Healthy[ish] Summer Starbucks Drinks

Yall want to know some good news?

I finally picked up my final paycheck from Starbucks, which means I am totally, officially free from Little Howie’s Workshop.

I was with the company for 1 year + 4 days [which is approximately 8 months + 4 days longer than I had planned, but no big. It’s just 8 months of my life.], and it felt pretty dang wonderful to walk out after my last shift.  Not that my experience was entirely awful or anything, but it was not exactly where I wanted to be and definitely not where I needed to be to reach my career goals.

So now that I’m no longer a slave to the green siren, I can share all the shortcuts and insider tricks I learned during my time as a ‘spresso-slinger, which is good news for all yall.  [It also means I have to start paying for my coffee, which is bad news for yours truly.]

Since it’s now “officially” summer and temperatures are either slightly warming up [holla at my Bay Area hooligans] or full-on cooking you alive [stay strong, Arizona], I figured we could all take part in a great American tradition: drinking.  Starbucks doesn’t serve whiskey, but they do make plenty of iced drinks.

starbucks

Now, I’m southern so I know that sweet tea is a thing.  I also spend way too much time on PubMed, so I know sweet tea is the the official sports drink of the Diabeetus Olympics.  It’s good, but if you’re chugging it from sunup to sundown, you’re probably going to want to invest in an insulin pump.

So what the heck are you supposed to drink that’s fun and refreshing and summery and also healthy? [PS, by “healthy,” I mean relatively healthy…as in, “sure beats a handle of Jack or a Big Gulp-size slushie!”  Not like, “Forget broccoli, drink this!”]

This, my friends. This is what you drink.  Healthy[ish], delicious, refreshing, and does no more damage to your wallet than your usual S’mores frappuccino.

[These will probably work at most any other coffeeshop/cafe.  I have only ordered/experimented with these at Starbucks, so I know for sure Little Howie’s elves can make it for you.]

iced coffee

If you like sweet tea, try:

  • Iced Tea – black, green, or passion tea, or a combination thereof -withsplenda instead of classic (Starbucks’ simple syrup).  If you like a stronger tea flavor, ask for no water.
    • How to order: May I please have a (size) iced (black/green/passion), no classic, no water, 2 splenda? Thank you!
  • Iced Tea, unsweetened, with a splash of one of the refresher juices – Berry Hibiscus, Cool Lime, or Valencia Orange.  (They shouldn’t charge extra for this if you specify “a splash.”)
    • How to order: May I please have a tall iced green tea with no classic, no water, and a splash of cool lime? Thanks!

If you like Arnold Palmer’s, try:

  • Iced Tea Lemonade (again, black/green/passion/combo),unsweeteened orwithsplenda.  Add a splash of refresher juice of your choice if you’re really feeling feisty.
    • How to order: I would love a venti iced black tea-lemonade, no classic, 1 splenda, and a splash of berry hibiscus.  Thank you!

If you like Slushie’s or Slurpees, try:

  • Blended Iced Tea – iced tea of choice with no classic +splenda &/or a splash of refresher juice +a scoop of ice + 1-2 pumps of cream base (more for larger size).
    • How to order: This is a little weird, but may I please have a venti iced passion tea with no classic, 2 splenda, a venti scoop of ice, and 2 pumps of cream base, all blended together?  Thanks so much!

If you like iced lattes, try:

  • Iced Coffee with sugar free syrup (no extra charge) and extra milk of choice.  (You can ask for one cup size bigger to accommodate extra milk or extra ice or both, for no charge.)
  • How to order:  Hi, I’d really like a grande iced coffee in a venti cup with extra soymilk, with sugar free vanilla instead of classic. Thanks!

If you like Frappucinos, try:

  • Blendicano – espresso (2 shots for a tall size, 3 for a grande, 4 for a venti) blended with a scoop of ice + sugar free syrup (more pumps for a stronger flavor) of your choice + a splash of milk of your choice (optional) + 1-2 pumps of light base.
  • How to order: This is going to sound strange, but it’s great – I’d love a quad shot espresso blended with a venti scoop of ice, 3 pumps of sugar free caramel, a tiny splash of whole milk, and 2 pumps of light base? Weird, I know, but it’s so good! Thank you.

A few final tips:

  • For the love of all that is human, say “thank you” when you receive your drink.
  • If the store is slammed like the Tiajuana border during spring break, then I beg you from the bottom of my former-barista heart, be extra polite, extra patient, and if you can find it in your almost-caffeinated heart to leave a tip, do it.  
  • If you are thinking of ordering anything blended, please do it when the store is not insanely busy.  Morning rush hour is not the time to lose your blendicano virginity.
  • Know what you plan to order before you get to the counter.  If you need a minute to deliberate over your drink choice, let the next person in line go ahead of you.  Other customers will appreciate it and the baristas will love you for it.
  • If you are a regular at a certain coffeeshop, do your best to remember the names of the baristas you see most.  Remembering their names – and better yet, using basic manners and showing actual interest in them as humans and not just coffee-robots – will go a long way for you.  I can’t promise you surprise discounts, or faster delivery of your drinks, but…well, just trust me on this.

Well, that’s all, folks!

Stay healthy. Stay hydrated. Stay not-broke.

These are our goals for the summer.  You, me, and a little caffeine…we got this.

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