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May 18, 2012


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Iced caramel machiato is supposed to have shots on top and not mixed but any other flavored latte should be mixed when the shots and syrup are put together before pouring milk into the cup. It should be syrup-shots-pour milk-add ice.


Just like baristabot147 said it's not mixed. A Caramel Macchiato is a layered drink, and it's not supposed to be mixed, if you would like it mixed ask for it upside down (or stirred if they don't know what that means) and it will be stirred for you.
As for an iced latte it should already be mixed if they did the order correctly.


Hey Lisa, I work in a busy store, most stores with the labor systems we currently employ are busy. I would say that the preferred method would be to stir the cup as you grab it, I am not trying to be a jerk, I know what you are talking about and I take my cup when ordered and shake it a little myself, its very easy. We deal with thousands of customizations already and adding onto that is just one more thing that challenges us in our roles, especially when it is so easy for the customer to stir it.


if you would like it stirred, just request it when you place your order... its NOT standard to stir. however, anything you would like done to better your drink, just ask. it shouldnt be a problem.


I'll second everyone's comments above.
A standard macchiato is made by pouring the shots of espresso through the milk.
In an iced carmel macchiato the shots are poured into the drink after the syrup, milk and ice are in the cup. The drink is to be served with the shots poured on top covered in a crosshatch of carmel drizzle.

Confused as always

What happened to WEEKEND OPEN THREADS?


"covered in a crosshatch of carmel drizzle."....yum!


Or Eric like I said ordering it upside down isn't a problem, even in a busy store. It's going to stir itself that way, and it keeps the customer happy.
Yes the customer can do it themselves, but you have to remember. We're paid to make their drink, and the least we can do is make it custom just for them.


It seems that Lisa does not understand what she is ordering when she is ordering a caramel macchiato. Have her order an iced caramel latte with drizzle.


in an iced caramel macchiato, the caramel sauce freezes immediately so it would be impossible to stir. but, that's part of the appeal because you can "eat" the frozen caramel.


At the risk of giving the same answer 15 times, I'll offer a different solution. If a customer would prefer a drink to made a certain way, just ask. Busy store or not, if a customer wants 2 splendas in their drink, they need only ask. If they want their CM stirred, then ask for it. Yes, we have standards for our drink preparation, but (reasonable) customer requests trump recipes.


Has anyone had a chance to try the new VIA refreshers? I was told they would be coming to our stores this summer (maybe phase 2?). I am very interested to know how it compares to the canned drink. Also, how do the freshly made ones compare?


Hi all, some customer perspective.

First, I think a lot of these barista responses above are informative and clearly put the customer and customer service first.

But eric, I think this part of your response was a bit off-putting: "We deal with thousands of customizations already and adding onto that is just one more thing that challenges us in our roles, especially when it is so easy for the customer to stir it."

Every person who works, inside or outside the home, does a lot of things to better serve customers or colleagues/bosses--everybody at work is busy, or probably should be!

I support a brilliant collegiate faculty...who sometimes can't be bothered to copy/paste *their own bio* from a webpage into a Word document. And yes, I'm tremendously busy. But I'm there to support them, and I do that without complaint every day, every time.

The customer is not there to help you/make your job easier. They absolutely should be pleasant, reasonably patient, please and thank you, get off the phone, look you in the eye and say hello, etc., but they are *not* there to help you make the drink. That's YOUR job.

Macchiatos, fine, obviously not meant to be stirred, and now that Lisa's question has been answered, her expectations have been set.

But an iced latte? YES! If standard is to stir, then stir, and don't expect the customer to do it for you!

Thanks to all the informative, hard-working, dedicated baristas out there. You make people's day a bit brighter!


we do not stir any drinks... we swirl heavy sauce drinks and i don't know the term used for iced green tea lattes but we kinda "twirl" them when the lid is put on...
order your drinks however you want them! if its not done right just nicely say so and if the barista is a good barista they will have no problem fixing it! and if the person does well then its just their fault and need to get over themselves... busy store or not we have repeatable routine to help us keep the drinks flowing so customizations are NO problem!


No drinks are stirred unless requested by the customer. Period.

Starbucksgossip Webmaster


Feel free to discuss anything else Starbucks-related beyond the stirring inquiry.


