An Ex Barista’s Honest Review of Starbucks

I first fell in love with the Starbucks brand when I discovered their iced coffee (iced coffee in general, though) in my earlier high school years. My jappy cousins in Boca Raton would rant and rave about their favorite go-to drink- hazelnut iced coffee- and every year or so when I was down south visiting, we’d hang out outside of “their Bux” or “my Bux” and shoot the shit for hours like the other women who sit there on the daily who do yoga and drink smoothies for a living. Before selfies were even a thing, we would pose with our cups and snap pictures for keepsakes so we would always remember these fun moments before we were actually caffeine addicts.

I drank an occasional cup of coffee throughout high school, but living in an area without Starbucks really aided in delaying my obsession and saved me hundreds of dollars in the meantime.

I was a barista three different times in the first fifth of my life. The first two experiences were amateur, short-winded, and not even worth mentioning. The third time, which was the longest span of time I had ever been employed at the same place up to that point (exactly one year, to date, because I was trying to prove Florida residency), was life changing. Not only did I encounter some of the most unique (and I use that term loosely) individuals, both as employees and guests, I am now a master of the Starbucks language; which will forever prove to be some of the most vital information to have in life.

I know the ins and outs of every type of drink and the following list are things you must know:

1. There are plenty of ways around spending 5+ dollars on your favorite beverage.
a. You can order your iced lattes alla cart and add your own milk at the condiment bar. It will save you about two dollars. For example, “I’ll have four shots of espresso in an iced grande cup with one pump of white mocha, please!” (This is my current go-to drink. It’s a much stronger, less diabetic version of an iced white mocha. It will either cost $2.63 or $3 something, depending if the barista decides to charge you for the one pump of syrup.)
b. You can order your iced coffee with a smaller size placed in a bigger cup, if you like a lot of milk, that way your milk is in addition to your coffee and you aren’t shorted. Just ask for, “A tall iced coffee in a grande cup with extra room.” FYI this only works for the dairy milk that’s already out.
c. You can also order your iced tea without water. YES, they water it down 50%.
d. A caramel (pronounced CAR-A-MEL and notice the correct spelling) macchiato is an upside down, non stirred, marginally less sweet vanilla latte… with a drizzle of caramel on top. Save yourself a dollar and stop trying to be fancy.
2. A “skinny” latte denotes skim milk and sugar free syrup. Fine, if you enjoy watered down milk in your coffee (instead of the abundance of dairy free milk options available???), then go for that. However, diet syrups contain the same chemicals as diet soda and other diet products and are horrible for your health.
3. Get a Starbucks gift card and register it for yourself! After thirty swipes you become a green member and after that, one day you will wake up a gold member. You will then receive a personalized gold Starbucks card in the mail. With a gold card, you will always receive FREE REFILLS of iced coffee, hot coffee, iced tea, and hot tea on the same day you purchased it (no espresso drinks). Just bring your cup right back and pay with your card and it will go from $0.54 to $0.00!
a. And from experience, if you show up to Starbucks with ants on your cup claiming you bought that coffee in the morning and are returning a few hours later for a free refill (although you obviously have been using that cup for about eight months) Starbucks can’t deny you!
4. Starbucks is a great company to work for. Besides the awesome health benefits, each partner can mark out a pound of coffee, a box of tea, a box of K-cups, etc… each week! I would give them out as gifts for the holidays and I never had to buy coffee when I worked there. (Although I obviously did).
5. Their cold brew coffee is really not that great. It sorta tastes like their iced coffee. I don’t know the secret behind them making it though, since it is a relatively new beverage, due to the high cold brew demands as of late.

Hopefully this helped you all out!!




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