The Secret to Ordering From Starbucks’ ‘Secret Menu’

We Tried It 16

starbucks nutellaSo you've heard about Starbuck's "secret menu," right? The one with the Dirty Chai and the Green Eye? Well, here's the thing we're hearing from everyone, especially Starbucks employees. Don't ask for these secret menu drinks by name. They're not on the stores' recipe cards so baristas are not going to know what the hell you're asking for if you just sidle up to the bar and ask for a Captain Crunch. Don't do that.

In fact there are multiple "secret" menus. Like this Starbucks secret menu. And this Starbucks secret menu.

Instead, just order by ingredients and ask for exactly what you want in your drink. No fancy code names.

I tried this today with The Nutella: Cafe Misto with a pump of chocolate, a pump of hazelnut, and a drizzle of caramel. That didn't seem so complicated that it would cause a traffic jam behind the bar. I mean, it's not like that most expensive Starbucks drink I ordered a few months ago. (Never again, I promise Starbucks employees. Never again!)

I'd never even heard of the Cafe Misto before. It's basically just a cafe au lait -- brewed coffee with lots of steamed milk. A Latte is the same thing but with espresso, and a Cappuccino is a Latte with less milk. Capiche? Any of those three drinks would probably work just fine for a Nutella.

No one appeared put out by my order, but here's the funny thing: The woman who took my order made it even more complicated by adding a request for soy milk. (OMG, no! She sent a correction right away.)

Anyway, the most important question: How did it taste? Not exactly like Nutella, actually. But still pretty sweet, chocolatey, and hazelnutty. If you don't drink it quickly enough, the syrups settle down to the bottom of the cup and turn into a chocolate sediment. This is not something I would drink all the time, but I might order another version of it sometime for a special treat.

Would you ever order any of the "secret menu" drinks?


Image via Adriana Velez

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Melis... Melissa042807

I have a close friend and a brother who both worked at Starbucks for quite some time, and I learned that all stores have their own "secret menu", drinks the baristas have made up or their regular customers have made up over the years. So if you go to a different store than usual and order your special drink and get a deer-in-the-headlights look from behind the register, that's why. :-)


Get a captain crunch all the time

Caela... CaelanOceanamom

Thank you!!!! Please just order by what you want. The "secret" names just confuse and irritate baristas. If you order exactly what you want instead of some made-up name you'll get what you want; "secret" items lead to confusion and bitter baristas.

nonmember avatar Agustin

The best one is the Dalmatian... The dark chips add that tough dark chocolate flavor while the white mocha adds that sweet flavor. Best mix out there!

jodie... jodieharp

There are a few drinks that pretty much any barista will know!  Dirty chai is one, I don't know where you got "green eye" but most will understand red eye or black eye.  Captain crunch is one that they SHOULD understand as well.  Past that, leave the cute names for your regular barista, chances are you won't even have to give them your order anyway.  ;)

Caela... CaelanOceanamom

Unless you are a barista don't tell us what we SHOULD know and shouldn't know.

Todd Vrancic

Also, please don't order from Starbucks' menu when you are at McDonald's (and vice versa.)

nonmember avatar Melody

I really like how you emphasized not to call the drink by a "secret" name! That really does confuse the partners - You just have to learn how to order what you like. :) The Strawberry Smoothie tastes great with some toffeenut syrup in it too. I may have to try the 'nutella' misto drink you tried - though I think I will need to write that down to get it right! Nicely done!

Heather Duso Johnson

I really just wish Starbucks would carry more than a few syrups year round like almost every coffee house does.  When I visit my friends on the other side of the state and go to Biggby or Gloria Jeans I find some awesome combinations that I can maybe get at Starbucks in the summer or fall.  

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