Some baristas say it is standard to stir/mix flavored lattes...some say no stirring is standard, ever...some say customers should mix so as not to bother busy baristas...others say it is the least you can do to accommodate a customer...

Inconsistency, thy name is Starbucks!

Lucky for Starbucks, I love me those holiday drinks...


It must be tough to go through life trying to be confused on purpose, Em. It's not standard to "stir" drinks as the default. If the customer asks for it then they'll get it. Nothing inconsistent about it.


Working at a B&N cafe we don't have to follow all Starbucks rules stringently, so for the most part, we stir drinks. If it's a syrup, no, since it sort of mixes itself. But sauces? Heck yes! Nothing is grosser (to me) than having your last bit of latte be saucey sludge. :/


Wow, frapatte, do you actually *read the comments* before insulting Em, a customer/reader?

AT LEAST TWO BARISTAS on this thread said it WAS standard to stir an iced latte:

"As for an iced latte it should already be mixed if they did the order correctly." -- Tabitha

"...any other flavored latte should be mixed when the shots and syrup are put together before pouring milk into the cup." --baristabot

And of course others, like you, say it isn't standard to do so.

So it IS inconsistent. It IS contradictory. There DOESN'T appear to be an agreed-upon standard.

So get over yourself and next time, READ before you INSULT.


parnell- both comments you quote say nothing about stirring. THERE IS NO STANDARD STIRRING. The drinks are "mixed" because the shots hit the syrup and it melts together.


Baristas should stir flavored lattes. A lot of them do without asking! When they don't it sucks...who wants a cup of milk with some stuff at the bottom? Who wants to have to go over to condiment stand and stir? This one just seems like a quality no-brainier...


the problem is people just don't realize or care what they are doing.. drinks are not suppose to be stirred, and if made correctly you won't have syrup at the bottom of your drink... whenever a barista asks me a drink question we will look up the answer together, usually that can't happen on the spot so i'll give the answer and then before the shift ends i'll show them where the answer is so they can look up things and learn for themselves.. its not that hard, its called recipe cards! (of course this doesn't go for caramel macchiatos as macchiato can mean "marked" so we mark the milk with espresso and it sits on top)


Hahaha look at Parnell flip out. Unofficial Starbucks gossip websites are serious business, y'all! Too bad someone already pointed out to you gave some pretty weak support for your righteous indignation. Better luck next time, champ.


Ugh frapette, don't be such a sourpuss, it's unbecoming.


Calm down, frapatte! It seems you're the one getting a bit worked up.

duh, however, makes some good points.


Oh jeez, more serious business! I better be careful, lest some anonymous internet strangers think less of me.


You guys are all stupid. Every last one of you. Including Lisa. No stirring. A good barista doesn't need a stir stick.


Beverage Resource Manual!! End of conversation. You do NOT stir anything. You swirl the espresso into a sauce-type beverage other than that..yup, syrup, shots, milk and ice. I would be seriously disappointed if I saw one of my partners using a stir stick in the bar area.

Mr. Awesome

Bunch of Nerds!

Confused as always

Remember the Green Tea Latte spoons? Before they retrofitted the dipping wells?


The flavored syrups mix together with the hot espresso that is put directly on top. The sauces (mocha, white mocha, skinny mocha, caramel sauce etc) do not get completely melted by the espresso, so at my store we do the Starbucks swirl with the cup - not an actual stir - which helps the espresso melt the sauce.

Order your drink exactly how you want it - but please do so at the register so it can be made correctly the first time. Baristas know how to make drinks, not read minds. :)


Wow, Dub, did you just insult a customer for politely asking a question?

Frapatte, if working at a fast food place makes you so angry, maybe you should move on!


Hey guys, I'm a partner out in Phoenix moving to Chicago. Any Chicago baristas have any tips on what stores I should try and transfer into or to avoid? Does chitown's best/angriest barista still post on here?


I haven't checked out this site in a long time. Is Boston Starbucks Rebel still posting?


Unfortunately, it seems most of the baristas on here don't know the difference between a sauce and a syrup, and therefore, referencing the recipe cards for correct build standards would be useless.


