When it comes to ordering a drink at Starbucks, it's easier than it seems. No, really.

Though you might feel as if you've walked into a foreign-speaking country when you enter the coffee shop, don't let it scare you. You can handle it. We promise.

Here's how the pros call drinks. Live it, love it and you, too, will soon be speaking Starbucks.

1. Need decaf or half-caf? Say it right away – it's important that baristas hear it first, especially if customers have caffeine-related health problems. If your drink is iced, however, decaf comes after iced so your barista knows which cup to grab.

2. Hot or iced? If your drink's iced, say so – that way, your barista knows whether to get you a paper or plastic cup. Frappuccinos – coffee-, creme- or juice-based drinks – are blended with ice and so are immune to this.

3. Shots: As a general rule (though there are a couple of exceptions), short and tall drinks get one shot of espresso, grande and venti drinks get two. If you're happy with that number, skip this one, but you can always increase or decrease the number of shots you'd like with “single,” “double,” “triple,” “quad,” etc.

4. Size: Short, tall, grande or venti?

5. Syrup: Vanilla? Hazelnut? Caramel? Almond? Raspberry? Toffee nut? Mocha and raspberry? Vanilla and almond? Sugar-free vanilla? It's almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

6. Milk: Unless specified, it's whole milk or bust. Other options are 2 percent, 1 percent, non-fat, breve (that's half-and-half), soy, organic and, for those still clinging to Atkins, heavy whipping cream.

7. Custom: With whip, extra whip, no whip, with foam, extra foam, no foam, extra hot, no ice, extra ice, two sugars, one Splenda, six Equal ... there are quite a few options here.

8. Beverage: Insert the drink's actual name here: caramel macchiato, mocha, coffee Frappuccino, Americano, etc.


Grande white chocolate mocha

Iced venti breve chai

Double tall non-fat no-whip mocha

Triple venti vanilla 2 percent extra foam latte

Iced decaf grande soy caramel macchiato

Grande extra whip mocha Frappuccino

An alphabetical arrangement of everything you ever wanted to know about Starbucks.

Americano: Espresso and hot water.

Barista: Italian for “bartender.” This refers to the green apron-clad employees behind the counter.

Cappuccino: Espresso with part steamed milk and part foamed milk.

Decaf: Self-explanatory – any Starbucks beverage, even Frappuccinos, can be made with decaf coffee.

Espresso: An ounce of intense coffee goodness.

Frappuccino: A cold coffee, creme- or juice-based drink blended with ice.

Grande: 16-ounce size.

Half-caf: Also self-explanatory.

Iced: Any hot Starbucks beverage can be served with cold milk over ice.

Juice Frappuccinos: Tangerine or pomegranate; a fruity alternative to coffee- and creme-based Frappuccinos.

K: Kids' drinks: Not-as-hot versions of hot chocolate, steamed cider and “steamers,” which are drinks made with flavored syrup, steamed milk and whipped cream.

Latte: Espresso and steamed milk, topped with foam.

Macchiato: “Marked” in Italian; the espresso shot(s) are poured in after the syrup, milk and foam to “mark” the foam.

Non-fat: Skim milk.

Organic: Organic milk. And some coffee.

Partner: Starbucks employees are referred to as “partners.”

Quick service: Ideally, no customer should have to wait more than three minutes for an order.

Ristretto: Highly concentrated espresso.

Short: 8-ounce size available for hot drinks.

Tall: 12-ounce size.

Unsweetened: An option for iced coffee and tea.

Venti: 20-ounce size for hot drinks, 24 ounces for cold drinks.

Whip: Whipped cream – comes standard on cafe mochas, most Frappuccinos, hot chocolate and caramel apple cider.

X: Marks the spot; the first Starbucks opened in Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1971.

Yukon Blend: A bold, balanced Starbucks Coffee blend originally created for a captain of a fishing fleet and his crew.

Zimbabwe: Part of Africa's “coffee belt” where beans are born; the region also includes Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Yemen.

© 2006, Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.).

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.