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Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures

Starbucks Hacks: 7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Ask for at Starbucks

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | Jul 14, 2014 10:07 AM

Six-thirty in the morning. Let's be honest, you really don't know what time it is, nor really care; it's a gut feeling. Your eyes haven't adjusted to the obnoxious red numbers that accompany your awful ear-wrenching alarm. You fumble on your work-appropriate threads in a haze. One might say you look like a zombie. Instead of moaning "braaains," you murmur "coffeeee…."

Face it, we've all been there. The whole, we don't really "see" anything until we've had our morning coffee. It's impolite to discuss our current state, and don't even bother to attempt to strike up a conversation. However, we've done this so many times that our coffee has become necessity. It's almost instinctual that it's taboo to not follow this morning ritual.


Photo by d'n'c on Flickr

So, you walk up to the register at Starbucks. Before you even blink an eye, your mouth magically get up enough energy to muster your order. "I'll have a tall low-fat soy mocha frappuccino with a double shot of espresso, whipped cream and yeah, I'll take some extra chocolate drizzle, please." Without flinching, you manage to fork up the same amount of cash. Every morning: same drink, different day.

Instead of falling under the same routine, add a little spring in your step by trying something different with your coffee. Just like any good java stop, they are there to help you create something that is made-to-order and made-to-please. So, if you're feeling a little spontaneous, try one of these 7 Starbucks hacks on for size.

1. Avoid the Burn

Okay, one of the worst wake up calls is a scorched tongue and mouth from scalding hot coffee. If you're afraid of this potential blunder, ask for a "kids temperature" cup o' Joe. They will serve you a more temperate cup at a pleasant 135 degrees. This way, you'll get to take the time and enjoy your caffeine fix without the fear of getting a burn. Plus, at this temp, you can experience the full blend of flavors and discuss it like the coffee connoisseur you know you are.

2. Off-Menu Sizes

Strapped for cash? While it's not on their menu, you can order a "short" coffee. This is slightly smaller than the tall and less expensive. If you just need a small pick-me-up, this is the perfect cup to wake you up. Add your favorite syrup and you're good to go. On the other hand, if you feel that you can't get enough of that Starbucks stuff, go for the Trenta. With a name like that, 31 ounces is a really tall order. This is perfect for iced coffees, so you can get more of what you love.

3. Get a Press

Maybe you aren't satisfied with just one cup of coffee to  jumpstart your day. Go ahead and order the French Press in any coffee style you choose. You'll be guaranteed fresh brewed coffee and what's more? You don't have to share. This is the best option, especially if you have some downtime with your laptop or doing work remotely.

4. Indulge in Your Whipped Cream Addiction

Do your eyes go wide when your barista asks you if you'd like whipped cream? Are you disappointed because it's so short lived? You can indeed ask for extra whipped cream, for free! Just know that you will have to sacrifice a bit of coffee to fulfill your dreams. You need to fit that whipped cream in there somewhere! Or, ask for a larger sized cup and double the whipped creamy goodness. If you're feeling really brave, try the "super cream" frappuccino that has whipped cream blended into it for your sweet tooth.


Photo by kiuko on Flickr

5. Upgrade Your Tea

Chai lattes are so underrated. They are the best of both worlds: the consistency of coffee with the sweet flavor of tea. Yum. If you really don't like your drink too sweet and you're on a budget, order chai teabags and add hot milk for 60 cents. Or, you can try the Chai Tea Misto with extra foam and add two teabags, cinnamon and vanilla syrup for a latte fix. If you're feeling adventurous, try my personal favorite, the Green Tea Soy Latte. They may look like a liquid green mush, but the flavor is out of this world.

6. Down a “Happy Shot”

Forget Jell-O shots and liquor, this shot is one that will pick you up, not slow you down. Ask your barista for two shots of your favorite syrup in a short cup. Then, ask them to add two shots of espresso and a little cream to cool it down. Then, cheers to a good day and take this baby like an alcoholic shot. Talk about an instant rush!

7. Get Your PSL Fix, Anytime

When fall comes around, everyone is dying to get in line for a PSL, or Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's basically the talk of the town. So, what happens when Starbucks runs out at the end of the season? Yes, I've been in line for this tragedy before. However, there is a loophole that tastes almost like the real thing. If you find yourself out of luck, try one pump of chai and a pump of white chocolate mocha syrup. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Keep in mind that your end goal is to get your coffee fix and face the day. However, every once in a while we need a break from routine. We find ourselves like robots, mindlessly passing through life, not really tasting and enjoying our coffee. Instead, try one of these hacks for a tasty, less expensive, or just plain different approach to your normal Starbucks fare. Don't forget to tip your barista if they really make you something special!

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