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February 18, 2012


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@Toby you said it right there when training new hires. I had to teach a Coco Capp just Sunday because we have customers that order it & the barista didn't know since there is no recipe card. I find it funny that after I started showing partners how to ring up Starbucks Doubleshots by the SKU # according to size & charge the correct price(per the action item that you refer to) within two weeks the SKU's were taken away.
@Martha I started Jan 2007 and the M3 was still on the register, I had such a tongue twisting time with that one when I first began.
When customers ask for trenta anything other than tea or coffee, I simply say the largest size available is a venti. Folks ask for tall smoothies too, just inform them of the size standard, otherwise then next store down the street will have them doing it as well, & so on & so on. I have customers order "tear drops" & "under tows" too. If they know how to make it I oblige, if not I can't make something I don't know how to make. No different than the Key lime frappucinno that someone made up(who needs to taste a true Key Lime) and when they don't explain what is in it, customers get upset when the other stores that don't know what they are talking about.


The sad thing is, if one store has already done it, we will all have to do it or lose customers when we explain why OUR store can't/won't when the other store(s) will.


A customer that is trying to take advantage of something they know is wrong, is not worth fretting over. This Trenta stuff is a bit ridiculous. They policies came out when the cup size was introduced, there should not be any ambiguity, but obviously the policies don't apply to some stores.

Also, did it ever occur to you that the, "The other store does it for me", is a lie, plain and simple? An unscrupulous individual trying to con you into giving them what they want? Con artists. Some steal millions in insurance money, some just want a Trenta Frappuccino.

Faux BSR

I think a simple solution would just be to post the name of this DM, peer review and corporate will do the rest. If they stay and the policy remains as it was set by the DM, then obviously the company is allowing it. So who might this DM be?


@Sheik- Unfortunately, some of our customers (especially regulars, who admittedly get a bit of special treatment- admit it. Every barista does it.) have special drink requests that require 2 cups to make. The idea of 2 grande fraps in a trenta cup...where do you think the grande cup used to build the drink goes? (I'm not commenting on whether this 2-grandes policy is 'allowed' or not, my store doesn't do it, but it doesn't matter to me all that much.) Most baristas already feel bad about the necessary waste that occurs at our stores, we don't need to hear your complaints and judgements about it when it isn't even pertinent to the discussion. If you do your job 100% waste-free, that's fabulous for you. But I'm willing to bet you don't.

Confused as always

Is this a first-world problem?


it's interesting that so many of you make a marble mocha macchiatto when someone orders a black and white mocha. Here we just do half mocha/half white mocha, and it seems pretty standard for this area.

I think the reality is the customers probably can't really tell the difference.

I always cringe when I hear new barista's tell the customer its half white mocha half dark mocha, as if our mocha is dark chocolate.

I wish they would just add a button of the black and white mocha aka the zebra mocha aka every other silly name.

As a side note, the beverage recipe cards do have a card for how to make a flavored cappuccino. It actually says you just make a regular cappuccino with the syrup, but one less pump then you would normally for the cup size.


While we are on strict company policies, I got a question, how many of you now charge for tea's based on the cup size?

That was a odd change that we still have problems with, and I am curious if any of you still charge people for the smaller size if they get a venti tea with only 1 tea bag.



Our mocha IS dark chocolate


I think Starbucks buckles to the customers too much. We have a standard for drinks and that should be that. When you "just say yes" too much you train the customers to to push til they get what they want. I've been with the company for years and in all reality how often do we get those customers that want to push the boundary? I say, let them huff off and go somewhere else with their attitude. Do you think our competitors (DD and MCD) give away large cokes for the price of a tall or 3 donuts for the price of 1 because someone whines? My biggest pet peve are the customers that want a trenta ice coffee or tea with no water or ice but expect it to be filled to the rim therefore getting 2 drinks for the price of 1. I say fill it to the top green line and serve it without ice....just like the recipe. And free ice water the same....why can't we charge for the cup like other retailers...it IS a cost and SB is losing a lot of money from lost inventory and barista labor.

