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How to Order Coffee at Starbucks Like a Ninja

how to order coffee at starbucks

Ordering coffee at Starbucks requires ninja skills – or so if you want to get your game amidst the long line to the counter. You have to say the details of your order in rapid succession (like a ninja throwing daggers) in courtesy to the many people waiting behind you. The coffee shop is a well-oiled machinery that takes no patience for slowness. Don’t worry; you’ll be rewarded with drinking your favorite cup of coffee in comfy lounge chairs within the luxurious confines of the coffeehouse.

So here’s your ninja training on how to order coffee in Starbucks without hurting yourself.

STAGE 1: Be Familiar With The Menu

Here are the common drinks on the Starbucks menu:

Espresso: An intensely strong coffee made by brewing dark roasted coffee beans and forcing a steam of pressure through them.

Brewed Coffee: You may choose among Pike Place Roast (which can also have a decaf or bold version). The bold version is available up until noon. Do ask room for cream so that you can have more leeway for drinking.

Iced Coffee: Basically coffee “on the rocks.”

Caffe Latte: Shots of espresso followed by steamed milk with a little foam.

Cappuccino: This is just like a latte but with lots of foam. If you want to have more foam than milk, order a “dry cappuccino.” If you want more milk than foam, go for a “wet cappuccino.”

Macchiato: A little bit similar to a latte, but they make the drink by pouring in milk first then the shots of espresso.

Caffe Mocha: Sweet goodness composed of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup with whipped cream on top.

Frappuccino: A cold drink made by blending coffee, milk, and ice. Choose which among the flavors of coffee-based frappuccinos interest you such as Mocha, Java Chip, and Coffee. There are also blended cream frappuccinos which are caffeine free such as Vanilla Bean, Strawberries, and Green Tea.

Tea: You can order short, tall, or grande teas which include one tea bag or venti which comes with two. Cold teas, on the other hand, are shaken with either lemonade or water. Classic syrup is also added unless you request otherwise. You can choose among green, black, and other herbal infusions.

Non-espresso based drinks: These are lattes with no espresso. They are made with whatever syrup is available. These include chocolate beverages and fruit smoothies.


STAGE 2: Know What Goes Into Every Size

Tall drinks are 12-ounce drinks made with one shot of espresso.

Grande is a 16-ounce drink made with two shots of espresso. If you are going to order a grande Americano, it would include three shots of espresso.

Hot Venti drinks are 20 ounces while cold ones are 24 ounces. Three shots of espresso are added into the drink.


STAGE 3: Customizing Your Drink

Syrups: You can also customize your drink by adding your preferred syrup (vanilla, almond, caramel, hazelnut, raspberry, and many others). You can even mix and match to come up with your own flavor.

Espresso shots: If you want an extra espresso shot, just tell the barista that you want a “shot in the dark.”

Decaf: If you want your drink to be caffeine-free. You can also order “half-caf” if you want to have half caffeine and half decaf.

Milk: You can choose among milk types such as 2 percent, skim, whole, soymilk, or organic.

Whipped cream: You have the option to add or remove whipped cream in your drink.

Foam: Most drinks come with one-fourth inch foam. You can add more or less by saying no foam, light foam, or extra foam.

Leave room: If you’re going to add sugar or cream, ask the barista to “leave room” and you’ll have enough space in your cup to add other condiments.

Sauce: You also have the option to add either chocolate or caramel sauce on top of your drink.

Extra hot: The usual hot drinks are usually around 150 – 170 degrees. You have the option to make it piping by saying extra hot (180 degrees).


STAGE 4: Ordering Formula

Remember this formula when ordering a drink:

(1)    Choose whether you want to drink it inside the coffee shop (for here) or as take-out (to go or with legs).

(2)    Next is to tell barista whether you want to alter the caffeine in your coffee.

(3)    Next step is your chance to say whether you want your drink to be iced.

(4)    And then say your desired number of shots and size. This is where you’ll say if you want an extra shot or decaf.

(5)    You may want to add syrup, so this is your chance.

(6)    You can also state whatever type of milk you prefer, what you want as topping (sauce or whipped cream), and if you want the drink to be extra hot.

(7)    The last element in the ordering formula is to say the drink you want.


Putting it all together: (1) For here or to go + (2) Alter your caffeine + (3) Say whether you want your drink to be iced + (4) Desired shots and size + (5) Syrup + (6) Milk, topping, extra hot + (7) type of drink.


You can skip a number and move on to the next to customize your drink.

Just a few examples using the formula:

I would like a (1) for here, (2) triple (4) Grande, (5) hazelnut, (6) 2 percent, extra hot with whip, (7) Mocha, please?

(I would like a for here, triple Grande, hazelnut, 2 percent, extra hot with whip Mocha, please?

I would like a (1) to go, (4) Grande, (5) Irish cream, (6) caramel sauce, (7) Green Tea Cream Frappuccino, please?

(I would like a to go, Grande, Irish cream, caramel sauce, Green Tea Cream Frappuccino, please?


Practice saying your drink order in rapid succession up until you can kick off the counter like a ninja.

You’ll be surprised at the overwhelming number of customized options you can make with Starbucks drinks. Try different combinations now and then to discover the perfect blend for your taste buds. You might come up with the perfect drink formula which will be your signature order, to the point that the barista already knows what you want before you even reach the counter.

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