10 Things Your Starbucks Barista Wishes You Knew About Ordering Tea

As a former barista, I know how much your barista hates you sometimes. They might think the average person is a bit slow when it comes to ordering tea, but that’s okay because I’m here to help you out so that you don’t seem foolish the next time you’re trying to get your fix.

Starbucks iced tea is concentrated.

When you order iced tea at Starbucks, it is concentrated. What does this mean for you? You have the power to decide how strong you want your tea! Need more? Just ask for more tea than water. They aren’t brewing their iced tea as you order it, so you can have it as strong or as weak as you’d like.

Hot water is hot – 200 degrees hot.

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When you ask for hot tea, it will be hot. The water that comes out of the machine is at least 200 degrees. So, don’t complain. That’s also why it comes double-cupped. We don’t want to burn you, but we certainly don’t want to burn ourselves.

Pro-Tip: Ask for some ice in the bottom. That way – we don’t have to worry about splashing ourselves if you want it at the top.

Custom iced tea is possible, but it takes time for tea to steep.

We are able to make any bag of tea into iced tea for you. It just comes at a cost – your time. Our teas need to steep between 3 to 5 minutes.

Pro-Tip: Don’t ask for a custom iced tea when it’s busy.

Iced tea automatically comes sweetened.

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When I was working the register, I always asked before assuming, but not all baristas take the time. When ordering at a new store, be sure to let them know whether or not you want your Starbucks Iced Tea sweetened. If they give you any snark, ignore it because at least now you know your drink will be made the way you want.

Shaking the iced tea helps it cool down.

A lot of customers would be upset when I would shake the “Shaken Iced Tea.” Calm down, folks! The reason we do this is the tea sits on the counter and is room temperature. What is the point of having iced tea if it isn’t cool? Don’t want it shaken? Just ask!

If you want raw sugar (or honey) in your iced tea, ask for it to be melted.

Nothing worse than when you get a delicious iced tea and then pour raw sugar or honey in there only to have it float around. The best way to incorporate either of those is to ask the barista to melt it.

Pro-Tip: Before they do anything, the barista should put the raw sugar or honey in the bottom of the tea shaker, then put a little bit of hot water. After swishing it around for a little, finish making the tea as normal. It’ll taste amazing!

Tea is a huge chunk of our business.

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As a tea drinker, you must think everyone at Starbucks is ordering frappuccinos or café lattes. But, tea is a huge part of business. So don’t be upset if we run out at any moment.

We don’t know all the fancy names for every drink combination.

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I probably don’t know it’s called an “Arnold Palmer.” Truthfully, it took me a long time to figure out all the different terms for the different drinks. And, your young barista now probably has no idea who Arnold Palmer even is. Don’t assume we know what you’re talking about. If you have a specific drink, be sure to order it by its ingredients.

You can get creative.

Don’t feel self-conscious about trying something new. If you’re unsure, ask if someone has ever done it. A shot of espresso in iced tea? A pump of pumpkin spice in your black tea? Don’t be scared to try new things.

I can’t blend it.

This was always the worst in the summer months, but I’m not allowed to blend the tea. And, don’t ask for it because it isn’t going to be good.

Just remember that your barista is there to help you and make sure you enjoy your beverage. If you want something, be sure to ask politely and they will be more than happen to make your delicious tea beverage!

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