A Guide to Starbucks Lingo and the Secret Menu


Starbucks has their own unique way of naming their drinks and items. Their cup sizes can be confusing for some. Having worked there for so long, this is what I typically get:

Customer: Can I get a small coffee of the day?

Barista: Sure, so you want a tall drip.

Customer: No, I want the small coffee.

Barista: Yes, the tall is a small.

Customer: ???

If this was one of your experiences while getting coffee there, you are not alone. I am going to give you a list of Starbucks lingo to learn so that by the time you finish this article, you become a Starbucks lingo expert.

Hot Cup Sizes
Hot Cup Sizes
Cold Cup Sizes
Cold Cup Sizes

Starbucks Cup Sizes

Starbucks has its own lingo for sizes.

For the hot cups, we have:

  • Short 8 oz cup
  • Tall 12 oz cup
  • Grande 16 oz cup
  • Venti 20 oz cup

For the cold cups, we have:

  • Tall 12 oz cup
  • Grande 16 oz cup
  • Venti 24 oz cup
  • Trenta 30 oz cup

Notice how tall means small. Their medium is grande. The venti is large. For the cold cups, the extra-large is trenta. It isn't too bad once you get familiar with the sizes.

Drinks With Special Names

There are also plenty of drinks that have unique names. Let me give you the most common ones.


This means a regular cup of coffee. The usual way of ordering is "Can I get a Tall/Grande/Venti drip?

Red Eye

Red eye is a regular cup of coffee with an added espresso shot.

Black Eye

The big brother of red eye. A black eye has two espresso shots in a regular cup of coffee.


The fancy version of light roasted coffee. Veranda and Willow blend come to mind. Can I have a blonde bombshell please?


The fancy version for black roasted coffee. The strongest and earthy tasting coffee such as Italian and Komodo Dragon comes to mind.


If you like the non-fat milk and sugar free syrups, this is the option to go. A skinny mocha or skinny vanilla latte will not taste as good, but it is definitely the healthier alternative.

Zebra Mocha

This is a mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate mix in a mocha drink. It could be a regular hot mocha, ice mocha or a mocha frappuccino.

Dirty Chai

This is a fancy term for ordering a Chai tea latte with an added espresso shot. It gives the drink a strong caffeine kick.

Old School Iced Black/Passion/Green Tea

Old school means the tea that they get comes with just plain tea and ice and no sweeteners or water added to it. It is a strong flavored tea.

Upside Down Caramel/Hazelnut Macchiato

Getting an upside down caramel or hazelnut macchiato means having the drink made the opposite way instead of the usual.

In the upside down version, the caramel or hazelnut sauce is put at the bottom of the cup and the shots are pulled right below to give the drink a sweeter taste. This is great for people that prefer a really sweet version of the drink.

Affogato Style Frappuccino

Affogato style means having the espresso shot pulled on top of the drink.

This is very common for Frappuccinos, where caffeine lovers enjoy a kick to the drink by having the shot pulled on top of the Frappuccino, giving a stronger taste to take away some of the sweetness.

Have you heard of the Starbucks Secret Menu?

  • Yes
  • No
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Starbucks Secret Menu Drinks

The secret menu drinks are not official drinks, so when you enter a Starbucks, don't expect them to know your drink when you tell them about it. I am just going to list down the things you tell them to have them make it correctly for you.

The number of syrup or scoops in the drinks for cold usually go by size.

Thin Mint Frappuccino

This is a green tea frappucino with java chips and chocolate syrup. It comes out to look like a funky greenish-brown colored drink. It is really good, even though the color might not be appealing to some.

  • To order, ask for 2/3/4 java chip scoops in a tall/grande/venti green tea frappuccino and have them top it off with chocolate syrup on top of the whipoed cream.

The Grasshopper Frappuccino

This is another different version of the green tea frappuccino. It has java chips and peppermint syrup in it. It tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream. Mint chocolate chip lovers, this is your drink!

  • To order, ask for a tall/grande/venti green tea frappuccino with 2/3/4 java chip scoops and 1/1/2 pumps of peppermint syrup.

