You may have been nursing a love affair with the mocha Frappuccino for the past decade, but you might want to start changing it up. Make it sweeter, make it stronger, add a zing of caramel. Starbucks may have a litany of coffee options, but hardcore customers know that the menu is merely a stepping stone to a better coffee experienceone that's entirely personal. As a neurotic who obsesses over everything from the amount of ice to the number of pumps, I can heartily recommend the venti chai tea latte, chilled and not iced, with three pumps of syrup and non-fat milk.


Here's what else you can do:

1. Control the intensity of your coffee.

The average Tall drink has a single espresso shot while the Venti has a double. But if you're pulling an all-nighter, you can actually amp it up to be stronger for a small fee. Otherwise, if you're just craving the flavor without the jolt, you might want to get it in decaf.

Starbucks also offers a ristretto shot. Using the same signature Espresso Roast, less hot water is pushed through the coffee grounds, resulting in a fuller, more concentrated flavor.

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2. Play with the flavors.

If you're the type of person who likes to go crazy with the toppings at Pinkberry, you can totally have that much camp in your Starbucks, too. You can add pumps of caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, raspberry, peppermint, almond, mint, Irish cream, classic syrup, and sugar-free vanilla.

Just remember, a Tall has a standard of two pumps, a Grande has three, and a Venti has four. You can also ask the barista to knock off a pump if you want a tamer taste.


If you want your drink to double as dessert, ask for sauce. It comes in either mocha or white chocolate mocha.

3. Choose your milk.

How you like your milk can change the whole tone of your drink. Most people know about soy and non-fat, but there's also whole milk, breve (mix of heavy cream and whole milk), and 2% (half whole and half non-fat).

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4. End it with whipped cream.

You can crown your Starbucks drink with whipped cream. Unfortunately, cherries have yet to be made available.

5. Get it chilled.

If you're disheartened when your iced Starbucks is 50% ice cubes and 50% the price you're paying, ask to get it chilled instead. A tip would be to request a fewer number of pumps to balance the flavor that would ordinarily be watered down by the ice.

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This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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