Starbucks isn't just a coffee shop, it's a way of life. Yet that delicious caffeine habit can definitely add up over time. Elevate your coffee game by following these genius tips, tricks and insider secrets to help get the most out of your Starbucks run.
Jazz Up An Order On The Cheap
We all know that Starbuck’s menu is super customizable, but ordering off the menu doesn’t have to get expensive. You can add an shot of syrup for a measly additional $0.50 (price differs by location), so get creative! Try a shot of mint in your hot cocoa, or some raspberry in that iced green tea or some caramel in that classic cup of joe (saves money and calories)!
Get A French Press To Share With Friends (And Save!)
Or your caffeine addicted self (no judgements here). French press is a simple but very tasty way to order your coffee, and you can order the whole pot to enjoy in store. Plus you’ll be paying only half the cost compared to if everyone ordered their own cup.
There’s Another Size (And It Can Help You Save Money)
No, it’s not the trenta (though you can fit an entire bottle of wine in that bad boy). It’s the short! Coming in at 8 oz, you can get a cheaper drink, but that doesn’t always mean less caffeine. If you order a short cappuccino, it will have the same amount of espresso as the tall version.
Treat The Kids Without The Caffeine Or Sugar
Mommy’s coffee break might turn into a nightmare when you have anxious kids wanting drinks they definitely shouldn’t have, a but one former barista has laid out some kid-friendly options besides letting your 5-year-old slurp down a caffeine and sugar laden concoction. Try a babyccino or a fun raspberry Italian soda, or learn a clever way to order a caffeine-free version if they just have to have that caramel Frappuccino.
Also Treat Your Pup
Adorably called the Puppy Latte or the Puppiccino, your dog can now be just as excited to go to Starbucks as you are. This “drink” is just a sample cup fill with whipped cream, but the best part is it’s completely free! Your pup will thank you in sticky kisses.
How Those Free Refills Really Work
As long as you have a registered Starbucks card (and really, you should if you go to Starbucks ever), then you can get free refills on tall iced coffee, tall iced or hot tea, or a tall brewed coffee of the day. Still without the card it’s only $0.50 per refill. But the key here is that you don’t have to order any of those items to qualify. You can order any tall beverage (like your beloved white mocha), just remember the refills only apply to the drinks listed above. Also, this offer is only good in-store (aka no drive-thru), and once you walk out the door, those refill privileges are revoked.
Get Your Coffee In A Larger Cup (Hint: It’ll Save You Money)
If your barista has ever asked to save room for milk and you say yes, you are really just shorting yourself. Or if you try to add milk yourself to your already full cup and spill some of that precious coffee out, you’re once again shorting yourself. Say if your grande coffee costs $2.65, and you spill out one-sixth each time, that’s about $3 a week (or $150 in a year) that you’re literally pouring down the drain. Going bigger helps save, plus makes it much easier to speed-walk to work without spilling.
Save On A Frappuccino With A Friend
If you and a pal are both craving a light mocha frapp, forgo ordering two talls and instead get a venti and split it into two tall cups to help save a few bucks. But be sure to split it yourselves, as if you ask the barista to do it they will charge you for the two talls.
Bring Your Own (Or A Competitor’s) Cup And Save
So maybe saving $0.10 might seem like much, but if you have a serious daily Starbucks habit, bringing your own cup could save you about $36 in a year. Plus it doesn’t even have to be a travel mug. If you bring in a competitor’s paper cup (say Dunkin’ Donuts), Starbucks will offer to replace it with one of their cups but still give you the discount!
How To Avoid Getting “Decaffed”
While it does taste good, one of the biggest reasons we all drink coffee is for the caffeine. Yet according to one barista, who wished to remain anonymous, being especially rude or hostile will earn you a decaf drink (that you don’t know about). And you may be shocked to learn how often this happens: “We decaf a person at least a few times an hour.” Moral of the story: be nice to your barista.
Get A Cheaper Chai Tea Latte (And Learn The Policy On Milk)
Ok, so this won’t be exactly the same as if you ordered the chai tea latte, but it’s still good and a whole lot cheaper. Simply ask for a hot chai tea (nearly half the price!) and add your own milk (at the condiment bar or at home). Another bonus is way less sugar and calories. If you’re missing that frothiness of the latte, you can ask the barista for steamed milk with your tea. Starbucks will allow up to one and half inches of milk (cold or steamed) to be added to any drink for free, so be sure to specify only a little bit.
Or Get Any Latte Cheaper (No Shame)
Also known as the poor man’s latte, you can pay almost half the amount of a regular latte by simply ordering three espresso shots over ice in a venti cup (or forgo the ice for a hot drink). Then head over to the condiment bar and add your own milk, sweetener, and even a sprinkle of flavor. Don’t fear being judged though, as one anonymous barista said, “We can’t do anything about. What are we going to say? Don’t use our milk and syrups that we put out for everyone?”
Be Sure To Check The Bag You Buy At The Grocery Store
You may be aware that many bags of Starbucks coffee sold in grocery stores comes with a sticker containing a code for a free reward star. But you may not know that some bags have a special code on them that you can redeem for a free small hot or iced coffee! If you find such a gem, simply bring in the empty bag and enjoy your free cup of joe.
Put Down The Bottled Water
Getting a good cup of coffee or tea all starts with the water. Starbucks triple-filters theirs, so you know it’s the good stuff. And it’s completely free! So skip the expensive bottled water in the cooler section and get one as you order.
Get Whatever You Want On Your Birthday
Seriously, if you’re not part of the rewards program at Starbucks, why are you even going?! It’s completely free to register and you get many awesome perks along the way, including a special treat on your birthday! This can apply to any food or drink option, but really, this is the time to finally order that venti caramel Frappuccino with 2 shots mocha, 2 shots vanilla, 4 extra shots of espresso, extra whip, caramel drizzle around the inside of the cup, extra caramel and a mocha drizzle on top.
How To Get The Most Out Of That Free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is great, especially at a place like Starbucks which has long been a hub for students and work away from the office types. Yet the company does have a two-hour limit for free Wi-Fi use. The get around that, try going to the same store, get to know the baristas and most importantly, tip them well. As long as you don’t hoard the best spot or take loud calls inside, workers will peacefully let you be as long as you like.