People who visit Starbucks for the first time or those who do not frequently visit the place may find its extensive offering overwhelming. From specialty drinks to the long list of Frappuccino flavors, only some people are as familiar with these beverages as those who are already regular customers.
When looking at their menu, one of the things that might catch your attention is Starbucks’ handcrafted beverages. But what exactly is it, and what is its difference from other drinks the coffee shop serves? Here we will discuss what a handcrafted drink is and what kind of drinks you can order under this category.
What is a Starbucks Handcrafted Beverage?
A Starbucks handcrafted beverage is any drink handmade by the Starbucks baristas and contains complex ingredients. The coffee shop describes it as any drink made with “a bit more love” since it’s carefully made by the baristas, unlike non-handcrafted beverages.
A quick look at their website or the menus in their stores will find five kinds of drinks that fall under this category. It includes Espressos, Frappuccinos, Iced Teas, Cold Coffees, and Seasonal Drinks. (Read What Does Dirty Mean In A Drink)
Different Handcrafted Drinks at Starbucks
We will try to define each handcrafted drink at Starbucks to differentiate them from one another easily:
Starbucks has about nine espresso drinks on its menu, including espresso or a combination of espresso and milk. When making espresso shots, the baristas force pressurized hot water through ground coffee beans, creating a strong mixture.
However, it takes some skill to make good espresso shots, which is a collective mastery of using the right beans, placing the grounds in the basket, and working on it.
Examples of espresso-based drinks: Espresso, Espresso Con Panna, Espresso Macchiato, Cinnamon Dolce Latte, Irish Cream Americano, Pistachio Latte, Honey Almond Flat White, Caramel Macchiato, Cappuccino, Caffè Americano
Starbucks’ most popular drink, a Frappuccino, is a signature iced drink topped with whipped cream and syrup. Starbucks’ website shows they have over 30 Frappuccino blended beverages, which are categorized into Coffee Frappuccino and Creme Frappuccino.
Examples of Frappuccino: Espresso Frappuccino, Matcha Crème Frappuccino, Chai Crème Frappuccino, Vanilla Bean Crème, Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino, Mocha Frappuccino, Java Chip Frappuccino, Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino, Caramel Frappuccino, Pistachio Coffee Frappuccino
You wouldn’t think iced teas would fall under a handcrafted Starbucks drink, but it’s more than just a tea mixed with cold water. What makes it a handcrafted drink is how the teas are brewed as a concentrate and how you can customize them according to water, ice, and sweeteners.
Examples of Iced Tea: Iced Black Tea Lemonade, Iced Chai Tea Latte, Iced Matcha Lemonade, Iced Passion Tango, Iced Matcha Tea Latte, Iced Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte, Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade, Iced Black Tea, Iced London Fog Tea Latte, Iced Green Tea Lemonade
Starbucks’ cold coffee is more than just an iced coffee; it offers a wide variety of carefully prepared drinks, such as cold brew, which takes a while to prepare. If you need to familiarize yourself with how a cold brew is made, it involves mixing coarse ground coffee with cold water and steeping it for 20 hours. The more concentrated Nitro Cold Brew takes even longer to make since the ground coffee is soaked in cold water for up to 24 hours.
Examples of cold coffee: Iced Caramel Macchiato, Iced Oat Latte, Cold-brew coffee, Pumpkin Cold Foam Cold Brew, Iced Pistachio Latte, Iced Caffè Americano, Nitro Cold Brew, Iced Caffè Mocha, Iced Shaken Espresso, Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew
As its name suggests, seasonal beverages are only available at certain times of the year. Examples include the Pumpkin Spice Latte every Halloween and the Peppermint Mocha every holiday season.
Examples of seasonal drinks: Irish Cream Cold Brew, Caramel Brulée Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Chestnut Praline Latte
Best Handcrafted Starbucks Drinks
If you don’t know which among Starbucks’ long list of items you will order, here are some of the best ones you can try first:
Handcrafted espresso-based drinks: Cinnamon Dolce Latte and Caramel Macchiato
Frappuccinos: Java Chip Frappuccino and Caramel Frappuccino
Iced teas: Iced Chai Tea Latte and Iced London Fog Tea Latte
Cold coffees: Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew and Iced Caffè Mocha
Seasonal drinks: Pumpkin Spice Latte and Peppermint Mocha
What is Not a Starbucks Handcrafted Drink?
