The Starbucks menu is expansive and often confusing for those who have never been there.

Ordering something at Starbucks might seem like a big deal, but once you know the basics, you can handle it like a pro. Here’s how to order at Starbucks like a pro.

Quick Answer: How do you order Starbucks?

To order Starbucks like a pro, it’s best to look at the menu before going. This allows you to determine what drink you want, what to add to your order or change in the recipe, and what cup size you’d like.

How to Order at Starbucks Like a Pro (Quick and Easy)

In this article, I’ll discuss what Starbucks offers, as mentioned on its website, and the available drinks and changes you can make to your order.

I’ll also go over the different cup sizes. Read on!

1. Decide what type of drink you want

Starbucks has different drinks in various categories, making it easier to choose.

While these categories are mainly split up between hot and cold drinks, there are various other options within them. I’ll go over the different categories in the following sections.

Hot coffees

There’s a very extensive list of hot coffees, some more sugary, milky, or foamy than others.

If there’s a drink on the list that you like but isn’t 100% what you want, don’t worry! There are many customization options for you that I’ll discuss later in this article.

The hot coffees available at Starbucks include:

  • Americanos: Espresso diluted with hot water.
  • Brewed coffees
  • Cappuccinos: Espresso with milk and milk foam. Cappuccinos are foamier than lattes.
  • Espresso shots
  • Flat whites: Espresso with milk and a very thin layer of foam. You can find an explanation here if you want to learn more about the differences between a flat white and a cappuccino.
  • Lattes: Espresso with milk and foam. Lattes are milkier than cappuccinos.
  • Macchiatos: Espresso with a small amount of milk.
  • Mochas: Espresso with chocolate (sauce or powder) and milk or cream.
Homemade blonde Americano.

Different drinks are available in each category, which you can find on the Starbucks website.

Hot teas

The hot tea category has fewer options available, but you’ll likely find the one you want on the list.

As with the other types, you can add and change things from the recipe.

These are the types of hot teas available at Starbucks:

  • Chai teas
  • Black teas
  • Green teas
  • Herbal teas

As mentioned above, there are some significant variations of the teas, which you’ll find here on the website.

Chai, black, and green tea are available as lattes, and you can choose from different tea flavors.

Hot drinks

There are more hot drinks besides coffee and tea, which might be better for young children or people who can’t consume too much caffeine.

Hot chocolate, juice, and steamers are great options; different variations are available within these categories, which you can find here.

Again, you have the option to customize your drink.

Iced coffees

The list of cold coffee categories is pretty long, so you’re guaranteed to find the one you’ve been craving.

These are based on the hot coffee types mentioned above, with an additional nitro cold brew option made with nitrogen gas:

Homemade nitro cold brew.
Homemade nitro cold brew

These are the types of cold coffees available at Starbucks:

  • Cold brews
  • Nitro cold brew: Made with nitrogen gas. Nitro cold brew is smoother and not as bitter as regular coffee.
  • Iced americano
  • Iced coffees
  • Iced shaken espresso: Drinks are shaken in a cocktail shaker.
  • Iced flat whites
  • Iced lattes
  • Iced macchiatos
  • Iced mochas

Iced teas

There are iced versions of the hot teas I mentioned before (green teas, black teas, chai teas, and herbal teas), with some additional flavors.

You can find these on the Starbucks website. Furthermore, you can buy bottled Teavana teas.

Cold drinks

These Starbucks drinks are original, so you probably won’t find them elsewhere. The vibrant colors and interesting flavors make these drinks very popular.

These drinks are an excellent choice when it’s warm outside, and you need some refreshments.

The cold drinks available at Starbucks include:

  • Dragon drink: With dragonfruit inclusion, ice, and coconut milk.
  • Mango dragon fruit: With dragon fruit inclusion and ice.
  • Mango dragon fruit lemonade: With dragon fruit inclusion, ice, and lemonade.
  • Paradise drink: With freeze-dried pineapple, ice, and coconut milk.
  • Strawberry Açaí: With strawberry and ice.
  • Strawberry Açaí Lemonade: With strawberry, ice, and lemonade.
  • Pineapple passion fruit: With freeze-dried pineapple and ice.
  • Pineapple passion fruit lemonade: With freeze-dried pineapple, ice, and lemonade.
  • Pink drink: With strawberry, ice, and coconut milk. (More info about the Pink drink here)

Frappuccino drinks are also available cold drinks at Starbucks (and most other coffee places).

