A bit about Starbucks-ese
My niece recently posted on Facebook this little tidbit
Dear me from half an hour ago: do not order that pumpkin spice latte from starbucks, it has 37 grams of sugar in it and you will feel sick afterwards (>人<;)
To which I replied:
When I'm in Starbucks and I get the hankering for a mocha I order a double tall nonfat two pump no whip mocha. (Normally has 4 pumps of syrup and only one shot of espresso). But even aside the lowering the sugar and fat I assume just rattling off all the syllables in 'double tall nonfat two pump no whip mocha' burns calories.
Well, this opened up a door to my aunt who never goes to Starbucks and didn't realize that ordering coffee could be that complicated. So I thought a little recap of 'Starbucks-ese' might be in order.
Back in 1971 when Starbucks just started out, they had two sizes: short and tall (short being 8oz and tall being 12). Both only had one shot. So if you wanted a two shot, 12 oz beverage you would say 'double tall' -- Short and Tall denote the size, not the beverage. That said, if you just ordered a 'tall' back in the day it was assumed you wanted a tall latte. If you wanted a mocha you would have to modify the 'tall' with 'tall mocha.'
Then things kept getting more complicated. They added the Grande (16 oz), the Venti (20 oz) and eventually the Trente (the big gulp of Starbucks coming in at 30 oz which is coincidentally about the capacity of the human stomach).
But still, this is easy syntax… you should order size, then start adding your modifiers (you do size first so they can grab the right cup to start taking notes on the rest of your drink customizations). I actually always do this wrong because I order my shots first (double tall) when what I should really do is 'tall double mocha' but to my ear that sounds like I want extra mocha syrup… but they know.
About those syrups… Starbucks came of age in the 70's making complex drinks palatable to suburbanites. So the mocha recipe is a bit sweet, with four pumps of the chocolate syrup jug which is why I order a 'two pump' mocha. But they have:
- vanilla (available sugar-free)
- caramel (available sugar-free)
- cinnamon dolce (available sugar-free)
- hazelnut (available sugar-free)
- toffee nut
- peppermint (available sugar-free seasonally)
- classic (a mixture of sugar and water also called simple syrup
And let's not forget the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup (which they abbreviate to PSL which always seems kind of kinky to me but I spend too much time on the Internet).
But it keeps going with complications with low foam, extra hot, extra ice, soy, caramel drizzle, decaf, half-caf, drip coffee with a shot, low-water (for americanos and chai-tea lattes), ristretto, no-room, extra-room…
Oh, and don't forget the really amusing one: tall non-fat latte, 2% foam. That's right, you can order your latte with nonfat milk, but then get the foam part of the milk concoction with an entirely different milk just to slow things down.
My googling found this order:
venti mocha frappuccino, with a triple decaf shot of espresso, chips, protein & fiber powder, a banana, vanilla bean powder, light ice, 3 pumps of base, with soy, double blended, with mint crystals, no whipped cream, with a dome lid and 1 ristretto shot affagato on topwhich apparently required two stickers to print out for the cup.
This all reminds me of my blog Amateur Coffee Drinkers and my argument that there should be a line for people ordering a 'mochafrappechinolisousness' so as to get those of us with a caffeine dependency our fix while the amateurs play act at coffee sophistication.
Sometimes I just need a cup of coffee…