11 Insider Secrets from a Starbucks Barista

It’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season and Starbucks is hoping you’re so excited about your PSL that you don’t notice the price increase they rolled out at the same time.

It’s true, Starbucks upped their prices on 10% of menu items this season when they put the PSL back on the menu.

Price increases range from $0.10 to $0.30 on select sizes of brewed coffee, select espresso drinks (think: lattes and mochas), Bacon Gouda & Egg Breakfast Sandwiches, and cookies.

I know you’ll probably buy your PSL anyway, but you don’t have to pay a ton for Starbucks in general. Try these tips from a Starbucks barista to save money:

1. Skip the Venti and pocket $0.60.

Want to optimize your caffeine to coffee ratio? The Grande has the same amount of espresso as the Venti (2 shots, or 150 mg) when you order hot beverages.

2. Craving Chai? Opt to get a Chai tea instead of a Chai tea latte—you get free refills and you’ll save $1.80.

A little effort on your part and you can bag the savings and some tranquili-tea. It’s a little like your bestie let you borrow her Jimmy Choos. Only you can drink them. Simply ask for hot water at the counter.

Chai’ll always love you: Unless you ask for unsweetened, assume your iced tea is sweetened.

3. Download the Starbucks app for freebies and rewards.


Not only do you earn free drinks on your birthday, when you order a drink a week, you’re eligible for freebies (one free coffee for every $75 spent).

Where you bean? Get a Starbucks card and work it like it’s your birthday (but only because you literally score Free Food or Drink on your special day).


4. Get a Grande cup for your Tall drip coffee and save up to $0.30.

More than just the cost savings, when you go this route, you also have room in your cup to add cream and sweetener without spilling all over your cute suit (or your car).

5. Save $0.58 when you ask for light ice in your iced coffee.

When you order more ice, you end up with less beverage bodaciousness in your glass. Who needs that? You’re not a barbarian.

Also, Iced Coffee comes sweetened with Classic Syrup. For no extra cost you can switch out the classic syrup for Mocha or White Mocha to make a mocha drink for half the price, just add milk at the counter.

Java jive: Order the Americano and knock back added caffeine for less money!


6. Bring your own cup and keep $0.10.


Not only can you accessorize your own coffee cup to match your mood, you can save up those extra dimes toward a free pastry! #carbswhatcarbs

You’ve urned it: Want a free cup of coffee? Wait until they prep to toss the old coffee and brew a new batch right before you order.

>>> Apply for a job at Starbucks today!

7. Split a Venti and save $1.65.


Bringing a friend? It’s cheaper to order the Venti than two smaller drinks. How much caffeine and shenanigans do you need, anyway?

You’re sweet enough: If you find your drinks are too sweet, order ‘half sweet’!

How moo like me cow: Save money by adding your own milk at the bar. Just don’t go nuts. No one wants the stink eye from the baristas.

10. Order tea “without water” and save $2.25.

 Just say H2NO, and you get double the drink happiness for the same amount of money. That’s because you get extra-concentrated tea, for more oomph (we like oomph). Also, if you order tea without water in a double cup and ask for an ice water on the side, you can score half price tea (two teas is better than one)!

Tea-rrific: Is your hot tea too hot? Ask for the kids’ temperature instead!

11. Score a Puppychino free.

You heard me right. Bring in your four-legged bestie and you’re winning at treats.

Puppy love: Do you sweeten your coffees or teas with xylitol? Keep those away from Fido.

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