A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

13 Things Baristas Won’t Tell You

Spoiler: don't order like you're at Starbucks if you aren't.

1 / 13

If you’re not at Starbucks, don’t order like you are

If you want a Venti Caramel Frappuccino, you’re in the wrong place. Order from our menu. This is the one Starbucks where they’ll never ask your name.

2 / 13

A bigger cup doesn’t mean more coffee

Starbucks’ Venti (20 oz) and Grande (16 oz) each contain two shots of espresso. The Venti just has more milk. So if it’s caffeine you’re after, size doesn’t matter. Find out why Starbucks sizes aren’t small, medium, and large.

3 / 13

There is an art to pulling a perfect shot of espresso

The ideal shot takes 18 to 22 seconds to pull. I have to make sure that the espresso grounds are packed to just the right firmness, that the right amount of water filters through, and control the temperature. If a shot isn’t perfect, I won’t serve it. This is what happens to your body when you drink coffee every day.

4 / 13

Just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean our cakes are good for you

They are loaded with white sugar.

5 / 13
iStock/Lisa Gagne

Yes, I went to school for this

Starbucks sends employees to barista school for two weeks, where they study the history of coffee, the entire coffee menu, and how to turn milk into velvety foam. Find out what Starbucks employees really get paid.

6 / 13

Latte art isn’t merely decorative

If a heart or a pinwheel design holds in the milk it means that the consistency of the foam is good and the shot was pulled well. If you’re at a place that does foam artwork, and you don’t get a good picture, that means your drink is not well made.

7 / 13

Please believe me

If you asked for decaf, I gave you decaf. You don’t need to ask me repeatedly. I am not out to get you.

8 / 13

Sometimes the owners of independent coffee/espresso carts buy cheap coffee and sell it as a respected brand

Not that any of our customers noticed.

9 / 13


Drinking two quad-shot, 22oz, vanilla lattes every day is bad for you

Very, very bad for you. This is the one coffee drink you should never order at Starbucks.

10 / 13
iStock/Catherine Lane


I know your coffee is already overpriced, but a dollar bill in a tip jar earns you infinite goodwill. I’ll carry that happy feeling over to my interaction with my next customer. Karma works, and it only costs you a buck.

11 / 13

You are the reason for the wait

When there’s a line to the door, I hate it when customers spend the whole time talking on the phone and only think about what they want when they get to the register. They are the reason the line takes forever.

12 / 13

A real macchiato has just a stain of milk foam and no sugar

Because Starbucks uses the names of authentic espresso beverages for sugary, milky confections that bear no resemblance to the real thing, they confuse people. I’ll make someone an authentic drink and they’ll say, where’s the milk? Where’s the syrup?

13 / 13

Be nice

No matter how tired you are, it’s nice to say please when you’re ordering your first coffee of the day. “I’ll take a…” or “Give me a…” is not “please” in anyone’s language. Learn about 21 more pet peeves your Starbucks barista has.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest