Are Starbucks Baristas Allowed To Create Their Own Drinks?

One of the perks many coffee baristas have working for local shops is the creativity when it comes to making drinks. Once you nail down the difference between a latte, cappuccino, and macchiato, then the real fun begins. There's actually a science when it comes to making different coffee drinks, and as coffee art becomes more common among Redditors and TikTokers, more baristas are trying to master their own coffee skills. A video posted on TikTok actually shows how people can practice the art of making latte art at home by using soy sauce and dish soap to avoid wasting money on the more expensive ingredients of coffee and milk (via TikTok).

While a lot of this coffee creativity is encouraged in more local, family-owned coffee shops, corporate businesses like Starbucks and Dunkin' still like to limit employees. With an average of 60 million people served every week at Starbucks, employees might not even have the time to add more personalization and creativity to people's drinks (via Reference). Still, have you ever wondered if Starbucks baristas are given any guidelines or rules when it comes to making their own customized drinks?

Technically, they aren't allowed to

With all the new and limited-edition flavors that come through Starbucks' menu roster, you would think that employees are allowed to experiment and come up with yummy new concoctions to promote to customers at local locations. This actually isn't the case. According to Reddit, a Starbucks employee put up a handwritten sign of 12 new zodiac-inspired coffee drinks and the store manager took it down without saying anything. Looking at the sign, there were several misspellings, including "caramel" and "Sagittarius." While this would be reason to take down a sign, Redditors are chiming in saying it could be corporate policy. 

"Technically no, it's against policies to advertise things that aren't official signs from corporate. That being said a lot of stores, especially licensed stores, do it anyway. It's all about how much your Store Manager and/or DM actually pay attention," one Starbucks barista commented. "Many communications have come down from corporate that says we are not allowed to advertise drinks with non-corporate names. Also, as a fellow barista: this sucks. You're training your customers to go to another store and order an 'Aquarius.' Standards exist to give a unified experience across stores," another Starbucks employee chimed in.

While Starbucks may enact its standard policy, they have been lenient in the past. According to Insider, Starbucks allowed local baristas to come up with free-styled, original drink orders for a couple days in 2016, allowing the coffee giant to quickly test hundreds of new beverage ideas. But as stated above, this can confuse customers if they go to more than one location and want to order a customized drink that was invented at another location.