Financially, going to Starbucks isn’t the savviest of coffee-related decisions. I know it, you know it. But sometimes we need professional advice to come to terms with the world’s great rip-offs. Fortunately, Insider recently interviewed a Starbucks barista who shared the biggest scams on the menu.
First things first: if you’re going for quantity, iced coffee is a bad idea. Former barista Alexa Blay told Insider that ordering an iced drink rather than a hot beverage usually means you get less coffee for your money. “With the exception of the venti size, the iced drinks aren’t as good of a value as the hot drinks because the ice takes up so much space,” Blay said. You can, however, ask your barista for “light ice,” which is a fun trick. Blay also recommended the coffee Frappuccino, which she says tastes like a standard coffee with cream and sugar but offers more product than the iced variation.
Another scam: Starbucks’ selection of hot teas. As Blay explains, the teas aren’t made with any special equipment or finesse, so it’s way cheaper to just brew your own. However, if you buy your tea with a Starbucks card or via the mobile app, it’s eligible for free refills. Keep that in mind if you’re posting up in a shop for the day.
Blay also advised against the hot chocolate at Starbucks, which she says is “just milk and chocolate syrup.” Finally, she discouraged customers from purchasing the bottled drinks at Starbucks stores. “The bottled drinks in the cold case are all a bad value relative to the drinks you can have made fresh for you,” Blay said. “I always opt for a freshly made drink at Starbucks.”
The menu isn’t all bad; Blay also shared some of her favorite drink orders from the chain, including the caramel macchiato and the Starbucks chai latte. See the full list of the good, the bad, and the pricey on Insider.