Coffee Soldier

When someone asks me for a ice tea with no ice I put it in the shaker, add the water up to the appropriate line, put in the classic if necessary, shake it up and hand it off half empty. Usually they look at it funny and just take it. One the rare occasion someone asks I say oh I thought you were adding the ice later so I left you room. The shaker that I made your drink in measures the proportion of ice tea that you've paid for which is what you have received.



You said "Do you think our competitors (DD and MCD) give away large cokes for the price of a tall or 3 donuts for the price of 1 because someone whines?"

And that is exactly why we are Starbucks and not McD or DD. We are given some autonomy as baristas. We not only have "just say yes", we also have the freedom to "surprise and delight"

We generally attract applicants who have above average customer service and problem solving skills as well as a dose of common sense. And they make up the majority of our partners.

I only rarely frequent fast food joints but it appears that they either don't attract these applicants or fail to screen them for those traits before hiring.

I know from reading here that many of you deal with nasty customers and not all baristas have the desire or skills to provide good service.

Being able to just say yes or to spring a freebie on someone now and then makes me feel like I have some control. And the vast majority of my customers are repeats and are great.

Maybe the two stores I've worked at have had butterflies and unicorns, but at least I don't feel completely like a robot.


i still wonder why they take drinks off of the menu. it's not like the registers charge rent.


"... it's not like the registers charge rent."

The store and everybody up the supply chain is paying rent so unique ingredients have to pay the piper.


I'm glad I found this site because as a customer I now understand so much. I am one who ask for "light ice" in my drinks because I hate that the ice waters down the drink unless I drink it within 5min or less of buying it (I live in FL), and I usually always order a venti (or trenta if iced coffee). I recently have become "addicted" to the starbucks double shots (I had not idea they exsisted until I asked the bartista what she recommended, that I needed something strong) and order them venti with non fat milk, sweetened, light ice. Twice I have had two different bartistas show me the cup and ask if I wanted more milk since they did light ice, now I understand why they asked and why my cup always has a bit left out at the top. There have been times I have gotten iced green tea lattes and the bartista who made it has taken off some of the foam and given me more "drink" without me asking, more because he "felt bad". I have never understood any of these things until now. Thank you to all you wonderful employees of Starbucks for educating me on how the whole drink process/pricing works. Also, for those saying that they have something on the menu that other stores dont, not every store carries the same thing and Barnes and Nobles locations are considered to be different entites from the regular stand alone and mall locations. I read that somewhere, which helped me understand why I could find certain things at those locations like Godiva chocolates. Anyway, thanks so much.


If a customer ordered two grande frappuccinos, would you turn them away if they told you that they were going to drink both? Who cares what size cup it is in? I am not saying that anyone should dodge company policy, but amused by the self righteous rants about the caloric intake. The customer decides how much they want to consume, and the company creates options for them to consume. Should companies stop making half gallon containers of ice cream because a small percentage of the population deems it to be a single serving?


@BFD really. what unique ingredients go into a cocoa cappucino. how bout a starbucks doubleshot, or a MMM. or keeping the peppermint mocha button year round. I'm not talking about holiday drinks, i'm talking about stuff year round that we always have. if you introduce it once with ingredients we always have, why take it away customers still order, and then we have to do backflip workarounds to make them work.


not only that... but it adds to the "Store down the street does this for me" culture that every barista can't stand.


True enough, stan. Especially doesn't make sense seeing as how so many of the drink screens are half-empty. It'd be the simplest thing in the world to re-add the button for the doubleshot, or the mmm, or so on. Customers still order them everyday, we'll always have those ingredients on hand, what's the damn problem? Why does Starbucks want to have all these pissed off customers getting inconsistency in their drinks and the pricing?

The Applicant

R1, you totally missed my point. Go surprise and delight some customers and give away some drinks. The customers I'm referring to ARE repeats and they know they can get away with getting free stuff if they make a big scene. I don't appreciate those customers and would never go to a business expecting to get free stuff. Unfortunately I guess we all are not as special as you. Signed, The Applicant.


