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The Best Coffee Drinks From Starbucks From An Ex-Barista

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

As a Starbucks enthusiast, I have tried many drinks, and as a former Starbucks barista, I was lucky enough to try out different combinations and see what I liked best. Listed below I have five of my favorite coffee orders as well as some non-coffee favorites. The following are my personal preferences, but of course, you can tailor these drinks to suit your taste buds.

Pumpkin cream cold brew

During the autumn season, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is my go-to. I am obsessed with the pumpkin cold foam. However, I have a theory that over the years the recipe has changed. To me, the drink tastes less like pumpkin than it has in the past. Now, I normally ask for extra pumpkin sauce — typically three pumps. A new feature on the Starbucks app I adore is being able to add extra pumpkin cream cold foam. If you love extra cold foam too, this can now be requested online. Additionally, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew fits the Gilmore Girls vibe I am using to romanticize this fall. I find the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew itself to be aesthetically pleasing with the pumpkin spice topping powdered on top of the foam. Although this drink is cold brew, the cold foam on top makes it much less bitter. If the idea of cold brew scares you, I would still give this drink a shot!

Brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso

My next go-to when the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is out of season would have to be the Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso. Brown sugar also reminds me of the fall season, but this drink is perfect all year round. The shaken espressos are all iced, which I prefer, but is something to be mindful of if you try to order it hot. I have had my fair share of customers tell me that they want it hot when in reality no one should be shaking hot espresso. If you want this drink hot I would order a brown sugar oat milk latte. The only difference is that the shaken espresso is shaken with ice and cinnamon to give it that foamy consistency. This is a drink I would recommend to my fellow coffee lovers as it has brown sugar syrup but is not super sweet. The shots are blonde espresso making the drink lighter than a typical latte. This drink is also a good price if you like to order oat milk without having the additional cost of adding syrup and non-dairy milk.

Iced white mocha

Next up is the Iced White Mocha. Honestly, I never ordered this drink before I started working at Starbucks. I would occasionally order the regular hot Cafe Mocha, which I also recommend. While working, I noticed a lot of customers would order this drink and dress it up with a lot of add-ons such as caramel drizzle and vanilla sweet cream cold foam. One day I saw a customer order a drink that looked really good, it was without a doubt an $8 drink with all its add-ons. There was caramel drizzle, cold foam, and caramel crunches on it. I knew I had to try it, so after my shift, I copied it exactly and I ended up loving it. By itself, the iced white mocha is sweet without all the add-ons. Since the white mocha is a sauce rather than a syrup the consistency is thicker. If you have a free drink or you’re the type to experiment with all sorts of combinations, I would recommend this one with add-ons. Whether you order it hot or iced, the drink normally comes with whipped cream but you can specify if you don’t want any.

Look how good!
Sugar cookie almond milk latte

The Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte is a holiday favorite of mine. This year’s Starbucks winter drinks will be out on Nov. 2. I know it feels like fall just started, but winter is just around the corner. This drink is adorable with its red and green sprinkles on top resembling everything Christmas. The sugar cookie syrup reminds me of the Pillsbury Christmas cookies we all love. The blonde espresso makes the drink more sweet and light. This drink comes hot or iced and is delicious either way. If you like to indulge in iced drinks even in the freezing cold — this one’s for you. Adding on vanilla sweet cream cold foam honesty makes this drink so much better and it makes the sprinkles more apparent. Or if you prefer hot, the sprinkles will still be there, they’ll just be covered by the lid! This is also another drink where the syrup and non-dairy milk are baked into the price so you’re not paying for a ton of add-ons.

blonde vanilla latte

Lastly, a more basic drink that I like to get is the Blonde Vanilla Latte. Sometimes I will get it with oat milk or regular 2% milk if I don’t feel like adding an additional charge. This is a classic and reliable drink for any season. Hot or iced this drink never fails to make me down the whole cup. This drink isn’t too sweet but is fairly light due to the blonde espresso and vanilla.

Non-coffee drinks

Despite discussing coffee drinks from Starbucks, I have a few non-coffee recommendations. I personally have not tried all of these but have heard from others that the following non-coffee drinks are amazing: Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, Iced Brown Sugar Matcha Latte with vanilla sweet cream cold foam, and for the summer months, the Strawberry Acai Lemonade. The only one I have tried is the Strawberry Acai Lemonade and it is the perfect summery drink, filled with strawberry pieces, and it is a cute pink color! If you enjoy lemonade I would recommend this one, and if you like matcha or chai, the previous drinks that I’ve mentioned are worth a try.

final thoughts

If you’re a Starbucks fanatic like me, I hope to have inspired you to try a new drink you’ll love. If you have a free drink never be shy to order as many add-ons as you want, you get as many as you desire for no additional cost! My favorite add-ons would have to be caramel crunch, cinnamon dolce sprinkles, caramel drizzle, and of course vanilla sweet cream cold foam.

Emily is the Facebook Chair of Her Campus UConn. Emily is a junior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Communication. She enjoys writing for entertainment about fashion and lifestyle. Additionally, she loves to give advice on topics such as career and self-love. Emily has had multiple internships related to marketing and social media. She has interned for a vegan pizza company, a NYC fashion show, and her latest internship at LKPR where she dove into public relations related to toy companies. When Emily is not writing articles she might be listening to the Lumineers, grabbing a pumpkin cream cold brew, or thrifting.