The daunting question: What should I order at Starbucks?


About once a week, I’ll receive a frantic text message from one of my friends along the lines of, “SOS: in line at Starbucks. What should I order?” Now I don’t want to say I’m the guru of ordering, but I know my way around a grande mocha with soy if that’s something you’re interested in. Many students reluctantly pick up the same one or two coffee orders each time they frequent a Starbucks only because it can be too intimidating to try something new. Those stuck in a caffeinated rut, fear not. Starbucks is a judgment-free zone, much like my recently watched queue on Netflix, and the whole premise of the coffee chain is to be adventurous and creative. My ordering suggestions follow these guiding principles.

A green tea latte is this summer’s “it” drink, not only for its delicious sweet taste, but for its powerful health benefits. A Starbucks green tea latte consists of lightly sweetened matcha green tea and combined with milk and ice. Matcha is green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. One serving of matcha tea is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea because when you drink matcha, you ingest the entire leaf and receive 100 percent of the nutrients of the leaf. This drink is better with soy milk and unsweetened – typically the standard green tea latte comes hot and with added sugar. Try it iced for a pre-class thirst quencher on a hot North Carolina day.

An Americano is like coffee 101 for those who settle for a vanilla Frappuccino because they think all coffee is bitter and strong. The drinks origins are found in Europe, where coffee is simply a tiny cup of espresso that looks, to many Americans, as if it is meant to be served to an American girl doll. Espresso was deemed too little coffee for Americans, so an Americano is that same bold, often bitter espresso with added filtered water. Sounds odd? I agree. Delicious? You bet. An Americano is the best way to show that you too can order a European-sounding drink without that uncomfortable moment when you realize coffee tastes like congealed dirt.

A skinny vanilla latte is my go-to drink (with soy, of course) because Starbucks is just so consistent with it. Every barista knows how to make one the same exact way. I get mine with soy, and if it’s going to be a late night of studying I’ll have the barista pull another shot for me. The term “skinny vanilla” means you will get sugar-free vanilla syrup and skim milk – one phrase for two specifications. Starbucks is all about streamlining that order process. Not all lattes are available with sugar-free syrup, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

In short, it’s not going to benefit anyone if you play it safe with your Starbucks order. Even if your first time ordering a new drink leaves a bit to be desired, the fluidity will come later. The perfect drink? That’s the immediate gratification.

Campus Chronicle
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