Starbs 101: Instructions and Recommendations

Alright, so here goes my first blog post on what is likely my sixteenth blog. As per the URL, it’s apparent that I’m a Starbucks (and carb) enthusiast – but I wasn’t always this way! Once upon a time, the concept of a gold card was completely foreign to me and I had little knowledge as to how vast and expansive and wondrous the Starbucks menu could be (and I also followed a strict paleo diet… but that’s another story).

So here’s how to order your bevy like a pro and not fuck it up.

A barista once complimented me, and that was the moment I knew that 4 years of braces was worth it.

Step 1. Sizes Matter

  • “Tall” == small == 12 fl oz.
  • “Grande” (pronounced like Ariana Grande) == medium == 16 fl oz.
  • “Venti” (Like “twenty” bc it actually means twenty in italian) == large == 20 fl oz. (or 24 fl oz. if you get an iced beverage. Same price as the hot option, but more liquid. Go for it. Get that lil extra extra)

Trenta == extra large == 31 fl oz. (**be advised that not all locations offer this, only order this once you’ve gained a few exp. points and levelled up, k? (aka become a regular in at least one location) also if you consume this much caffeine you’ll likely be freakin’ jazzed)Now that lesson is out of the way, you’re ready to put together a basic order! With any drink, I usually opt for a Grande, or a Venti if I’m feelin’ spendy.

2. We be burnin’ (or nah, it’s up to you)

Do you want a hot, iced (cold – think like chocolate milk or iced coffee), or frozen (like a slushie) drink. You only have three options here, and whichever you choose will limit your choices accordingly.

3. Caffeine.

Self explanatory. When I was a wee lass I was terrified of caffeine, but second year of university forced me to suck up those fears, along several swigs of cold brew, in exchange for survival. I’ve been a changed woman ever since. But Starbucks does have some nice caffeine free options that I still reach for when I can actually afford to sleep.

4. Milk and Honey

Most drinks allow you to adjust the sweetness and choose your non-dairy drink of choice (Yes, they have dairy, but this is my blog so imma let my vegan bias shine and tell you to get something else – your body will thank you anyways).

Starbucks has a nice selection of almond, soy, or coconut milk for an extra 70 cents. However, if you order a grande-sized drink, or befriend your baristas, sometimes you get away without being charged which is neat. Personally, I like the almond milk. It doesn’t add a lot of sweetness, and it even ends up being less calories than the 2% milk.

For sweetness, Starbucks adds a classic syrup to pretty much all drinks. Three pumps of this syrup is added to a grande, and six is added to a venti. Typically, I find this to be too sweet for me so I tend to ask for half the sweetness in all my drinks unless I’m in the mood for it.

Alternatives to the classic syrup are pretty much anything they add to a Frappuccino – but Vanilla or Caramel syrup are safe bets for people new to Starbucks who still want to experiment. Simply say “Sub caramel” or “Sub vanilla” to substitute the classic for the syrup of choice.


This is my fave part of the post, right here, right now. I may not be able to tell you how to live your life, but I can tell you what to get from Starbs, which is kinda the same thing.

  1. Grande Pike Place Roast (aka a “Medium Coffee”)

    Pike Place is a medium roast, so it’s neither too strong nor too weak. Starbucks offers all the milks and sugars for you to use as you see fit (plus tons of fun and powder shakers, like cinnamon and chocolate) to tailor your drink as you wish.
    Perfect for: When you wanna be more basic than I am.

  2. Grande Vanilla Ice Coffee with Almond Milk, half-sweet (aka an Iced Coffee)

    This is my go-to. Seriously. It’s so darn good. And perfect for the daily. Note that I subbed the vanilla in instead of the classic. It really complements the almond milk nicely, and since it’s half-sweet, the bitterness of the coffee is present. A basic, cold drink with a subtle sweetness.
    Perfect for: When you wanna try to get to know who I am at the core of my being.

  3. Grande Mocha with Coconut Milk (aka Hot Chocolate, with espresso and notes of coconut)

    This is a nice, treat-yourself-drink for when you’re feeling a little cold and heartless. It has all the childhood comforts of hot-chocolate, with the adult comfort of espresso. The coconut milk is a great addition with literally ANYTHING mocha or chocolate-y because chocolate-coconut is just a winning combination. Besides, the chocolate Starbucks uses typically errs on the darker side, making it a little bitter, especially in conjunction with the espresso, so the coconut milk is a super sweet addition.
    Perfect for: When you catch a case of the feels late at night, but still need to be a productive human being because of work and adult shit.

  4. Grande Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino (aka a chocolate chip milkshake)

    So this was my first EVER beverage from Starbucks, and it remains a winner. In high school, this is the drink I told my friends about in attempt to get them to ride the Starbs Bandwagon with me. It usually worked. Even my mom loves this drink, and she is NOT a Starbucks fan. **PROTIP** A coffee frappuccino tastes just like an Ice Capp from Tim Hortons if you’re a transfer coffee-drinker.
    Perfect for: When you want to make someone happy, or make yourself happy. Or pretend your five years old for a few minutes – because who doesn’t want to be five again?

  5. Venti Peach Green Tea Lemonade (Basically juice)

    Could not round out a top-five without including one of the many options that don’t offer coffee. This drink also is a favourite, a summer classic, and essential key to unlocking happiness and manifesting your dreams. Truly. It is an iced bevy, so it’s cold and refreshing, with some tangy lemonade, peach syrup, and cold green tea.
    Perfect for: When your perusing expensive stores in a shopping mall OR taking a carefree stroll through a park and in need of something light and sweet to offset the heavy bitterness that may or may not have accumulated in your heart.

ANNNND THAT’S A WRAP. I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know your favourite drink and stay tuned for more ramblings from the fingertips of a bonafide Starbucks connoisseur.


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