How to Speak Starbucks and Order Coffee Like a Pro from How to Speak Starbucks and Order Coffee Like a Pro

How to Speak Starbucks and Order Coffee Like a Pro

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Starbucks has its own lingo, sometimes a little mysterious. Here's how to decode it.

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How to Speak Starbucks and Order Coffee Like a Pro

Photo Modified: Flickr / Shinsuke Ikegame / CC BY 4.0

Of course you don't absolutely need to know how to speak Starbucks in order to get a cup of java there — but learning the terminology will help you become more knowledgeable about coffee in general. Furthermore, some terms used at Starbucks have become common at coffee shops everywhere.  

Whether it’s what you want to order (whether from the regular or secret Starbucks menu) or how you want it prepared, here are some terms you should learn before heading out for your next cup of Joe at Starbucks.

Additional reporting by Jess Novak.

Black Eye

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This drink is the big brother of the red eye, another drink on our list. A black eye means two shots of espresso in a regular cup of coffee.

Drip

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A drip is just a regular cup of coffee. To order it, you’ll only have to choose your size, such as venti — as in “Can I have a venti drip?”

Extra Whip

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Ordering "extra whip" will take your drink to the next level, and make it even sweeter. You probably guessed this one, but ordering extra whip will get you a few extra squirts of whipped cream. 

Frappuccino

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A Starbucks-specific term. A Frappuccino is a blended iced coffee drink. If you’re at a coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks, order a "frappé," not a Frappuccino.

French Press

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Looking to add some foreign flavor to your average cup of Joe? Starbucks will brew any of the coffees they sell with a French press. All you have to do is ask for to be prepared this way when you order.

Half-Caf

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A half-caf drink is just that — one made with equal quantities of caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee. For instance, in a half-caf double espresso,,half the coffee will be regular espresso and half will be decaf.  

No Water Chai

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Starbucks makes chai with a certain number of pumps of chai mix (three pumps for tall, four for grande, five or six for venti). For a hot chai, they add hot water to dilute the chai concentrate. If you’re particularly fond of the chai flavor, ordering your hot chai with no water will give you one at full strength.

Red Eye

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If you want to order a cup of coffee with a shot of espresso, you can; but ordering a red eye just sounds cooler, and will get you exactly the same thing.

Skinny

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When you order a “skinny” drink, it can mean two different things. If you order a “skinny latte,” or other drink containing milk, it will be made with skim milk. If your drink includes syrup and you order it skinny, that means that you want sugar-free syrup.

Short

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Did you know that tall isn’t the smallest size you can order at StarbucksNot all Starbucks locations present it on the menu, but the short is smaller than the tall — eight ounces instead of 12 — and less expensive.

Shots

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Shots of what? If you’ve ever felt intimidated after hearing someone order their drink with extra shots, don’t worry — it’s only espresso. This doesn’t make them coffee experts, but it does mean their caffeine tolerance is pretty high. By adding shots to your drink, you’re simply requesting more espresso.