Finally! The Starbucksese Decoder Ring!

You know that Starbucks has its own language already if you’ve been into one recently, with people ordering half-tall, extra hot, half-caf, who-knows-what, but last time I was there I found a little book they had on Starbucksese called Make It Your Drink. This is a pretty amusing little publication that starts with: “I’ll have a grande, quad, ristretto, nonfat, dry cappuccino” and then challenges you to figure out what it all means.

Fortunately, it’s mostly a glossary, so I can decode that sentence: a grande is what I’d call a “medium” size, quad is four shots of espresso, ristretto is a short pull of espresso, nonfat specifies the type of milk, dry means more foam, less milk, and a cappuccino is a drink made with espresso and foamed milk. Got it?

So a challenge for you: what’s a short, skinny, flat breve con panna with room and legs?

Oh, and a tip too: there’s a coupon in the back for a free “modifier”, so if you always get soy milk like I do, for once your soy can be free. Or a favorite syrup flavor, or … well, read the book!

8 comments on “Finally! The Starbucksese Decoder Ring!

  1. Thanks for your note. The script randomly picks two digits between 1 and 49 and actually feeds the equation to the back-end system. It’s solved and that is compared to what you’ve entered. And, yes, each time it’s different. 🙂

  2. I’m assuming that ‘flat’ means no foam & ‘legs’ means to go, but those are not Starbucks terms and that drink makes no sense anyway. Why? Because you didn’t describe what kind of drink you were ordering… only that it contained breve, whatever it is. On top of that, you can’t have a drink that’s both skim and breve — it makes no sense, like ordering a kosher slice of ham.
    Also, ‘to go’ is implied so it is never called, ‘no foam’ means no foam (not flat), and ‘skim’ is the term baristas use instead of skinny (although it’s understood when customers order it).

  3. Well… Hmmm…. the booklet is from Starbucks and it lists all those possible variants (e.g., “legs” for “to go”) so I can only assume that it’s in the official lexicon. Whether the local patois matches at your Starbucks, well… 😉

  4. I work at Starbucks. That booklet is cutesy, but not really real. If a customer wants to say “to go” or “with legs” (which I’ve never heard, ever), we’d listen but then strip it out when calling the drink to the person at the bar, because all drinks use paper cups unless someone specifically asks for the drink to stay, and then the drinks are put in real mugs/cups.
    You made fatal errors in your order by (a) not saying the type of drink!! (latte, capuccino, mocha, macchiatto, hot chocolate) and by calling the drink both skim and breve. Can’t have two types of milk steamed at the same time, although some particularly anal customers ask for one type of milk and another milk’s foam. ( e.g. “Tall skim cappucino with whole milk foam”).
    The main thing to remember is that you need to say what you want and what size you want. I’ll get a hundred people or more every week who come up to me and order “a latte” or a “regular coffee” after which I have to ask, “What size?”

  5. Okay, I’m a confessed Starbucks-aholic, and I have to have my venti iced 2/3 caff sugar-free vanilla nonfat with whip latte EVERY day on my Starbucks card. I love Starbucks, I know my barista by name, and they know me and my drink by name…
    It takes time to learn the correct order so simplicity is the key for beginners. Say Tall Latte.
    HOWEVER, I believe in the customer-driven-franchise-based world of Starbucks, it is the barista’s job to LISTEN to want, ASK what SIZE you want if you forget to say it, and then DO it with expertise. However, there is a sort of sub-culture/small print on the glass windows of every Starbucks location which states that if you, the STUPID customer, do not state your beverage in the “correct order…” you will be ridiculed and harrassed beyond all recovery. Note the tone here, “You made fatal errors in your order by (a) not saying the type of drink!!” AND “I’ll get a hundred people or more every week who come up to me and order “a latte” or a “regular coffee” after which I have to ask, “What size?”
    Get thee to a caffeine-addicts support group, Blobby, since you obviously are forced by your manager to down a quad espresso before, during and after your work periods. It’s beginning to affect your customer-driven focus. Either find yourself a new job where you feel validated, or get over it and smile a little while you restate “in the proper order” what drink is desired.
    It is after all, a service industry. Here’s part of the mission statement for Starbucks coffee… Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.
    Notice that Blobby, ALL of the time…

  6. We’ve gone a step further. The Starbonics (Starbucksese) goes beyond anything hitting the inside of your cup. At an old store a couple years back we created an entire vocabulary describing the fairer sex, that to you or any other stander-by would just sound like the same ole’ drink jibberish. But to us the “quad, grande, split, vanilla latte with two equals” had a much deeper meaning. However, I doubt starbucks will be releasing a pamphlet on it any time soon.

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