Starbucks matcha Frappuccino, ready to drink.
Starbucks matcha Frappuccino

Frappuccinos are like a milkshake/coffee combo, ideal for those with a sweet tooth who aren’t afraid of a little sugar rush.

Starbucks has both coffee and creme Frappuccinos available, with a whole ton of drink options.

2. Decide if you want to change or add anything to your drink

You can make several changes to your drink order, which is excellent if you have allergies, food intolerances, or specific taste buds.

Keep in mind that the customizations aren’t all available for every drink.

If you want to know for sure, you can ask the barista or check the Starbucks website, which will show you all the options for the drink of your liking.

I’ll review some of the changes you can make and optional add-ons in the following sections.

Milk or cream preferences

For every drink that has some type of milk or cream in it, you can make some changes.

Sometimes, you can even add them to a drink that doesn’t have a recipe with milk or cream.

These are the available milk/cream variants:

  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla, sweet cream
  • Nonfat milk
  • 2% milk
  • Whole milk
  • Breve (half & half)
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Oat milk
  • Soy milk
Oatly oat milk.

You can choose if you want extra milk foam, light milk foam, no milk foam, and regular milk foam.

On top of that, you can change the temperature of your milk to your liking, from warm to steamed hot and extra hot.

Add different flavors to your drink

You can change or add different syrups and sauces to your drink.

It’s better to choose before stepping in line at Starbucks, as deciding what flavors you’d like might take a while.

When you decide, ask the barista if they can add a particular flavor and say how many pumps you’d like to add.

Available syrup flavors at Starbucks include:

  • Apple brown sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Caramel
  • Cinnamon dolce
  • Hazelnut
  • Peppermint
  • Raspberry
  • Toasted vanilla
  • Toffee nut
  • Vanilla
  • Sugar-free vanilla

Available sauces at Starbucks include:

  • Mocha
  • New dark caramel
  • Pumpkin
  • White chocolate mocha

Consider adding some toppings to your drink

You can add toppings to your drink or exchange the toppings that are supposed to come with the drink you want.

Your options are extensive: toppings, drizzles, and cold foam in different flavors.

Homemade cold foam.
Homemade cold foam

Additionally, cinnamon powder and whipped cream can be added to your drink.

These are the available toppings at Starbucks:

  • Pumpkin spice
  • Cinnamon dolce sprinkles

The available drizzles at Starbucks include:

  • Caramel
  • Mocha
  • Spiced apple

The available cold foam flavors at Starbucks are:

Add any additional add-ins to your drink

You can add some things inside your drink, so it’s essential to immediately tell the barista about the add-ins you want when ordering.

It probably won’t be possible to add these things midway through making your order.

Some things you can add include:

  • Chocolate malt
  • Vanilla bean powder
  • Line the cup with caramel or mocha sauce
  • Creamers (mentioned in the “milk” section)
  • Liquid sweeteners (such as honey)
  • Sweetener packets (including Splenda and Stevia)
  • Extra espresso shots

3. Decide what size drink you want

Starbucks drink sizing can be very confusing, even for people who’ve already been to a Starbucks store.

The names of the different-sized cups don’t seem to make much sense, so it’s challenging to figure out what to order.

Remember that some drinks don’t come in all of these cup sizes, so your barista might ask you to choose a different size.

Here are the Starbucks cup sizes available from smallest to biggest:

  • Short: 8 fl oz or 237ml
  • Tall: 12 fl oz or 354ml
  • Grande: 16 fl oz or 470ml
  • Venti: 24 fl oz or 709ml
  • Trenta: 30 fl oz or 887ml

4. Ask a barista for advice

There’s no shame in asking a barista for help when ordering if you can’t figure out how to do it or what to choose.

They are there to help and will probably do so with a smile. Even if it’s pretty busy, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from the people who know best.

Final thoughts

It might seem very confusing initially, but ordering at Starbucks is only complicated because they have so many options for you.

If you plan on going to a Starbucks and ordering a drink, it’s best to look at a menu beforehand to see what you want to order, no matter how many times you’ve been in a Starbucks store.

Unless someone always orders the same thing, it’s impossible to learn the menu by heart.

If you can’t figure out what to order, you can always ask a barista for a suggestion!

Homemade Starbucks recipes to try

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