The "secret menu" has been made famous by many other establishments, Panera Bread, Jamba Juice, or perhaps most notably In and Out Burger. There's just something really thrilling about thinking that you're the only person who knows about items on a menu. It's always nice to feel in the loop and to feel like you are valued above other customers, (as callous as that may sound). This is the intrigue of the secret menu, this is the intrigue of knowing something that no one else knows.
How I Found Out...
I go to Starbucks maybe five times a week. I have a gold card and pride myself on knowing what to get, and more than that, in getting a variety of drinks. I like to think I know all the little tricks to get Starbucks to pay off instead of rip you off. You can imagine my shock when one of my friends said to the cashier, "Can I have a Cotton Candy Frappuccino?"
I had never heard of this, and if it were new, you can bet that it would be plastered all over the posters in the actual Starbucks as well as in my inbox from the newsletters i always get. The cashier charged her and went to make it.
What in the world is a Cotton Candy Frappuccino I asked my friend. And she promptly told me that it is from the secret menu. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT! There was a whole menu of secret Starbucks drinks that I, I Starbucks aficionado, I lover the Dirty Chai and Upside-down Caramel Machiato (Drinks tht most have often not even heard of) had never heard of?
I did a little research on quite a few sources, and here are the eight drinks I thought most intriguing and unique that I wanted to try.
Top Eight Drinks on the Secret Menu
Also known as a Black and White Mocha, Penguin Mocha, Marble Mocha, and Tuxedo Mocha, this drink is a latte made with both the regular mocha and white chocolate mocha syrups. It is delicious, especially if you like sweeter drinks. To make it a Red Tuxedo Mocha, just add a pump of raspberry syrup.
Nutella Frappuccino (AKA The Nutella)
Need I say more? This is a delicious blend of hazelnut syrup and mocha syrup. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, sounds amazing right? It's a tasty blend put together with crushed ice to make a refreshing and delicious treat.
This is my personal favorite. It's a White Chocolate Mocha with some ground javachips in it, yum yum. Starbucks phenatics will know that javachips are the coffee/chocolate chunks that give the famous Javachip Frappuccino its name. It's a smooth coffee drink with some tiny delicious bursts of chocolaty goodness.
This is any drink (iced, frap, or hot) with two shots to any white mocha, one pump toffeenut syrup, and caramel drizzle. Deliciously sweet and creamy. Definitely a treat to be had at your own peril, aka in danger of having a heart attack if had too often. I am telling my local ambulance to stay posted.
The Grasshopper Frappuccino
This is a Frappuccino claimed to taste just like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. It is a Mocha Frap, enriched with some tasty javachips. and with some mint syrup. Clearly delicious on a hot summer day.
This is pretty obvious, but amazing when h ad. It consists of any favorite frappuccino, whether it's Caramel, Strawberry, Vanilla, or simple Coffee, and a little DIY action. You see, you have to bring a biscotti with you to Starbucks, give it to the barista, and tell them to blend it in. This gives your frap a crunchy cookie crumble affect, more authentic and less artificially-sugared that the new Mocha Crumble Frappuccino. I like to think of this as a fun twist on a breakfast of coffee and biscotti, much more fun, and refreshing too!
Banana Cream Pie Frappucino
A vanilla frappuccino with a whole banana in it. You don't have to bring this, they keep them in stock to make the smoothies. YOu can make is a Banana Nut Frap with some toffeenut syrup, or my personal favorite, a banana Slip Frap with some javachips and caramel drizzle on t op.
This is what I've gathered: If you like Soy Chais, then you are just a hipster. If you like Dirty Chais (a Chai Latte with a shot in it), then you are looking for a kick. But when you want a Soy Chai with a shot in it, you are: TADA! A Dirty Hipster. I was unaware that I was a dirty hipster until only a few weeks ago. so it's nice to know we still learn new things about ourselves everyday!
Going on My Secret Mission to Test the Secret Menu
So, I thought that the secret menu was something initiated by Starbucks and I thought it was something that all baristas know. I was kind of hoping for some kind of secret password, or a golden ticket you had to find to order from it, or maybe you had to get your name on an exclusive list... I went about looking up secret menu drinks, trying to find out how to access it, trying to know the password, but I didn't find anything. Finally I just went to Starbuckses and started ordering the secret drinks. I found out that it was quite different than what I had thought.
The secret menu was apparently fan made favorite combinations of Starbucks ingredients, syrups, bases, toppings, and so on, that soon became common knowledge among Starbucks customers and baristas. However, in trying to order some of these drinks, I was met with mixed results. Some baristas knew exactly what I was talking about. For others, I had to describe how to make the drink. It is pretty embarrassing to order a White Dalmatian and have them look at you like "What? This is Starbucks not Pet Co." But I mean how cool is it to say it and have the barista go, "Oh OK, coming right up." In my experience, the White Dalmatian was one of the least known. The Black and White Mocha was known everywhere I went, but you might seem a little less foolish if you don't call it a Penguin or Zebra Mocha, just say Black and White. The Nutella Frap had about fifty fifty success rate. The Grasshopper was surprisingly most often successful. I think that it is best to know how the drinks you want are made. For example, you can just say "Can I have a hazelnut and mocha frappuccino?" and every barista will know what you're talking about. So in a way the secret menu is more of a secret than it ought to be, being unknown even to some of the baristas. Either way though, who knows better what tastes good than Starbucks fans: The menu is truly by the people, for the people, so what more can you ask?
Thanks for reading!
PS: Shhh, it's a secret.
PPS: Don't forget to comment!
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Mel Carriere from San Diego California on June 26, 2015:
To be honest, I love Starbucks but all I ever drink there is straight black coffee and sometimes a Black Iced Tea. I'm definitely a no frills guy when it comes to caffeine. I have to admit that the Banana Cream Pie drink sounds good, however. Great hub!
Lynn Savitzky from New Jersey on June 11, 2015:
Good news-Cotton Candy Frap is available for real now. :)
hubsy (author) on July 14, 2014:
Krysteena, thank you so much for commenting! It's so cool that a barista read this, you are the expert after all... I'm glad that you thought the hub was accurate when talking about how not all baristas know the made up drinks and really hope people aren't too rude when they expect you to know what they're talking about...that's just ridiculous!
Krysteena from Los Angeles on August 09, 2013:
I'm a barista at Starbucks, and I have to say that I really am glad that you added the section about how not all baristas will know all the secret menu options. The new and different drinks people come up with every day makes it impossible to keep up with every uniquely named drink. I know many people who just assume that when you start working at Starbucks they give you some kind of book with a list of unique drinks all with cute special names, this couldn't be further from the truth.
I never have an issue with making a special order drink, I love hearing what combinations people have come up with. I do though hate when someone gets upset or hurt because I haven't heard of their drink before. Just come armed with at least an idea of what goes in your drink, I promise to try my best to make you what you want.