You know that feeling when you enter Starbucks and you see people ordering coffee like a pro saying words that you don’t understand? Yeah, I feel you girl. One of the reasons why I was perfectly okay getting coffee from a gas station – so that I don’t have to sweat myself ordering a damn coffee. To give you a quick recap, I wasn’t into coffee or coffee shops growing up.
My Desi middle-class upbringing made sure to make me believe that paying 70 rupees for a coffee is a waste of money or luxury. And by the time I was ready to move to the US, Starbucks had just launched in India. I was making good money and stuff so I was like sure let’s give this hype a shot. It was cool though because the baristas would help you decide what kinda coffee you want and it was a fairly easy process.
But things looked a lot intimidating here in the US. And I have no shame in admitting that I hardly stepped into Starbucks to get coffee because of this stupid block in my head that I’ll make a fool outta myself.
Let’s start with how to speak Starbucks.
Short – Extra small cup for hot drinks only One shot of espresso; two pumps of syrup.
Tall – Small cup One shot of espresso; three pumps of syrup.
Grande – Medium cup Two shots of espresso; four pumps of syrup.
Venti – Large cup Two shots of espresso; five pumps of syrup (hot) Three shots of espresso; six pumps of syrup (cold)
Trenta– Extra-large cup for cold drinks only
*Can be iced or hot Cafè Latte = 20% Espresso, 60% Steamed Milk, 20% Milk Foam on top
Mocha = Chocolate flavored
Macchiato = 50% Espresso, 50% Foamed Milk
Frappuccino = line of iced, blended coffee drinks.
coffee or crème base, blended with ice and other various ingredients, topped with whipped cream and sauces *hot only
Cappuccino = Foamy Milk and espresso
Americano =Hot Water, 1 shot of Espresso
Chai Tea Latte = Starbucks Chai Concentrate, Hot Water, Steamed Milk
Dirty Chai = Chai Tea Latte with an added shot of espresso
Chai Tea = tea without the milk
Black eye = two shots of espresso in a regular cup of coffee.
Drip = Just a regular cup of coffee
A half-caf drink = one made with equal quantities of caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee.
Skinny = If you order a “skinny latte,” or other drink containing milk, it will be made with skim milk. If your drink includes syrup and you order it skinny, that means that you want sugar-free syrup.
Shot = shot of espresso
Blonde = a different kind of espresso bean, it is a bit sweeter than regular espresso
So here’s a step by step guide that I’ve de-coded and learned by making mistakes and observing people at Starbucks:
Enter Starbucks feeling confident and in a mood to have a delicious coffee
Get in the line and look at their menu to make your mind
When it’s your turn, start with ‘Hey how’s it goin’
Barista: What would you like to have today?
You: Recites order in this manner = size + iced or hot + what kind of drink, + special notes
Example: I would like a grande iced caramel macchiato with nonfat milk.
Barista: Anything else?
You: No, that’s all
Barista: Name for the order
You: Spells out the name and keeps it as simple and short as possible.
Barista: That’ll be $5.5
You: *Swipes card* or *Pays cash*
Now you walk towards the station or grab a seat. When they call out your name, you check for your name written on the cup and grab it to go.
You’ll find extra sugar, creamer, stirrer, napkins etc. on another counter.
Stir the coffee and sip leisurely. Wait! Don’t forget to snap and Instagram 😉
See, that wasn’t too difficult. Now no more panic attacks in line, no more anxiety once you are about to open your mouth and no more second-guessing if you actually ordered what you think you did.