. I take the opportunity to talk to the customer, find out exactly what they are looking for, and attempt. The other day, I had a customer come in and ask for a banana nut creme frappucino. I know that's not a pretty standard "CRAZY" drink, so I made one. I asked her what kind of flavor she wanted, thought about it, and told her I'd try. If she liked it awesome, if not I told her I'd make something else. With the right attitude, you'll leave with a happy customer either way.

And for all those who think that this can't be done for their store cause it's too busy or some other BS excuse. I've worked in corporate, DT's that make easily make over a million yearly, mall stores, and cafe lobby only stores. Learn to take pride in what you do and do what you get paid for. We are in the people business making coffee, not the coffee business making customers


@streakn_it: I believe it's nationwide with mid-america leading the increase wave on 10/4. It's going to happen in "waves" across the country.

TV James

What about drinks that used to be on the menu? Like the Marble Mocha Macchiato? (sp) What's the correct way to order that?

I used to drink it all the time in California but ordered it less here in Seattle because I was starting to count calories. But the last time I ordered it up here, the cashier wasn't quite sure but thought it was (insert what they said here, I wish I remembered) and suggested that and I said "Sounds good."

The barista (who hadn't heard our conversation) then looked at the cup and said "We used to have a drink called the Marble Mocha Macchiato" that was just like this.

I am truly sorry if I've ever come across as pretentious. I love you guys and the wonderful grande extra-hot non-fat happiness in a cup you make for me on a regular basis.


@ Michelle, that comment wasn't mine. Your comment makes no sense.


@ Black Apron Boy,

Although I agree with you about helping customers out when they order crazy drinks, I have to very sternly disagree with "We are in the people business making coffee, not the coffee business making customers". I know that's been branded by Starbucks, but if this were true, why would VIA be shoved down our troats as much as it is? It's disgusting. Especially the flavored VIA. The cinnamon VIA tastes like cough syrup. The iced caramel VIA is awful. But we're still supposed to upsell it to our customers. I refuse. Our customers already pay out the ass, the last thing I'm going to do is bother them by bombarding them with disgusting VIA. THAT'S how I maintain my relationships with my customers. Not by trying to upsell them disgusting products to make Sbux more money. And let me tell you, they appreciate my efforts. People business? Sure. Maybe we baristas. But definitely not management, and definitely not corporate.


How many Starbucks Double Shot drinkers are out there explaining to the newbies how to make it as well as how to ring it? It's not a beverage per se, but then I'm sure the Marble Mocha Macchiato recipe card doesn't exist either. If there is not someone that has been around for five years or more, then it's up to the consumer to know what it is they are drinking. I do not know what a "Butter Beer" is and will not feel bad about not knowing. Really no different than when people leave when I tell them I can't serve them a toasted marshmallow hot chocolate. Salted Caramel, peppermint white hot chocolates for sure but I don't have the ingredients for the other.


@Michele - you actually can have a latte and then have a drip coffee refill. The BRM states that you can get a refill of a drip/iced coffee or hot/iced tea regardless of the original drink. And I'm pretty sure that when the however you want it frappuccinos first launched, one of the suggestions to make to customers to get them to try the new frappuccinos was to suggest the CM version of a frappuccino as you stated which would explain why some.people may try to order it...


Barista, there IS a recipe for a caramel macchiato frappuccino. The recipe was part of the spring '10 launch of the new frappuccinos. It's a caramel affogato style VBF. I hope you weren't a jerk about it.

Black Apron Boy

@ Stephanie- I agree with you. I have disagreed with some of the garbage that corporate has sent down and I actively sell/ sample what I would buy myself. I understand that as business climate changes so do businesses. I do a lot of coffee/ tea/ product tastings and how i think of it is really quite simple. I want people to come into my stores and feel like I tailored their experience for them. I talk to them like real humans with stories of their own. When someone orders an iced chai, I ask them if they're down for trying something new. I recommend my favorite drink, a pumpkin chai. When one orders, a CM I automatically ask them if they want that mixed. I tell them that's how I drink them. Makes people feel like I actually care about their drinks and them actually being there. I recommend products to them that I feel will make their day nicer/ easier/ more relaxed/ WHATEVER!!!!!

