11 Modifications You Can Make to Customize Your Starbucks Order

Whether you're more of an iced-coffee or grande-nonfat-mocha-no-whip type of Starbucks customer, there are easy ways to customize your drink to match your preference. While you might not find these modifications on the menu, that doesn't mean you can't make them at the register. Here's what to keep in mind the next time you find yourself in line at Starbucks and want a drink that's specifically tailored to you.

  1. Ask for light ice.
    Not enough liquid and too much ice in your drink? Ask for light ice next time and you'll get more of the drink itself.
  2. Order your latte extra hot.
    Ever feel like your hot coffee is cold by the time you get to the office? You can order your latte "extra hot" at the register, and the barista will steam the milk longer to increase the temperature.
  3. Specify unsweetened.
    Certain Starbucks drinks are sneakily sweetened, including the iced coffee, iced teas, and the Green Tea Latte. For example, Starbucks's matcha powder contains sugar, and the Green Tea Latte typically has more sugar added to it. The iced coffee already comes with two pumps of Classic, aka simple syrup, so if you order it with two pumps, you're actually getting four. The default for a tall iced tea drink is three pumps of classic. If you'd rather have unsweetened drinks, be sure to specify that when you order.
  4. Customize your milk preference.
    ICYMI, Starbucks has almond milk and coconut milk! There's also soy milk as another dairy-free option. Starbucks uses 2 percent milk in all drinks unless you specify otherwise, so speak up if you want whole milk, nonfat, or plant-based milk.
  5. Order a tall coffee in a grande cup.
    Certain baristas might discourage this, but it's a common thing to order. To avoid wasting coffee by pouring out enough for milk, just order a smaller size coffee in a cup the next size up. This will give you more space than asking for "room."
  6. Order the "short" size.
    Did you know a size smaller than the tall exists at Starbucks? While not listed on most menus, there is a size called the short, which is eight ounces and costs $2 for a drip coffee.
  7. Ask for no water for a stronger tea flavor.
    Starbucks adds water to the cup of any iced tea drink to dilute it, so ask for no water if you want a stronger flavor.
  8. Ask for an extra shot.
    Tall lattes come with one shot of espresso, grande espresso drinks come with two, and venti drinks come with two (hot) or three (iced). If it's just one of those days and you need an extra boost of caffeine, you can add another shot to any drink for 60 cents.
  9. Specify the number of syrup pumps.
    When you order any drink that comes with a syrup flavor, a tall will have three, a grande will have four, and a venti will have five or six, depending on hot or iced, respectively. You can either add more for no extra cost or ask for fewer pumps if you want it less sweet.
  10. Ask for a different kind of sweetener.
    You can ask for syrups, sugar, raw sugar, honey, Sweet and Low, Equal, or Splenda in any drink. You can also inquire about the sugar-free syrup options, like raspberry and vanilla, as well as the seasonal syrup options like peppermint.
  11. Order hot tea over ice.
    If you're in the mood for a green tea or herbal tea but would rather have it cold than hot, you can ask for it served on ice. The barista will steep the tea and pour it in a plastic cup filled with ice, which takes about five minutes.