Mind Your Starbucks

If you’re a Starbucks frequenter, then it’s going to cost you far more bucks. Prices are going up. But then the less-bucks latte secret from one anonymous barista is this:

You can order the way way cheaper espresso over ice in a big cup. Then you can walk right over to our condiment bar and use our carafes of whole milk, half and half, and nonfat. What are we going to say? Don’t use our milk and syrups that we put out for everyone? And there’s no point buying bananas or bagels from us, delivered to us … frozen from the factory, because they’re cheaper elsewhere and taste better [fresher].

The other secret is the free wi-fi. Here’s the skinny.

And here’s some lowdown on Starbucks lingo (from the Oxford English Dictionary, from a former barista of and current frequenter of “local Starbuckses,” and from wikipedia):

  • americano – = CAFFÈ AMERICANO n. Relatively weak or mild coffee, spec. espresso diluted with (hot) water; a drink of this. 1973 Los Angeles Times 6 Dec. 11 If you order coffee at a Mexican restaurant away from tourist resorts, you will be asked how you want it, express or Americano… Ask for Americano if you want a cup resembling what you get at home.
  • barista – A bartender in an Italian or Italian-style bar. Also spec. (orig. U.S.): a person who makes and serves coffee in a coffee bar (the more frequent sense in English). 1982 P. HOFMAN Rome, Sweet Tempestuous Life 24 A good barista can simultaneously keep an eye on the coffee oozing from the espresso machine into a battery of cups, pour vermouth and bitters..and discuss the miserable showing of the Lazio soccer team. 1988 Boston Globe (Nexis) 13 Dec. 61 A feisty but cordial competitor to the larger caffeine chains the [Boston Coffee] Exchange has unfurled a help-wanted poster titled ‘Learn to be a coffee barista’.
  • café au lait – In French phrases, with the sense ‘coffee’, as café au lait, coffee taken with milk; white coffee; also, the colour of café au lait, a brownish cream colour; . 1763 H. WALPOLE Let. 18 Oct. (1904) V. 382 Pray send me some café au lait: the Duc de Picquigny..takes it for snuff.
  • caffè latte – Coffee made with more or less equal amounts of water and steamed milk; a drink of this. 1847 Cultivator Feb. 46/2 He gets his caffe latto (coffee with milk), and a roll of brown bread for two cents. 1867 W. D. HOWELLS Ital. Journeys 272 The good-natured face of the steward when he brought me the caffè latte.
  • cappucino – Coffee with milk; white coffee, esp. as served in espresso coffee-bars, topped with white foam. Also, a cup of such coffee. 1948 R. O’BRIEN This is San Francisco 84 You drink a cappuccino, gray, like the robe of a capuchin monk, and made of chocolate that is laced with brandy or rum, and heated by steam forced through coffee.
  • espresso – Coffee made under steam pressure; the apparatus used for making this; a coffee-bar where it is sold. 1945 ‘A. BOUCHER’ in M. & G. Gordon Pride of Felons (1964) 80, I was drinking a caffé espresso, a strong, bitter, steamed coffee.
  • Frappuccino® – a registered trademark of Starbucks; the name of a blended ice beverage sold by Starbucks. The etymology of the term is unclear. Frappuccino is a portmanteau of frappe and cappuccino, an Italian style coffee with a topping of frothed milk. It is unclear whether frappe is taken from frappé, a Greek iced coffee, (Jim Cotter invented a “frappecino” sold at the Hard Rock Cafe in Crete from 1994-2000, well after The Coffee Connection’s invention of the beverage and use of the name) or from the Boston area term for a thick milkshake frappe (pronounced “frap”), both of which derived from the French word frappé. The original Frappuccino beverage was developed, named, copyrighted and sold by George Howell’s Eastern Massachusetts coffee shop chain, The Coffee Connection. When Starbucks purchased The Coffee Connection in 1994, they also gained the rights to use, make, market, and sell the Frappuccino beverage, and soon after began to sell the beverage chain wide. Similar frozen coffee drinks were served starting in 1988 by the Seattle chain Cinnabon under the names Mochalatta and Caramelatta.
  • Grande – coffee in a 12 oz. paper cup. This is the “medium” size. Pronounced “GRAWN-day.”
  • latte – = CAFFÈ LATTE n. 1989 N.Y. Times 3 May C8/4 The most common order heard is for a latté, espresso with milk, another variation on cappuccino and café au lait. 1991 Atlantic July 104/3 ‘Latte’ has become virtually synonymous with ‘cup of coffee’, as in, ‘I haven’t had my second latte yet’.
  • macchiato – A drink of caffè macchiato or of latte macchiato.
    1989 N.Y. Times 3 May C8/3 A triple macchiato..can be either of two things: a triple espresso macchiato – three shots of espresso with very little foam and a little milk or a triple latté macchiato – 10 to 12 ounces of steamed milk with three shots of espresso poured through it.
  • mocha – In full mocha coffee. A type of fine quality coffee, originally spec. that produced in or shipped from Yemen.
    1773 J. PRINGLE Let. in Encycl. Brit. (1797) V. 124/1 The coffee ought to be of the best Mocco. 1787 W. BECKFORD Jrnl. 22 Dec. in Jrnl. Portugal & Spain (1954) (modernized text) 298 Rojas..gave me some marvellous coffee, not Mocha but Udeim. 1793 J. BENTHAM Corr. 26 Apr. (1981) IV. 427 Coffee to be drinkable, must be made from Mochea.
  • Tall – coffee in a 12 oz. paper cup. This is what you’ll get if you ask for a “small” drink.
  • Venti – coffee in a 20 oz. or a 24 oz. paper cup. (20 oz. hot, 24 oz. cold.) For some reason the iced Venti cups hold four more ounces; for this reason, Venti espresso drinks have an extra shot of espresso in them, and cost a few cents more than their hot equivalents. Pronounced “VENN-tee,” and reportedly means twenty in Italian. [The Starbucks equivalent of supersized.]

5 responses to “Mind Your Starbucks

  1. I am so glad I can make decent coffee myself – at home – and then drink it in any sized cup I desire that morning 😉

  2. Pingback: Mind Your Starbucks | Mind Your Language | Barista Training

  3. “Mind your Starbucks.”

    That didn’t work out so well for Queequeg.

    • Theophrastus, You’re brilliant. Couldn’t stop laughing here. (And returned, to the whale of a book: “We will not speak of all Queequeg’s peculiarities here; how he eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to beefsteaks, done rare.”)

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