I once worked at a Bank of America.... I like that everyone received a pay check and in big BOLD LETTERS said,"


put everything into perspective.


In the Uk, there is a bit more of the local feel to some of the Starbucks. Trying to get into the whole DIY starbucks side of thing.


The Guatemala is ok, but the Honduras Premier is sensational!

secret admirer

black Apron Boy is my hero!


@Black Apron Boy
Apologies, but I do not believe for a second that you've worked for the company as long as you say you have and been able to please every last problem customer.


I am a barista with Starbucks and this is my opinion, not the opinion of the company (happy now PR?) I originally loved the idea of a secret menu for Starbucks, but then I worked longer than a few weeks. If people name their drink whatever they like and do not know how to order it, or closely explain it, no other store will be guaranteed to make it and people get upset. Not to mention a lot of popular "secret" drinks have various versions (cookies and creme frap for example). If one of my regulars come in and create a drink, we still let them know how to order it at other stores. Yes personalizing their experience is very important, but ensuring that they can get what they want at any store is just as important. And in all due respect, this whole "lets stump the mean baristas" thing going in some social networking sites on needs to stop. I am an hourly waged human being working in the service industry. I did not wake up to be an elitist snob, i woke up to pay my bills.


Has anyone made a banana creme yet? It's delicious, venti is whole milk to first line. 2 scoops vanilla bean powder , whole banana, 4 pumps creme base and ice, blend add whip..delicious


Anyone know if Caramel Brulee is coming back this year?

Black Apron Boy

Yes, CBL are coming back, but you can make it anytime. for a venti...... 4 WM, .5 haz, .5 toffee, and CR drizzle mixed. Go for a little burnt smell.

To Punkisnotdead...... I can't say that I've never had to deal with angry people, but I sure try my hardest to do what i can. I own my workmanship, We have a just say yes policy for a reason. HAha

To Secret Admirer..... I try my best!

Mark Perkins

If these drinks were uniform, that would be one thing... but half of them are never ordered, and half of them have different names (undertow=hotcold, avalanche). We're trained to repeat back drinks to standard, so if someone orders a Capn Crunch, we say, "Sure, anything else?... okay, so I've got a tall toffee nut strawberries and cream...". We're not supposed to encourage confusion by using non-standard names (though of course we make them when ordered).

On that point, I'm pretty surprised that long time partner (Black Apron Boy) would be asking questions like "do you want that mixed?" Aside from the fact that a stirred CM is definitionally not a macchiato, you'r more or less misleading the customer by asking them up front if they want NOT the drink they ordered. Of course we usually ask "hot or cold?" because that's become a lost battle, but I'm not looking forward to the day when I get scolded for "forgetting" to ask if they wanted their CM mixed.

Also, I was told it was a "just say yes philosophy," not a policy. For instance, we have a customer who regularly comes back to say we "forgot" a pastry--to the point where I print our her receipt now and check off the pastries as I hand them out... do you just say yes? Even though she's basically walking in, lifting the pastry case, and snatching a donut? We have another customer--a really kind, though loud, woman with Asperger's who regularly asks partners to buy her drinks personally... (she says she has no money, but she always comes up with it if you say no...) Do you just say yes?


You "just say yes" to reasonable requests, not to abet stealing.


i've been with the company for about 6 months and as long as a customer can clearly explain what they'd like in their drink or how they want it made i have no problems doing it. i recently heard of the crunchberry though i won't be trying it, i'm not a fan of strawberries. i have experimented with making my own drink based loosely on some things people order when they come through our drive thru. i actually got a customer recently to switch their regular drink to my creation and had me write it down for them. it's a double chocolate chip frappachino with 3 pumps cinnamon dolce, 1 pump toffee nut **in a tall, i'd adjust it slightly for bigger size** and i personally get it nonfat no whip. it tastes like teddy grahms and isn't as sweet as it sounds like it should be, i suggest trying it out haha

Mandy  Boski

6 out of 6 starbucks stores in the Portland Oregon metro area, had no idea how to make these "SECRET" drinks.Very poor service.

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