5 Friday Favorites – Starbucks Hacks Edition

5 Friday Favorites – Starbucks Hacks Edition

Happy Friday, Everyone!

As I sit here and enjoy my morning cup of coffee, I feel inspired to share some things I’ve learned for my 5 Friday Favorites. Prior to getting remarried, I spent a fair amount of time working at Starbucks – over 7 years in 5 stores and across 3 states, with some gaps in between, to be exact. I wanted to let you in on a few secrets from an insider’s perspective, in case you hadn’t heard. So I present:


5 Friday Favorites – Starbucks Hacks Edition


5 Friday Favorites - Starbucks Hacks Edition from The Life You Have Imagined


  1. Ask for light ice. Even with the pretty decent rewards system, fairly frequent Starbucks patronage can be expensive. You want to get the most for your money. As such, I generally recommend getting light ice in drinks. When I order an iced venti latte, I always ask for light ice. When I order it as an iced grande, I ask for no ice. Because the milk is refrigerated, the drink will be cold, and I tend to drink mine fairly quickly. One additional tip about ice: make sure your shaken iced tea is actually shaken. Sometimes when it’s really busy, baristas might skip this step, but it really does make a difference!
  2. Request ristretto shots for espresso drinks. A ristretto shot is a shorter shot, resulting in a smoother, less bitter espresso flavor. If you’ve ever tried the flat white, you’ve probably experienced this first hand. It’s delicious!
  3. If you like a fair amount of milk or cream in your drip coffee, adjust the way you order. If you want a tall, ask for a short in a tall cup. For a grande, request a tall in a grande cup. A venti would be a grande in a venti cup. This way, you pay the smaller price for the actual amount of coffee you are getting. Another tip about drip coffee: if you’re looking for the most caffeine, order the medium roast. The longer coffee is roasted, the more caffeine is leached out of it, so while the bold roast will have a stronger flavor, it won’t be a stronger wake-up. So, why not order the light roast, then? you might ask. Because fewer beans are used to brew a batch of light roast, so it detracts from the amount of caffeine.
  4. When ordering a frappuccino off the secret menu, it matters how you order it. To be 100% honest and real with you, most baristas hate making frappuccinos, and the secret menu is the bane of their existence. It’s not that we don’t love customized drinks (we are most guilty of it, after all), but secret menus are generally just that… secret. We have NO idea what goes into them. If you see a drink you really want to try, do a search for what goes into it and order it that way. It makes everything much easier.
  5. If you’re having one of those days where you’re almost literally dragging yourself through the day, consider ordering my secret menu drink. I call it “Break Glass in Case of Emergency,” and I only get it on those days when I need a serious burst of caffeine and sugar to jumpstart me awake. Here’s what to order: a doppio con panna (2 shots of espresso with whipped cream), with ristretto shots and 3 pumps of white mocha (you might also ask for a splash of half and half or possibly some caramel drizzle depending on your preferences). When it arrives, swirl it around with the lid on so the whipped cream and white mocha melt into the espresso and cool it off. Then either sip it or take the lid off and shoot it. It’s almost guaranteed to wake you up!

I hope you all have a wonderful, deliciously caffeinated weekend!

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