What This Real Life Barista Actually Orders From Starbucks: Budget Edition

I’ve worked as a barista for almost two years now, so I consider myself qualified to officially start telling you what to order on your next coffee run. I’ve tried every drink, told you my prefered tea blend and now have finally compiled a list of my personal favorite Starbucks beverages. This article isn’t a secret menu consisting of drinks that I whip together for myself during shifts. Unfortunately these types of fancy beverages can cost up to $10 (free drink rewards are life saving). Instead, here’s a list of my go to Starbucks basics which in the Grande size won’t cost you more than $5.

For something cold

Iced Caramel Macchiato

Some love to hate this cool layered drink because they don’t think a macchiato should be served where the first sip is from the bottom where the straw reaches, but screw them. This drink is a Starbucks classic for a reason. You get notes of vanilla in the milk on the bottom, the occasional drip of caramel and the strong espresso to top it off. It’s so great. Helpful hint: If you don’t love it, give it a stir to even out the flavor like a latte.

Chai tea latte

Before I learned to drink coffee and espresso, you could find my childhood self indulging in this beverage on coffee runs and recently I’ve realized why little me loved it so much. A chai tea latte is like getting a hug from grandma. It smells a little like potpourri and it’s incredibly soothing and sweet. Perfect if you hate espresso but still want something that packs caffeine.

For something hot

Peppermint White Mocha

You can find me drinking this for the entire month of December for a reason. The peppermint white mocha, as my coworker once described it, tastes like Santa Clause in a cup. Although it’s available year round, I prefer to make this sweet, creamy concoction my holiday treat. It seriously tastes like peppermint bark and can spread Christmas cheer better than Buddy the Elf.

French Vanilla cappuccino

I love milk foam. My coworkers constantly give me hell for making myself the foamiest drinks ever, but I don’t care. Truly, it’s like guilt free whipped cream which is why a cappuccino is my go to drink. I love the French Vanilla the most because it ties in nutty flavors with the sweetness of vanilla. A cappuccino is also a far lighter option to a latte as the milk has far less density within the cup. It’s light, it’s sweet and it will wake you up...kind of like a puppy!

For a morning pick me up

Cafe Misto

The Misto is equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. It’s like a stronger version of a latte but without as much milk which cuts calories if that’s what you’re seeking. I’ll sometimes make mine lightly sweetened, but take whatever route you want here.

Iced Americano

This drink is like an iced latte, but instead of milk, there’s water. It may sound a bit nasty at first, but don’t knock it until you try it! Absolutely nothing wakes me up on hot summer mornings like an iced Americano and keeps me energized all day long.

For teas and refreshers

Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade

Another Starbucks classic that I absolutely love. The tanginess of the lemonade perfectly balances the bitterness of green tea and the sweetness of peach. The green tea will also seriously give you an antioxidant boost- you can’t go wrong!

Iced Passion Tea, Unsweetened

I’m not a fan of sweet drinks (although this list may show otherwise), which makes this another go to of mine. I love the taste of passion tea and have often recommended it to customers over other fan favorites. But if you like a little sweetness, ask for half the pumps of classic syrup.

Well, that’s it folks. The best and simplest drinks. Sometimes less is more!