Saturday, November 18, 2006

Starbucks Drink Hacks

Are you sick of getting the same-old same-old thing at Starbucks every time? Do you want to be creative, but just aren't sure what options you might have? There's practically an infinite number of drink combinations possible, and here is your guide to the ones I like. (Including the Starbucks lingo way to order them!)

Basic health mods:

1. Order your drinks non-fat. It makes them way healthier and honestly, the non-fat milk foams up just as nice as the whole milk. (eg. grande non-fat latte.)

2. Reduce the number of syrup pumps in your drink to cut back on calories. Here is the normal number of pumps in the various sizes: short = 2, tall = 3, grande = 4, venti = 5. (eg. tall two-pump vanilla non-fat latte.)

3. Don't get whip cream on hot drinks! It just melts anyhow, unless you eat it right away, and it adds like 9 grams of fat. (eg. grande non-fat no-whip mocha.)

Tasty drinks that aren't on the menu:

1. Blended strawberry lemonade. This used to be a menu item, I believe, but we still have the ingredients to make it on hand at every store. (Ask the barista to make a strawberries and cream frappuccino with lemonade instead of cream base.)

2. Black and white mocha. Basically, some of us find the white mocha syrup too sweet and the mocha syrup too bitter, so we settled on a compromise drink that has half the syrup pumps of one, and half of the other. It's the perfect sweetness that way. (grande two-pump mocha, two-pump white mocha latte.)

3. Winter. This is a name that a friend and I came up for the combination of white mocha and peppermint. It really does taste like you're drinking winter. (Or like those little chocolate-chip-shaped, pastel-colored candies with the sprinkles on them.)

a) Blended Winter. (venti one-pump white mocha, one-pump peppermint frappuccino blended creme.)

b) Winter Latte. (grande two-pump white mocha, one-pump peppermint latte)

c) Winter Double-shot. (double short one-pump white mocha, one-pump peppermint espresso, filled 3/4 of the way with cold milk and topped up with ice. Okay, I'm diverging from the drink calling rules a bit on this one, but that should get it made for you right, anyhow. You could call it "iced double short one-pump white mocha, one-pump peppermint latte" but the barista might argue with you that they don't have any iced short cups, and it just gets more complicated that way.)

4. Chai-der. I find the caramel apple cider a little bit on the sweet side, so I played around with it and our much spicier chai until it tasted right to me. It's basically a caramel apple cider with chai instead of half the pumps of cinnamon. I usually don't ask for it by that name, though, because I don't want the whip cream and caramel drizzle that come with the caramel apple cider, so I ask for it as a steamed cider. (grande two-pump cinnamon, two-pump chai steamed cider.)

I seem to have a new favorite drink every couple of weeks, so I may come back and update this post again later. Right now, my favorite drink is the Winter Double-shot, but that's a pretty intense drink, and I'm sure I'll be on to something else before too long. Please feel free to contribute drink hacks of your own, and if I like them, I just might add them!


Anonymous said...

So how many special ingrediants can one request before the average barrista starts spitting in your coffee?

- Justin

Alana said...

My signature drink was coating the bottom of the demitasse with caramel, pulling an espresso shot on top, and topping with whip cream. You drink it without stirring it up so that you start creamy, enjoy the body of the espresso, then finish sweet. I never came up with a name for it, though. Creme brulée maybe?

jd said...

Try something with mint? Or even better, chocolate mint!

jd said...

I mean mint as opposed to peppermint. They taste different.

Jule Ann said...

Justin -
I've never known a barista to spit in a drink, but maybe there are other places where that happens. We are generally more amenable to complicated drinks if the person asking for them is nice about it.

Alana -
That sounds good! I've done the same thing upside down (whipped cream, then caramel, then a shot), then stirred, because I stir all my drinks. Jeremy makes fun of me because I always stir things together (even things like shepherd's pie or parfaits which are supposed to be layered). What can I say? We're all a little OCD deep down. I like my food to be consistent.

JD -
Unfortunately, I am limited by the syrups that we have, and we don't have mint, just peppermint. Unless I played around with chocolate and our mint tea, but I'm not sure I want to go there...

Kelsey Catherine said...

no really, if you take hot chocolate, and soak a mint tea bag in there..its fantastic. We did that all the time at mckee d's...My favourite starbucks is a white chocolate mocha..its all i ever get. Any suggestions on how i can play around with it?

julie said...

Do you have any suggestions for someone who always drinks plain black coffee? I've been drinking coffee since I was five, and I've never liked it any other way, but everytime I head into a coffeeshop of any sort I look at the jugs of syrup and cream and whatnot and wonder what I'm missing. What can I ask for that will still taste like coffee?

Jule Ann said...

I like the white mocha, too, which is why so many of my variations include it! You should try the white mocha frappuccino sometime. And if you like mint with chocolate, you should definitely try some of my "Winter" drinks described above. Also, try it non-fat. Most people are surprised how creamy a non-fat latte is, since they associate cream with fat. But milk froth = air! Creamy and light!

My suggestion to you is going to sound extremely geeky, but I don't think you'll mind that too much. I wish I liked plain black coffee, but I have a sweet tooth, and can't seem to just sit and enjoy an entire cup of it. I can drink the little sample cups when I do a press, and I can appreciate the different aromas and flavors and textures, but it's almost like research to me. I envy people like you who enjoy black coffee, and I am working on liking it myself, but I can only seem to get myself up to the 4 oz cups. Someday, though.
Okay, the geeky part. Go to your local Starbucks and ask if they ever do coffee seminars. Most Starbucks' have at least one "coffee master" (with a black apron) who is qualified to talk about the different coffees and what makes each one unique. They'll do tastings, or comparisons of various growing regions, or pairings with foods that bring out the various flavours in different coffees (like chocolate and Caffe Verona). Since you're already halfway there, liking your coffee black, you might as well go all the way and learn to sound like a snooty wine scholar about your coffees. I never thought I would say this, but I can tell most of our coffees apart, now. It's scary, but it's kindof cool. Well, geeky. But I think geeky is cool.

Frances said...

I know this post is really old but I've only recently gotten inclined to being adventurous with my Starbucks drinks so I really love this post! Thanks for this!