Kim Foster
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How To Order A Coffee At Starbucks

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I don’t make it much of a secret that I love Starbucks. I think they put out a superb product and I have always had excellent experiences with their service. (Coffee not quite hot enough? Here, have a coupon for a free drink next time. Had to wait a few minutes too long? Coupon.)

Much of my first novel (and the sequel, in progress as we speak…) was written in Starbucks. In fact, I thank them in my acknowledgments for sharing their office space with me. Plus, my story is mostly set in Seattle (including one scene within a Starbucks cafe), so…well, you get the picture. Maybe I should approach Starbucks for sponsorship.

Anyway, today, with 6 days to go before book launch, I’m going to do a little primer on ordering the heavenly liquid known as coffee, from my favorite coffee people.


Decision The First:


It’s impossible for me to discuss coffee sizes without including this hilarious clip from the movie Role Models.


If you’re as confused as Paul Rudd, here you go:

  • Want a small coffee? Ask for short.
  • Want a medium coffee? Ask for tall.
  • Want a large coffee? Ask for grande.
  • Want an extra large coffee? Ask for venti (20 oz! Venti means twenty, people.)

Decision The Second:

Brewed coffee…or something a little more fancy-schmancy?

I usually drink good ol’ brewed coffee. Especially if they’re brewing Caffe Verona that day (love). But occasionally I treat myself to something different. Your exotic options, beyond brewed coffee, include:

Americano. A shot or two of espresso, with hot water to fill the cup.

Latte. Steamed milk and espresso mixed together, with just a very light layer of foam on top.

Espresso. Just a straight-up shot of espresso. With a nice layer of crema on top, if they’ve done it right.

Macchiato. Steamed milk, then hot espresso poured through the center of the frothy layer so it mixes and forms a “mark” on the top of the foam (hence the term Macchiato, which means “marked” in Italian. See–you’re learning something, right?) At Starbucks, they top their Macchiato off with a crosshatch of caramel or other flavored syrup.

Cappuccino. Espresso topped with a thick layer of dense foam.

Mocha. Hot chocolate mixed with espresso, topped with whipped cream.

Decision The Third:

Personal touches and individual tailoring.

Here’s where things become complicated, and where you get to sound like a high-maintenance princess at the coffee counter. Especially if you order multiple modifications.

Vary the caffeine. Every espresso drink can be made decaf or half-caff.

Ask for “room”. Which means you want room to add your own milk or cream.

Request nonfat. Other milk choices: 2% or whole milk.

Opt for soy. Soy milk, that is. Although why anyone would want to muck up their coffee this way is totally beyond me.

Add a flavor. There is a bewildering number of flavored syrups to spice up your coffee concoction: cinnamon dolce, caramel, hazelnut…and some of them come sugar-free, offering even more customization.

Top it with whip. Or not. Or, if you want just a little whipped cream, ask for “easy whip”.

Truth be told there are way more modifications you can make (double shot, extra hot…) but I’m feeling a little exhausted. I think I need a coffee…

PS. Did you know I’m doing a giveaway contest on June 6, book launch day? True story. Click below for the details.


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Kim Foster writes YA and adult books about thieves, spies, and assassins. (Read More)

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