Everyone has heard about the “Starbucks Secret Menu,” a mythical collection of off-menu beverages that one can only acquire by special request. I’m here today to tear down the myths related to the Starbucks Secret Menu, and set the record straight as to what is reality and what is merely fiction. I’ll also offer specific tips around ordering from the so-called Starbucks Secret Menu, to help you feel comfortable in your request. Starbucks ordering can be intimidating- but doesn’t have to be!
So, is there a legitimate “Secret Menu” at Starbucks? The clear-cut answer is NO! All existing pages referring to a “Secret Menu” are created by Starbucks fans… just like you! From its outset, Starbucks has featured the idea that its beverages are fully customizable to the Nth degree. The Secret Menu you’ve heard about is simply a logical response to this… fan-created collections of intensely customized drinks that attempt to recreate specific flavors (cinnamon roll, cookies and cream, etc.).
If there is no legitimate Secret Menu, how can I order from it? The answer is simple… come to Starbucks prepared to order your “Secret Menu” beverage! You shouldn’t ask for a drink from the secret menu… instead, you order the beverage based on its recipe. For example, your secret menu website of choice might tell you about the “Pink Drink.” Don’t go to Starbucks and ask for a “Pink Drink”! Follow the recipe offered on the site, and order a “Strawberry Acai Refresher with Coconut Milk instead of water”. Don’t ask your barista for “Liquid Crack” unless you want to create serious confusion… ask that kind soul behind the counter for an “Iced Quad Espresso with 4 pumps of White Mocha.”
Another common question… are there “secret sizes” at Starbucks? This question is tough to answer with a simple yes or no. Are there sizes that may not be featured on the menu? Yes. Are they actually a secret? No! Let me explain. The hot drink sizes are Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti. The short size is often referred to as a secret size simply because its not featured on the menu board. The current sizing structure resulted from the natural inclination of the customer to always want something bigger. Starbucks began with three sizes- Short, Tall, and Grande, and one can see the clear logic present in this sizing structure. However, grande (16oz) was simply not big enough for the American consumer… so, Starbucks created the Venti (20oz) size. The short cups remained necessary for serving beverages such as Espresso, Espresso Macchiato (espresso topped with milk foam), and Espresso Con Panna (espresso topped with whip cream), and many Starbucks purists still order lattes and brewed coffees in the short (8oz) size. Any hot beverage can still be ordered in the short size.
On the other end of the spectrum… what is a Trenta? Trenta is Starbucks’ newest size, and is limited to cold beverages. The Trenta is 30oz, and is only available for Iced Coffee, Iced Tea, and Starbucks Refreshers. Again, the Venti was just not big enough for some customers (doesn’t everyone need an EXTRA LARGE?), so in response Starbucks created the Trenta. What if you want a Trenta of an espresso beverage, like this summer’s hit the Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato? These drinks aren’t generally served in the Trenta size, but if you order properly you CAN have the Trenta size! Ask for an Iced Venti (insert drink here), but in a Trenta cup with ________________ (the blank could be extra ice, extra milk, or extra shots of espresso). The drink will still be a Venti, but it is surprisingly common for Starbucks customers to order a certain size drink served in a different (always bigger) size cup, for various reasons. The request is most common with brewed coffee, to allow extra room for added milk; but the same philosophy can be used to acquire any drink in any sized cup, even if not normally served in that cup. Want a Frappuccino with Affogato shots (shots poured over the top) but don’t want to miss out on any of the Frappuccino itself? Easy! Order a Venti ________ Frappuccino but in a Trenta cup with ____ Affogato shots!
Biggest/Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Ever?
Within the last few years social media was set abuzz with stories of “The Biggest Starbucks Drink Ever” or “The Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Ever… 100+ ounces, in a fishbowl, boot, or other massive liquid-holding device. Customers utilized the Starbucks Rewards program to earn a free reward drink, and would redeem this reward for a drink (served in the customer-provided super-duper sized cup) containing over 50 shots of espresso and various other ingredients (every possible add-on such as flavored syrups, powders, chocolate chips, whole bananas, you get the idea). You might be wondering if you, too, can acquire such a concoction. Sadly, (or fortunately?) the answer is no. In response to this social media trend, Starbucks released an “action item” for all its retail employees limiting all beverages served in customer-provided cups to the sizes that Starbucks actually serves. So, as we discussed earlier, what is the biggest size Starbucks actually serves? If you guessed the 30 ounce Trenta, you were paying excellent attention! This means that, even if your fishbowl, vase, or vat is 128 ounces, Starbucks will serve you a maximum 30-ounce drink in it. The logic makes perfect sense, as a beverage that does not fit in any Starbucks-provided cup just doesn’t sound like a Starbucks beverage to me.
I hope this information was valuable to you as a fan of Starbucks. I will continue to share Starbucks-related insights throughout my blog.