Snickers Frappuccino

Invented after the chocolate bar Snickers, the Snickers frappuccino is made of toffee nut syrup, java chips and caramel drizzle on top. The amount of syrup varies depending on the size. It tastes just like the Snickers bar, albeit a beverage version!

  • To order, ask for a tall/grande/venti coffee frappuccino with 2/3/4 toffee nut syrup and java chips. Then add caramel sauce on the whipped cream.

Marble Mocha Macchiato(MMM)

Similar to the caramel macchiato, except that you put white mocha at the bottom, then milk and a shot on top and finish it off with mocha syrup. Delicious and yummy!

  • To order, ask for a caramel macchiato but substitute the vanilla syrup for white mocha syrup and have them pull the shots first and top it off with chocolate syrup.

Cookies and Creme Frappuccino

This is basically white mocha frappuccino with java chips and peppermint syrup.

  • To order it, ask for a tall/grande/venti white mocha frappuccino with 2/3/4 scoops of java chips and 1/1/2 pumps of peppermint syrup.

Grim Reaper

This drink tastes like peppermint ice cream. While it is delicious, it comes with a consequence. It is worth 1000 calories. It is only made in a venti cold cup.

  • Ask for a venti syrup creme frappucino made with heavy cream, 6 scoops of java chips, 6 scoops of vanilla bean and 6 scoops of peppermint. Delicious? Yes! Deadly? YES!

Captain Crunch

This is basically a strawberries and creme frappuccino with java chips and toffee nut syrup.

  • To order it, ask for a tall/grande/venti strawberries and creme frappuccino with 2/3/4 scoops of java chip and 1/1/2 pumps of toffee nut syrup.

Comments 14 comments

eya1234 12 days ago

is this applicable here in the philippines?

Carly Clark 6 months ago

This is so helpful! Is there a lingo term for lite ice that you know of?

organized living profile image

organized living 10 months ago from Magnolia, AR

Brilliant! I'm bookmarking this. The next time I go into the City I'm gonna show those hipsters a thing or two. Thanks from me and also from my wife who will now not have to intercede between me and any more wounded (only emotionally) baristas.

Keren Stepp 18 months ago

The PerryBerry is half Orange Valencia, half Hibiscus Blackberry in a Venti sized drink!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


Superb hub. Starbucks IS MY store. Coffee is my thing. Thanks for sharing this information.

This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, I can easily describe it as amazing.

I loved every word. Graphics were superb. This hub was helpful, informative and I found it very interesting.

Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

You have such a gift for writing. Keep the wonderful hubs coming.


Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

Buzztsb 2 years ago

I get the Tuxedo Grande.

Hikapo profile image

Hikapo 3 years ago from California Author

No problem! Thanks for reading!

Sally 3 years ago

Thank you I really appreciate the information :)

Hikapo profile image

Hikapo 3 years ago from California Author

Btw Nate, at my area they called the Chai Latte with 2 shots filthy Chai. Not the best name, but it tastes super strong.

Go try it! :D

NateB11 profile image

NateB11 3 years ago from California, United States of America

It's been years since I've been to Starbucks, but I used to go there regularly, especially when I was working at my old job. I had the sizes down pretty good; I always ordered a Venti Vanilla Latte. Once in a while I'd get a mocha or a frappuccino. I have not tried any of the selections you listed. Closest to it I've gotten is a Chai Latte; but I didn't get the dirty one with the espresso shot. We live in the same state, I should come to your job and try ordering one of these coffees. I'm joking.

Hikapo profile image

Hikapo 3 years ago from California Author

Yea, thanks for stopping by!

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Interesting. I only know enough to order a chai tea. As a non-coffee drinker, I'm amazed at how many different ways there is to drink it.

Hikapo profile image

Hikapo 3 years ago from California Author

Haha, thanks flagostomos. Blonde roasts are extremely acidic. Yes please! It makes the barista's job easier as well.

flagostomos profile image

flagostomos 3 years ago from Washington, United States

Drip used to be my favorite until the acid started bothering my stomach. I prefer Americanos these days. I like the hub, I'm gonna print it off and give it to the next person in front of me in line that doesn't know how to order coffee. :)

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