Posted on by Barista Life Guest Writer

This post was written by, Michael Venturiello, a Starbucks Partner and also a guest writer for Barista Life. Michael graduated with his Bachelor's degree in English in 2013 and took several creative writing classes. With an burning passion for writing, Michael is also working on writing a book He also runs a blog discussing the twentysomething experience. You can check it out at! Check him out on his Instagram also!

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Customer Tips: Things to Know Before You Go

Customer Tips for Ordering at Starbucks

Dear Starbucks Lovers,

(And no, not the parody of the Taylor Swift song). The real, true Starbucks lovers. We know your drink. We know your usual order. We know about that weird toe fungus your son has (thank you for sharing, even though we didn’t ask you to). You are probably our favorite type of customer, even if I do have to hear about all the unrelated non-coffee topics in your life.

And yet, what happens when you bring a friend in with you? A friend who has never even stepped foot inside of a Starbucks and can’t tell the difference between a macchiato and a Frappuccino? We all know the type. Maybe you’ve stood behind this type of person for twenty minutes, watching them decide, when you came in with the thought of a double tall skinny vanilla latte already in your head. Well, we have some tips for that friend the next time you come across them in your local coffee shop.

1. Hot or Cold?

  • This is like the first commandment of ordering in a coffee shop. If you don’t know what you want, it’s likely that the barista will ask you “hot or cold?” It gives them a clear direction, a way to guide you in your beverage ordering. Help us help you. If you aren’t sure what you’re feeling that day, at least know if you’d like a hot beverage or a cold beverage. Cool trick: if you’re feeling thirsty, go for cold.

    2. We Speak English

    • “I’d like a tall coffee please. No, wait! The bigger one.” Sir, we also speak English. No need to be embarrassed, ashamed, or uncomfortable with your lack of Italian Coffee Language. If you say “large,” we got it. We understand. Another little secret, even for baristas and Italian speakers all over the world, the names of these sizes make no sense. In Italian, the word “grande” means large. But that’s not actually the largest size. It’s complicated.

    3. Know the Standards

    • Some things, in all coffee shops, are standard. For example, cream and sugar. If you’d like cream and sugar in your coffee, say cream and sugar. Starbucks calls anything with half & half “breve,” while Tim Horton’s calls a coffee with cream and sugar a double double. But I swear, if you come into a Starbucks and order a double double, it’s going to be real hard for me keep my barista cool.

    4. Be Honest

    • Oftentimes, if you don’t like your drink or something doesn’t taste right, we can remake it for you. Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think, even if we know we followed that recipe to perfection. It’s not the end of the world, we can remake it. Because [smiles through gritted teeth] the customer is always right.

    5. Baristas are People, too

    • We all have lives outside of the Green Apron. Outside of making your latte. As much as we enjoy making beverages to your cozy perfection and engaging in conversations with customers, it’s also a lot of hard work. Some of us are working our way through college, some of us have chosen a career in coffee. But either way, we are all human. So if your drink takes a little longer than usual, or if we aren’t able to toast your bagel right away, please be patient. “Your [insert menu item here] will be right up!”




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