@Tofee_Nut...thank you! Everything I was going to respond with until I saw your note :-)


I don't understand this barista who is afraid of his DM who developed this idea of doing something opposite to the company's policy (frapps in trenta cups, etc.). Just report him anonymously to your regional manager, head office or Business Ethics and Compliance and they will straighten things out.

Dr. Bananannas

I am a customer of Starbucks and I think that those of you who don't fill the cup up are a**holes. Let me tell you why: when I order a certain sized drink, I want to drink that much. If I say no ice then I still want it full unless I say otherwise. It is YOUR JOB to ring it up for whatever it costs. I'm not some n****r who can't afford a god damn drink. If I got a Trenta iced coffee with light ice that was only half full I would probably throw it on the ground as hard as I could and walk out after making a big scene. I've never ordered a Trenta before, and I have never been given a partial beverage on anything I ordered, but if I ever do there will be hell to pay if it is not taken care of.


holy aggressive and inappropriate reaction to your first world problem.

you need to relax...and contemplate incorporating decaf into your menu.


We just got the Trentas at my store about two days ago. So far we haven't had any problems with people wanting frappuccinos or anything. We have barely sold any to begins with because of the Tribute launch. Everything else had fallen to the wayside..

Dr. Bananannas

I don't think that it would be an 'inappropriate reaction' if some barista thought that they were so smart to only fill up the cup half way. I don't care if you have to charge for two Grandes and double the recipe to give me a Trenta frap, just sell me what I asked for. You SB employees need to leave the decision making up to the customer; they say what they want, you say the price, they say okay or nokay. If they don't want ice, tell them it will cost Venti+short or Venti+tall to fill a Venti cup and explain why, etc. And leave the option of non-full cup up to them instead of deciding yourself.

For those of you 'don't have a recipe' whiners I'm calling you out. If you don't know how proportions work (elementary school algebra) then you are not qualified for a job that includes numbers. You can even just add Grande+Grande to get 32oz.

My understanding is that Starbucks uses Blendtec blenders. The standard Blendtec container has fill lines up to 32oz and they make compatible containers that hold even more.

There is no reason that you could not make a Trenta Frapachino unless you are just too lazy.

Dr. Bananannas

I forgot to mention this in my previous posts: the only filling the cup up half way thing is silly anyway because coffee and milk are so cheap (especially in the qty SB buys in). It's like napkins. Once your customer has paid (mostly for the service and the building) there is really no reason to deny them four oz of coffee/milk to fill their cup to the top instead of ice. The cost difference to Starbucks is literally a single digit (or very low double digits) of cents.

A Non eMoose

"There is no reason that you could not make a Trenta Frapachino unless you are just too lazy."

The reason is called the company says no, and I hope you come in my store and have one of your adorable little "BUT I WANT IIIIT" tantrums so I can see the look on your face when you get tossed out.

Dr. Bananannas

I'd just ask for two Grandes and an empty Trenta cup in that case. If you made up an excuse to refuse selling me those I would be sure to make a big mess for you to clean up and fill out a very nasty comment card. It is mostly those who would fill a cup half way full that upset me the most.


You people who say you can just say yes and charge them extra frapp roast and such are missing the point. The primary reason we don't do frapps in a trenta cup is because you cannot account for the inventory and there are NO accurate lines on the cup to measure out the parts. We cannot accurately make the drink every time, thus we cannot make that drink.


@Dr. Bananannas

Starbucks actually stopped using Blendtecs a while back. I'm not even entirely sure we're even supposed to blend a trenta's worth of frappucino.

Also, to all the baristas: There's a reason why we make drinks to standard. That's so we are consistent company wide and so we don't have to deal with people saying "they do it at the other store". That said, you can make light ice, no water, so on and so forth drinks because they are standard modifiers. So don't be a dick on that stuff.



technically there is no official recipe for drinks such as the 'starbucks double shot', 'black and white mocha', etc.

Actually, there is. These were promotional drinks that all the ingredients are still in the store, they just don't appear on the menu board any longer or have a register key. There is also the Mocha Machiatto... which subs vanilla for white mocha, and caramel drizz for chocolate drizz.

The double shot is basically espresso over ice with classic syrup (1 less pump than the size would normall get with 2, 3, or 4 espresso shots) and the milk gets poured ontop with shot glasses to give it a layered look... which was always silly, because everyone just shakes them up anyway.

Black and white mocha used to be on the menu as a tuxedo, and was a featured beverage during a chocolate decadence promo eons ago, but how hard is it to do half and half on the mocha syrups? And that just got choc drizz on top.

Now something like a Mocha Valencia... yes, you can't make that anymore (though there is a recipie) or the Mocha Spice, as the cinnamon and valencia syrups are bye byes.

The sad thing is, if you weren't lazy, you could probably find the recipes in your beverage resource manual unless your store is relatively new. Even then, some of those may still appear.

Besides, the menu board was only meant to be a guide. The idea was always to encourage beverage customization for customers to make their own drink. There are still make it your drink guides stores can order to hand out.

Once upon a time, we actually didn't have menu boards. We had a big ass chalk board... once upon a time, there were no boxes on the cups.

Logo forward was a latte. Logo turned to the left: a cap. Logo turned to the right a mocha, so on and so on. If someone knocked your cups over, you were screwed.
But that was before starbucks became mcdonalds as well.

Brent Emery Pieczynski

Death by Obesity is one answer to World Population control because most people think only of the short-term. To promote obesity place the dessert-type foods and drinks in the wealthy areas then have people that work extra hard to become fattened up can enhance the death rates. Big agriculture will need to have subsidies for growing corn for corn-based sweeteners removed so the body count can rise.




Wow. I found this thread on Google after my baristas refused to make a trenta caramel macchiato for me. (Non-fat and no whip cream, by the way.)

 It is completely offensive to me as a customer and a human to be dictated to in terms of how much I should consume. I am 6'6" and far from obese. The Venti looks like a Grande when I hold it and given my gym schedual, dietary choices and stature, I can more than afford the calories. But that shouldn't matter. I'm the customer. 

I've enjoyed & usually agreed with some of the controversial but ultimately forward thinking policies of Starbucks in the past (re jobs, second amendment, etc) and I've been an embarrassingly close to daily customer for at least five years. This is a disappointing mis-step. I'm not normally the type of person to find an issue like this significant enough to even be offended by but being treated like I am incapable of making my own diatary choices? I don't need coffee that bad. 

So if the goal is to get your customers to limit their intake of your product, you won in a big way with me.


I am a seven year partner in the Columbus Ohio area.We do not,repeat do not ever make trentas for anything other than, IC or teas.. ever..very strict policy in our area..thats how it was launched and is pretty much set in stone

A Simon

I have a big complaint about Starbucks and their precious "Trenta" cup. I try to eat and drink healthy but I still like iced coffee. I am a manger of a diet center and we have had over 800 dieters and many of us like to do this. We take 3 shots of espresso and put a protein drink in it with lots of ice, my complaint is: my whole protein drink will not fit in the venti cup therefore it is most convenient for me to have the trenta cup. Almost all of the Starbucks I have gone to will NOT let me purchase my coffee this way in a trenta cup. They said per corporate they can not put anything in the Trenta cup except iced coffee or tea. I am not trying to get this cup for free, I have offered to pay the iced coffee price $3.50 or iced tea price or better yet I have even offered to pay extra for the cup but they will absolutely not do it and tell me they can get fired for it, REALLY???? I'm not trying to get it for free, I just need the bigger cup. Today Starbucks was the only coffee stand in the town (btw almost all small coffee stands will do it for me if they have the size cup) I am in so I thought I would get shots of coffee for my protein drink, again this hassle and guess what, the person behind me walked up to the counter and asked for a water. She put it in the grande cup and gave it to him for free, what the heck is going on with you Starbucks! You have a paying customer that is very willing to pay yet you will give a smaller cup away for free?? Please change these rules and let anyone purchase the bigger cup in the future, where is the customer service? Thank you


Well I just drank a 31oz Java Chip one. Was fantastic. Im probably not going to sleep though.

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