So, what Starbucks drinks are considered non-handcrafted beverages?
Any drink ready-made or made in a brewing machine is NOT a handcrafted drink. When it comes straight out of a bottle, poured, and no longer needs extra preparation, it is NOT a handcrafted drink.
In case you didn’t know, Starbucks also used to offer alcoholic beverages such as beer, but it has long been discontinued. Since it’s a pre-packaged drink, it’s also a non-handcrafted beverage. (Learn How Much Do Starbucks Employees Make)
Why Order Starbucks Handcrafted Drinks
There are many pros and cons to why you should and shouldn’t order handcrafted drinks. If you order at Starbucks for the first time, read this first:
You get to experience a variety of flavors
Compared to pre-packaged drinks, the beauty of handcrafted beverages at Starbucks is that you’ll never run out of flavors. If you feel like enjoying handcrafted iced teas today and iced lattes tomorrow, you can freely do so. Starbucks’ extensive handcrafted drinks menu has everything you need to suit your palate daily.
You can customize your drinks according to your preference
You can always customize your drink if some of the drinks are too sweet, too strong, too creamy, or too bitter. For instance, the Iced Pineapple Matcha Drink isn’t available on the Starbucks menu, but you can order it year-round. You may opt to customize your matcha drink into this so you can enjoy this crowd-favorite drink!
You can get rewards for every order
Yes, you read that right! All Starbucks handcrafted beverages are part of their exclusive Starbucks Rewards program, wherein you can customize your drink once you earn 25 stars. We’ll discuss more of their rewards program below.
Handcrafted drinks are significantly pricier
Since handcrafted drinks take skills and methods to prepare, it’s only apt that they are priced higher than non-handcrafted beverages. So, if you want to save money, do not go for handcrafted Starbucks beverages.
You might find the options too overwhelming
Only some people are fond of looking and ordering at the overwhelming list of drinks. If you’re the type who wants to enjoy brewed coffee rather than complicated iced coffees, then the handcrafted beverages aren’t for you.
What is the Starbucks Rewards Program?
If you regularly order coffee at Starbucks, we highly suggest becoming part of their rewards program. Just create an account on their website, then you can order and pay however you like. You can collect stars for every purchase through cash, credit, or debit card. Once you’ve earned enough stars, you can redeem different rewards!
Some of the rewards you can get are as follows:
- 25 stars – you can customize your drink for FREE, such as adding extra espresso shots or a dash of their flavored syrups
- 100 stars – you can get a brewed hot or iced coffee or tea, pastries, packaged snack, and more for FREE
- 200 stars – You can get a handcrafted drink or hot breakfast of your choice for FREE. Pro tip: order the most expensive handcrafted drink on their menu to make the most of your freebie!
- 300 stars – Enjoy a sandwich, protein box, or a bag of coffee for FREE. If you like brewing your coffee at home or even opening a sachet of Starbucks VIA Instant®, you can enjoy this fantastic reward!
- 400 stars – FREE Starbucks merchandise, anyone? You can take home their signature cup, drink tumbler, or coffee merch up to $20 once you’ve collected 400 stars!
Apart from enjoying numerous rewards, you can also enjoy the following perks and benefits:
- A birthday treat from Starbucks – yes, Starbucks offers some fun freebies during your birthday and birth month that you’ll surely enjoy.
- The convenience of ordering in advance – if you’re in a rush and want to avoid the long lines, you can opt to order and pay ahead, whether in-store, curbside, or drive-thru pickup.
- Faster stars collection – If it takes too long to collect stars, watch out for their double star days and bonus star challenges to speed up your collecting time. (Read Does The Starbucks Pink Drink Have Caffeine)
Now that you know what handcrafted drinks are at Starbucks, you can try them individually! Yes, they might be a little pricier than usual brewed coffee, but you can never go wrong with the taste, quality, and experience you’ll get. So, the next time you find yourself in your nearest Starbucks, we hope this guide may help you order your go-to coffee drink!