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9 Starbucks Orders That Make Baristas Roll Their Eyes

You don't want to be a barista on the receiving end of these drink orders, especially during a busy rush.
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Have you ever walked into a Starbucks, checked the menu, and instantly felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of drink options? You're not alone. The mega coffee chain claims there are more than 170,000 ways to customize drinks at Starbucks, which is a staggering amount of choices.

Starbucks offers all the usual coffeehouse mainstays, like lattes and cappuccinos, but it also offers a bevy of specialty items, including fruit juice refreshers and blended Frappuccinos.

Given the sheer size of Starbucks' menu, plus the thousands of potential customizations, it's no wonder Starbucks baristas can get annoyed when certain orders come in.

But which orders are the worst to receive for a barista, especially during a busy rush? Here, nine Starbucks orders that make baristas roll their eyes. (I'm guilty of ordering at least one of them myself!)

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

starbucks caramel ribbon crunch frappuccino
Courtesy of Starbucks Coffee Company
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 470
Fat: 22 g (Saturated Fat: 14 g, Trans Fat: 0.5 g)
Sodium: 280 mg
Carbs: 65 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 60 g)
Protein: 5 g

Dylan, a barista who has worked at Starbucks for a year, counts this drink among the worst on the menu. "It's because of the amount of steps it takes to make it," she explains.

"It gets whipped cream in the bottom, so for venti cups, it's difficult to stick the whip can in the cup. Then, when putting the topping on the drink, it goes everywhere. And don't even get me started on trying to put a dome lid on … if the drink is the slightest bit too full, it will start melting and dripping everywhere," she says. "It's a mess. Caramel is sticky."

Other baristas agreed that this was the worst, including Ariel. "Frappuccinos are honestly just a nuisance when you're the only one working on the bar," she says. "It's part of the bar that's further from where I'm planted, and it makes my work pace much slower."

This is a layered Frapp with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and crunchy topping, so nailing the many steps takes extra time. That can be stressful during a busy rush. "In all honesty, I don't hate making Frappuccinos," Ariel says. "They really just take forever to make during our busy time!"

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Iced Matcha Tea Latte

starbucks matcha latte
Courtesy of Starbucks
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 200
Fat: 5 g (Saturated Fat: 3 g)
Sodium: 120 mg
Carbs: 29 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 28 g)
Protein: 9 g

Some Starbucks baristas aren't fond of this iced drink made with matcha powder and milk. The two-ingredient drink sounds simple enough, but many baristas say it was the worst to make. "It's usually shaken and people tend to order that with light ice," explains Ellen, a Starbucks partner of two years. "But it just clumps up if there isn't enough ice to shake it, and it creates so much foam."

"Matcha I personally think is the worst because to me it tastes like grass, especially with the oat or almond milk," one Starbucks barista wrote on Reddit. This tea-based drink is often made with alternative milks, like coconut, oat, or almond, and that switch-up greatly influences how straightforward it is to make, since those milks bubble up differently.

"It's slightly better with alt milk, but still annoying," one barista wrote on Reddit. "I [hate] how foamy it gets with 2%, and then the foam disappears, and then they complain because they took 10 minutes to pick it up, and there's room in the cup."

Iced London Fog Tea Latte

starbucks iced london fog tea latte on a green background.
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 140
Fat: 2.5 g (Saturated Fat: 1.5 g)
Sodium: 70 mg
Carbs: 25 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 25 g)
Protein: 4 g

If you order a tea latte on ice, like the London Fog, you may get an eye roll from the barista. The tea bag needs to be steeped for four to five minutes before it's chilled and then put on ice. It sounds like no big deal, but if the customer is in a rush, waiting five minutes for the drink to steep can be frustrating for the barista and the guest alike—especially in the drive-thru.

"Any of the iced tea lattes, such as iced London Fog or iced royal English breakfast, as they take five-plus minutes to make correctly," says August, who has worked at Starbucks for two years. "If they come through the drive-thru, it wrecks drive times if you make it correctly. So everyone makes it wrong and shortens the time it takes to steep."

"It's only a pain to make because of drive times and remembering about the drink if I'm sequencing cafe bar drinks. Putting everything in the shaker isn't bad—it's how we make half our drinks—but the steeping throws our sequencing off really bad."

August isn't alone in that opinion. "Any drink that requires me to fiddle with some tea bags during a rush are annoying," one Starbucks barista wrote on Reddit. Another said, "HARD AGREE that this is the worst one to make."

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Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino

starbucks mocha cookie crumble frappuccino
Courtesy of Starbucks Coffee Company
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 480
Fat: 24 g (Saturated Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0.5 g)
Sodium: 270 mg
Carbs: 62 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 55 g)
Protein: 6 g

Here's another Frappuccino that is the bane for Starbucks baristas. Like the Caramel Ribbon Crunch, this one is layered, so it takes time to make and is messy. "It's just a very time-consuming drink," says Ellen. "It's already pretty difficult to sequence fraps in general, but a Mocha Cookie Crumble has like two to three more steps than a Mocha Frap."

