11 Off-Menu Drinks Starbucks Baristas Make For Themselves

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
At this point we all know there is no Starbucks secret menu. But with tens of thousands of possible off-menu drink combinations, resulting beverages can range from delightful (last summer’s buzzy Pink Drink) to utterly baffling (why would anyone willfully drink something unofficially dubbed Baby Vomit?)

To unlock the best of the endless flavor combos, we're turning to the experts. Stocked with a seemingly endless variety of caffeine, milk, and syrup, Starbucks baristas whip up both standard and special drinks daily. They’ve tasted the delicious and the distressing, and, if you ask nicely, they might let you in on their favorites.

Just remember when you order off menu, there’s a protocol. To win points with your barista, says one New York-based Starbucks supervisor, order by recipe instead of by the unofficial name that you may have seen online or heard about from a friend. When requesting the cotton candy frappuccino you spotted on Pinterest, for example, list the ingredients — tall vanilla bean frappuccino with one pump raspberry — to avoid any confusion.

Check out the off-menu blends Starbucks baristas from across the country love to drink, (unsurprisingly, no one mentioned Baby Vomit) and next time you stop into the ubiquitous coffee shop, ask yours. Who knows, you might just discover the next #PinkDrink.
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"The Undertow"
2 or 3 pumps of your desired flavor syrup (I recommend vanilla, caramel or cinnamon dolce)
Slow poured half and half 1-2 oz.
Single or a double shot of espresso (floated over the half and half)

“Across the country, partners enjoy the Undertow. Before we unlock the doors it is common for the supervisor and the barista to chug one together to put some pep in their step. The drink should be consumed immediately so the temperature doesn't cool, or the shots settle. When this drink is made properly and chugged quickly you should feel a swirl of warm and cool then sweet in your mouth, hence the name Undertow.” — Samantha, New York
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"The Slutty Pumpkin"
Grande Chai Latte
2 shots espresso
3 pumps pumpkin sauce

“My friend and I named it after the character on [the TV show] How I Met Your Mother.” — Becca, Nashville, Tennessee
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"Venti Toffeedoodle Frappuccino"
1 1/2 pumps Toffee Nut Syrup
1 1/2 pumps Vanilla Bean Syrup
1 1/2 pumps White Mocha Syrup
1/2 pump Hazelnut Syrup
Heavy cream
Top with a Toffeedoodle cookie

“The Starbucks toffeedoodle cookie — a snickerdoodle topped with buttery toffee — puts it over the top in a good way.” — Conner, Pennsylvania
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"Cheggnog Latte"
Chai Latte
Eggnog flavor

“I get excited every year when the eggnog flavor returns.” — Amanda, Southern California
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"English Breakfast Tea Latte"
English breakfast tea with steamed milk
Syrup (optional)

“I like my tea with steamed milk. Technically you can ask to turn any tea into a latte, but the chai latte gets the most attention.” — Tracy, New York
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"Vanilla Latte Hack"
Tall iced coffee
1 pump vanilla syrup
Add cream

“It tastes like one of the $5 jobs, but it's really only the price of a tall regular coffee.” — Molly, Florida8
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha
Tall White Chocolate Mocha
2 pumps raspberry syrup

“The White Chocolate Mocha is great on its own, but a little raspberry syrup is a nice sweet-tart addition.” — Kate, Virginia
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"Oprah Chai Latte"
Chai latte made with a Teavana chai tea bag instead of the chai tea concentrate
1 pump vanilla syrup

“If this tea is good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for me.” — Rob, Southern California
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"Pumpkin Spice Smoothie"
Whole milk
5-6 pumps of Pumpkin Spice Sauce
Protein powder

“We have strawberry smoothies and chocolate smoothies, but when it’s available each year I love to add pumpkin spice for a seasonal spin." — Steph, Dallas, Texas
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
"Short Flat White"
Ristretto espresso shots with steamed milk
Add 1 shot agave

“We offer agave as an oatmeal topping, so most people wouldn't know that they can ask for it in a drink at no charge.” — Samantha, New York
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Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
Chai Apple Juice
Tall Apple Juice
3 pumps Chai Concentrate

“The cinnamon, ginger, and other spices in the chai give plain apple juice a boost.” — Christina, Pennsylvania
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