COFFEE TALKS : How to Speak Starbucks

Do you ever feel like ordering at Starbucks it’s like trying to speak another language? I used to feel like that ALL the time. I hate ordering so I would just order something basic on the menu and never found something that I really LOVED until I started speaking their language! So I put together a helpful (hopefully) guide to help you be able to order at your local “Starbs”, “Bucks”, “Starbies” or whatever you call your Starbucks… I personally just stick with Starbucks.


First off, I feel like we need to start with some basic vocabulary. So here we go!

Café Au Lait : Brewed coffee with steamed milk.

Iced Coffee : Brewed coffee over ice.

Cold Brew : Coffee brewed in cold water for 12 + hours.

Solo : Single shot of espresso.

Doppio : Double shot of espresso.

Americano : Espresso with hot water or cold water and ice.

Cappuccino : Espresso with steamed milk and a lot of foam.

Latte : Espresso and steamed milk and little to no foam. Also, can be poured over ice.

Macchiato : Espresso added to steamed milk which gives it a layering effect. Also, can be poured over ice.

AHH! Yes, now that I’m sure you’re overwhelmed by all that here are a couple of pictures to better explain.

Now that you’ve got some basic knowledge about coffee, let’s talk about ordering. Here are some tips.

  1. Whether in person or drive-thru (especially drive-thru) SPEAK CLEARLY and SLOWLY. This is to ensure they get all the specifics about your drink so it’s made correctly every time.

  2. If you have multiple drinks, specify each drink. (ie. “I have 3 drinks. The first is… blah blah blah.. WAIT. The second is… blah blah blah.. WAIT. Lastly I would like… blah blah blah…WAIT.” Patience is important.

So, when ordering START the size of the drink. Starbucks has FIVE sizes:

Short (8 oz), Tall (12 oz), Grande (16 oz), Venti (hot 20 oz, iced 24 oz) and Trenta (iced 31 oz).

Just in case you have ever wondered how the sized got their names, here you go! Originally Starbucks only had 2 sizes… Short and Tall. Clearly Short being the smaller size and Tall being the bigger size. Makes sense? I know. They then added the GRANDE which is “large” in Italian. Then added Venti which is “twenty” in Italian. And lastly, added Trenta which is “thirty” in Italian.

Once you have you size, specify if you want it “HOT” or “ICED”.

Now all you have to do is choose your drink of choice. Super EASY!

But if you are having any trouble not knowing what you would like, here as some more tips.

IF you are wanting a latte (milk-based) you can NEVER go wrong with a Vanilla Latte. It’s basic and a good staple because it’s sweetened BUT not like a dessert in a cup. If that’s more of what you’re going for a White Chocolate Mocha is probably your kind of drink.

IF you need a PICK-ME-UP (a caffeine boost) an Americano (HOT or ICED - espresso based) is always a good choice! You’ll get one more shot than normal and you can also add cream and any syrup.


Tall - ICED - Dopio with 1 pump of White Chocolate Mocha and Half & Half.

Grande Latte - HOT - with 2 pumps [White Chocolate Mocha] OR [Carmel Brûlée] .

And that’s IT!


One Starbucks feature that I HIGHLY recommend is their Starbucks App. It’s so convenient. You can earn points with every purchase (to get a free drink or food), find out all the new drinks that are out, you can pay super easy AND order online and just pick it up in store WITHOUT having to wait in line! (I think that’s my favorite part!)

I hope that was a little helpful and made you a little more confident when you order from Starbucks from now on. If you have any questions about coffee, brews or what would be your perfect drink ASK ME! I would love to help you find your perfect cup of joe! As a barista and coffee lover, I LOVE to help people find the best coffee for them!

xo, Alyssa

COFFEE, FOODAlyssa CloudComment