Wow this got a little too serious! On a lighter note ManagerMatt, the refreshers arfe awesome! We only have one flavor at my store but most gas stations carry all three flavors. They are kinda expensive so getting them at starbucks is a plus because we can use our discount. All of them are delicious my favorite it rasberry pomegranate! & no stirring is not the Starbucks standard however, any barista who really cares mixes the heavy sauces with the espresso to melt it down! :)


At my store we don't have those longer spoons (can't remember what they're called) specifically because they don't want us stirring drinks. The other spoons are too big to stir effectively, so at my store it IS a slightly obnoxious request to ask for a drink stirred. And, like someone else pointed out, if you're doing it right it shouldn't need to be stirred anyway.

Professor Dumdum

Anyone remember the scene in Steve Martin's THE JERK where they order escargot then complain to the waiter that there are snails on their plates?

This just proves that "the customer is always right" is a fairy tale alongside the Easter Bunny and Xenu.

Learn what you're ordering or No Soup For You.

Tiffany George

If you are ordering a carm mach get it upside down...other wise stir is yourself..if not sometimes they will just shake the cup and it goes everywhere


At my store we're not supposed to stir drinks and no longer have the stirring spoons because a customer complained about how it wasn't ecofriendly to have the small sink of running water we kept them in. So without the sink, to stir with the metal spoon requires they be sanitized after each drink (A minimum 2 minute process... Plus drying). If someone request a stirred drink now we have to get a wodden stir stick and just throw it away after. Usually we just give our drinks the "Starbucks Swirl" and swirl the shots and syrup together real good before pouring milk.


EEEK. Ron what are you doing...DRYING something after it has been sanitized? BIG NO NO! I am not a starbucks person but, know the food code.
AIR DRY is the only acceptable drying method for commercial washing!


Mcnulty, stay away from Loop stores. Tip rates suck, and the customers are the worst. Neighborhood stores are where its at. Try ravenswood, andersonville, or Lakeview.


the standard is to swirl sauces into ICED drinks. NOT syrups, they get mixed in when the milk is poured. sauces like mocha, wm, ps, and cb are to be swirled for the iced version.

hot drinks with sauces in them, by standard, are not to be stirred, because the theory is that the hot milk mixes it up.


@managermatt-tried the via refresher yesterday, and I enjoyed it. Nice flavor...not a big fan of the hibiscus though.


As a barista, it is very annoying to be told every once in a while that a drink was made incorrectly when a customer orders an iced caramel macchiato..., considering macchiato literally means "shots on top". Not stirred. I am not trying to insult the original poster of this topic who was not being rude at all, I am talking about customers coming into my own store and being rude to us about it when in fact they had no clue what they were ordering and were the ones in the wrong.


Whoever said order an Ice Caramel latte with drizzle was wrong, the standard it to not stir. That customer should ask for an Iced venti 5 pump vanilla latte with drizzle, not an iced carmel latte with drizzle, there is no carmel syrup in a carmel macchiato . We want out customers to be happy, thats what we are there for. If baristas find this extra step more demanding, find another job..


Id like to chime in, I have been with Starbucks for some time now. When I first started we swirled, had stainless steel stir stick in a water flowing inlet. I work at one of the biggest tourist towns in America. If I didn't have a stir stick that I cleaned every two hrs because of running water, id go crazy.
The items behind the bar, tools, are there to make you job, as a barista easier. I think if we had the same tools customers use it would be incredably hard to personalize every drink. Talk to your managers, learning coach, the Starbucks swirl is a be a big one.
On a personal note I do not agree with the hot shots in the iced cups. Just like water bottles melt with heat so do cups. I was actually was told, when training for managerment, our cups are bio-degradable! (Not true if I put a Starbucks cup in my garden it will not become dirt) I always order my iced drink milk second before shots then stirred.
There are other points very valid and I did read all the comments but the point is, yes if you have time in an afternoon when a Starbucks isn't so busy ask how it is prepared then ask for samples its that easy it will probably not even take 15 mins but learn how its prepared then choice what you would like. I've even given those little tabs for personal cups to customers, so they don't have to remember what they get if they are new to ordering. I say to them keep this in your wallet/purse then all you have to do is hand it to the barista and say, this is what is like. It's really easy if you have a local store and a favorite morning team they will learn your drink quick and after a while they will match your drink to your face. Good luck and bring on the holiday trio!


"Macchiato" means to mark. thats the reasonn why we put espresso on top.

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