The Dos and Don’ts of Starbucks

Life / Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

I take it that you’ve heard of this place before. Maybe once or twice in your life. If you’re lucky, you may have even stepped foot inside one. I’m talking about my unparalleled weakness: Starbucks.

Walking into one of their stores is an experience all in itself. You’ll see everyone from the sleep-deprived college student, to the hustling Wall Street businessman and barely-awake soccer mom. While standing in line to get a daily fix, most people are concerned about their busy schedule and rarely take into consideration their etiquette while ordering. After watching the frustration of the baristas behind the counter I took it upon myself to speak with them about their customer experiences.

Some moderate research and observation provoked me to come up with a compilation of acceptable and unacceptable customer behavior in Starbucks (or any coffee shop for that matter).


The Dos and Don’t of Starbucks  


  • Use the App
    • Who doesn’t love free drinks? With this app you can collect stars and the more stars you collect, the more rewards you get. When you first download the app you start at a point called the “green level”. From there you can work your way into “gold level” and rack in more benefits. The app doesn’t stop at the rewards. You can also track your favorite drinks, browse the menu and order from your phone through mobile pay (you get to skip the line!). Check out some more of my favorite applications in my article, Lifesaving Apps!
  • Know your order before getting in line
    • Nothing is more infuriating than being caffeine deprived and having to wait behind someone who is taking their sweet sweet time with their order. Instead of Snapchatting all your BFFs in line, make sure you’ve glanced at the menu for long enough to decide on what you would like to purchase. And please, if you still find yourself in an indecisive state, step aside and let someone else order.
  • Come with a recipe
    • The Starbucks “secret menu” is definitely not a secret, but just because it is well known doesn’t mean your barista knows how to create every drink. For example, how is an employee supposed to know how to make a Blackberry Cobbler Frappuccino? (yes that’s apparently real) With all the options available, the secret menu has the potential to be infinite. I’m not here to tell you that you can’t order from the secret menu. All I’m saying is that you need to help out your barista by also providing the recipe for the drink.


  • Talk/type on your phone while ordering
    • For the love of baby Jesus, please put your phone down while ordering. I was speaking to my barista last evening and she could not put into words how disrespected she felt when someone couldn’t even make eye contact with her while completing their order. Everyone has a busy schedule, but your email can wait 20 seconds. I promise.
  • Stand and watch the barista make your drink
    • Have you ever thought about what animals in the zoo feel like with beady eyes constantly staring at them? I can’t imagine it’s a pleasant feeling. Starbucks employees go through weeks of training before being allowed to create drinks on their own so you can be pretty certain that they know what they are doing. If worst comes to worst and your precious order is messed up, any Starbucks employee will happily recreate your drink free of charge.
  • Ask the barista to surprise you
    • The menu at Starbucks is extensive to say the very least. Not to mention, there are infinite ways to tailor your drink to your liking. It is tough for baristas to read your mind so if you really must ask the for a “surprise” at least give them some direction (fruity, sweet, creamy, etc.).


Honestly, navigating the world of Starbucks is not extremely complicated. Thankfully, the rules outlined in this article are basic rules of etiquette. Unfortunately, too many people become so entrenched in their own lives that they ignore the lives of those around them. Your baristas work hard. Next time you’re in give them an extra big “thank you”.

All the best


2 Replies to “The Dos and Don’ts of Starbucks”

    1. Thank you, Jay! I’m going to guess your a skinny vanilla latte kind of guy? I’m correct, aren’t I?

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