20 Secrets Every Starbucks Fanatic Should Know

1. You can get Short (8oz) drinks that aren’t on the menu.

About two-thirds of Starbucks stores sell Short drinks which are 8 ounces.  You just have to ask.  They’re less expensive than the next size up, Tall at 10oz.  So if you want something smaller than Tall, ask for a Short!


2. You can order a Pumpkin Spice Latte weeks before it is officially on the menu.

You just have to decipher the clues (or know someone who has) on this tumblr page set up by Starbucks.


3.  Starbucks used to use pulverized insects (called Cochineal Extract ) in some pink-colored drinks

Ever drink a Starbucks Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino, Strawberry Smoothie, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing, and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie?

Yup, it used to have Cochineal Extract.

Cochineal extract is FDA approved and doesn’t pose any health risk.  Still, it’s….insects.  Ground up.

Starbucks has switched and now uses only lycopene, extracted from tomatoes.  (safer choice!)

4. In blind taste tests, Starbucks often rates behind Dunkin Donuts, Caribou Coffee even Costco’s Kirkland Signature.

You can read some of the reviews here from one of the most accomplished tasters in the coffee industry, Ken Davids.

5. There’s a unique profit motive behind Starbuck’s dark roast

Starbucks may roast its in-store coffees including espresso dark so that they’re  just a little too charred, even burnt,  for mainstream tastes.  That causes you to order more expensive blended drinks like Frappucinos and Lattes.  It also allows Starbucks to source coffee from virtually anywhere in the world because dark roasting erases origin character.  Sneaky!

6. There’s a whole hidden menu of mouth-watering Starbucks drinks you can order.  

Over 150 of them are described on StarbucksSecretMenu ranging from a Chocolate Covered Raspberry Frappucino to a Nutella Latte.  They’re unique tasting drinks that you can make by adding various flavors, topics, and combinations already in the store.

7. Even though Starbucks is “premium” and supposed to be exclusive,  its revenue is actually 30% higher than Dunkin Donuts.   Elitism pays.

8.  Starbucks has only failed and shut down its stores in 1 country:  Israel.

But it had only 6 stores there.  And other major brand failed too:  Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Hard Rock Cafe.

9.  Starbucks was originally going to be name Pequod after the whaling ship in Moby Dick.

Instead the owners settled on the name of the ship’s chief mate, Starbuck.  Better choice.

10. Starbucks secretly experimented with a chain of restaurants in San Francisco called “Circadia.”

When they were outed in 1999 as Starbuck’s outlets, they were converted to branded cafes.

11.  All the coffee in Burger King is essentially Starbuck’s because their supplier, Seattle’s Best Coffee, is owned by Starbucks.

12. Starbucks sells more tea than Tetley and Lipton combined through its purchase of Teavana in 2012 and Tazo Tea in 1999.


13. Starbucks is experimenting in 30 stores with selling beer and wine including its store in Williamsburg Brooklyn

(can’t take the cheat in Williamsburg, can you Starbucks?)


14.  Achieve Green Level status with just 5 stars on your My Starbucks Rewards Card of app and  you’ll get free in-store refills.

So get that rewards card already!


15. Check your receipt, Starbucks often offers something free; it’s called a “Treat Receipt”

For instance, during the summer if you purchase a drink before noon you’ll often get a receipt giving you grande drinks after 2pm for just $2.00.


16.  Starbuck’s Via Instant Coffee is often #1 in taste tests like this one.



17.  Starbucks is secretly testing Cold Brew Ice Coffee in 14 Boston-area stores.

Why Boston?  Because Boston  drinks more iced coffee per capita than any other major metro area in the country.


18.  There are hidden messages on every bag of Starbuck’s Coffee.

They range from “Emerson Street” on the Espresso Roast to the initials “EDB” for EveryDay Brew on the Pike’s Place Blend.

Read about it here from StarbucksMelody to be an insider.


19. Starbucks has been secretly testing for years  stores that look like your local independent  cafes.

They’re testing grounds for new concepts like pourover, cold brew and beer.

They have included 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea on Seattle’s Capital Hill and Roy Coffee, both modeled with an eco-friendly,  industrial wood and concrete feel.  They serve wine and beer, have live music, even poetry readings.   Read more here

20.  Starbucks used to sell spices when it first started.

It’s right there in their original logo.

Considering that it sells 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes a year, maybe it IS still in the spice business!