With java chips, whipped cream, cookie topping, and mocha drizzle on the top and bottom, the drink involves many steps. Plus, it messes with flow. "It doesn't allow the barista to make more than two at a time and leads to a clog on the bar," Starbucks barista Blackbijou wrote on Reddit. "The cookies constantly leave a mess."

Ariel says another issue with sugary Frappuccinos like this is they are often ordered in bulk. "People don't just order one Frappuccino. Typically, it's a family that orders other drinks and more than one Frappuccino," she says. This slows down the workflow even more, as the blenders can only take one or two of these Frapps at a time.

Honey Citrus Mint Tea

starbucks honey citrus mint tea on a green background.
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 130
Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 10 mg
Carbs: 32 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 30 g)
Protein: 0 g

Starbucks baristas don't love making the Honey Citrus Mint Tea. Also known as the Medicine Ball tea, customers often order this when they feel under the weather. "Everyone orders it when they're sick, but it's tea and sugar," says Starbucks barista Adella. "There are two different teas, honey blend, which is so gross smelling to me, and steamed lemonade, which in my store is a bit away from the bars."

It's also tricky from a workflow perspective. "Honey Citrus requires the barista to migrate to every station: brewing for the tea, cold bar for the lemonade, hot bar for the syrup," wrote Reddit user Blackbijou. "Taking the tea bags out of the sachets is a pain, too, because they tend to break open."

Plus, whether the drink can actually help you if you're feeling sick is up for debate among baristas. "I don't care what anyone says; fake lemonade that's steamed to 200 degrees will not cure you," one barista wrote on Reddit.

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Honey Almond Milk Flat White

starbucks honey almond milk flat white on a green background.
Nutrition: (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 170
Fat: 5 g
Sodium: 135 mg
Carbs: 30 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 24 g)
Protein: 3 g

This flat white made with almond milk and a packet of honey was added to menus in early 2020, but Starbucks baristas don't count it among their favorites. "The almond milk doesn't steam well for the correct texture, and the honey is [sickeningly] sweet," one barista wrote on Reddit.

Multiple baristas said this drink is gross, and the combination of almond milk and honey smells bad. "It probably would've been okay with another milk. But personally I hated the honey syrup and the almond milk," one barista posted. "Just so nasty."

Pink Drink Starbucks Refreshers Beverage

Starbucks' Special V-Day Pink Drink
Courtesy of Starbucks
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 140
Fat: 2.5 g (Saturated Fat: 2.5 g)
Sodium: 65 mg
Carbs: 28 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 25 g)
Protein: 1 g

What was once a "secret" menu item at Starbucks earned a spot on menu boards after it went viral on social media in 2016. The Pink Drink is a Strawberry Acai Refresher mixed with coconut milk, giving it a milky pink hue that is very Instagrammable. But baristas don't love a new social media trend—swapping out the coconut milk for heavy cream and adding vanilla bean powder.

"The recent trend of Pink Drink made with heavy cream, however many vanilla bean scoops, and Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam. It's entirely too dense," one barista wrote on Reddit. "Maybe blending it would help, but just as a drink? I can't even see it as being enjoyable when sipping on it slowly."

Another barista agrees and says some customizations go too far. "I have a regular that asks for it with chocolate cold foam and honestly that's one that makes me gag because I can see it separate after, like maybe a minute or two of it sitting," the barista wrote.

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Dragon Drink Refresher with Oleato Golden Foam

dragon drink in a glass.
Courtesy of Starbucks
Nutrition (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 380
Fat: 27 g (Saturated Fat: 12 g)
Sodium: 75 mg
Carbs: 34 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 31 g)
Protein: 2 g

This strange combination—with a milky pink hue and topped with a golden-greenish foam—raised a few eyebrows when it launched last year. This Dragon Drink is made with coconut milk and dragon fruit inclusion scoop and is topped with Starbucks' somewhat controversial extra virgin olive oil-infused cold foam.

"Hands down the nastiest thing I've ever had," one Starbucks barista wrote on Reddit. "Does not complement each other, and I've only ever seen one person order it since it launched." While some baristas say the golden foam itself is pretty good, the consensus is that it should not be mixed with the sweet mango and dragon fruit flavors.

Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher

starbucks pineapple passionfruit refresher on a green background.
Nutrition: (Per 16 oz. Serving):
Calories: 100
Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 15 mg
Carbs: 23 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 19 g)
Protein: 0 g

This bright yellow refresher is simple enough—ice and a scoop of freeze-dried pineapple passion fruit—but many baristas don't like making it. "Of the standard menu drinks, the pineapple passion fruit lemonade tops the list," one barista wrote on Reddit.

"Whenever people order it, I ask them if they've ever had it before. If the answer is no, I tell them to order something else." Baristas liken the pineapple passion fruit taste to medicine, cardboard, and soap.

Emily Latimer
Emily Latimer is a freelance journalist with a passion for food and restaurants. Read more about Emily