What Is Starbucks’ Secret Menu, and How Do Baristas Really Feel About It?

Updated: Oct. 31, 2023

Starbucks baristas are ready to be honest about your "secret menu" drink requests.

What is Starbucks’ secret menu? Well, it’s all but secret nowadays. This unofficial collection of drinks are often new recipes created by regular, everyday customers trying to make something more with Starbucks’ core ingredients. Just mutter the words, and you’ll have everyone telling you their favorite “TikTok Starbucks hack.”

But what does this mean for your local baristas, and what can you do to make ordering easier? Here’s what Starbucks baristas want you to know before ordering off the secret menu.

Why the Secret Menu Can Create Issues

Your Barista Won’t Always Know What You’re Talking About

My good friend Stephanie Ramirez worked as a Starbucks partner for many years, and she had her grievances with the secret menu. According to her, “It’s annoying when they call it by its secret menu name. It’s annoying when they don’t know what goes into the drinks. More than half the time when they see these trending videos, people tell them how to order it, and then when they go they just say they want ‘that one TikTok drink.’ We don’t know what you’re talking about. Tell us what is in it.”

Customers Only Know the Name of the Drink

“It’s not making the drink I have a problem with, it’s customers who just give me some random name of some random drink that I’ve never heard of and expects me to know how to make it. I don’t mind making secret menu drinks, as long as they actually give the recipe for the drink.” –u/Condomonium

Customers Aren’t Always Polite

“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if you are nice and ask me politely to make you something else, I’ll do it. Come back and get huffy with me about a drink you ordered and I’ll be sooooo mad. Even during happy hour, I will be the most pleasant person in the world if you say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.” –u/kayser3207

Here are the friendly habits Starbucks employees secretly dislike.

People Become Upset with Baristas for Following Rules

“Partners don’t mind making it, but they also have to know if they’re trying to do a ‘hack’ for less. Sometimes these hacks don’t work, like when people order shots of espresso over ice and think it will come topped with milk. It’s not a latte, we aren’t allowed to top it off. Order a latte if you want that, [and] don’t get mad at the barista for doing their job to standards,” Stephanie mentioned when talking about customers trying to get pricier drinks for less.

Customers Get Upset When Ingredients Go Out of Stock

Regarding the recent shortage in drink ingredients, Stephanie said, “[Starbucks] expanded their menu and then had stores running out of items constantly which led to upset people.” If you’re ordering complicated, off-menu drinks, expect that the store might simply not be prepared with the ingredients for it.

How to Order Off the Secret Menu

Your local Starbucks baristas already have a lot to deal with, but you can make it easier. Know the exact recipe of the drink you’re aiming for—the name won’t always do the trick. Use the mobile app to create your drink so the barista can see exactly what you’re asking for, and try to avoid the drive-thru during rush hours like mornings or lunches.

And, of course, please don’t become upset when your Starbucks is out of certain ingredients or cannot make your drink. Being polite to food workers is important and incredibly easy. Follow these simple suggestions and soon, you’ll be enjoying your “secret menu” drink with no hassle at all!

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