The Reason Starbucks Baristas Put The Syrup At The Bottom Of Your Cup

If you've ever ordered a drink at Starbucks and casually lingered in their lobby waiting for your latte to be made, you've likely observed some of the common tasks baristas perform while making orders. Typically, cups are arranged in an assembly line on the counter, organized according to their time-stamped tickets.

Baristas may appear to be excellent multitaskers because they not only have all the drink recipes memorized, but they also make drinks out of order: pulling espresso shots for some while simultaneously whipping cold foam for others. However, Starbucks actually has a policy that allows only two drinks to be worked on at once in order to maintain the quality of each beverage. Of course, this can frustrate impatient customers. One constant you may have noticed is that pumps of syrup always go at the bottom of the cups. Regardless of the drink being made, the syrup is added first, and there's actually science behind this.

According to a statement given to Mashed from a Starbucks representative, thinner syrups like vanilla or hazelnut and thicker sauces like white chocolate mocha and pumpkin are poured into the cups first so they can meld with the warm espresso shots. This is the standard method Starbucks employs, claiming it provides the best results in drinks because it allows the base ingredients to "infuse together before adding dairy or non-dairy milk to the beverage."

Starbucks wants your drink to be perfectly mixed

Reddit user @Namastemf503 posed a similar question to Starbucks employees after receiving a pistachio latte that tasted flavorless and appeared to lack properly mixed sauce. While this issue can usually be resolved by stirring your drink with a stick or straw, the question turns back to the actual policy that workers are supposed to follow.

According to one commenter, thicker sauces like pistachio, caramel, and mocha must be mixed in, adhering to Starbucks' "beverage quality standard." Syrups, being thinner in nature, dissolve seamlessly in the drink without requiring manual stirring. Another barista added that, in their store, they were trained to "swirl" the syrup or sauce in the cup with the coffee or espresso to prevent clear buildup at the bottom.

The heat from the espresso helps dissolve and emulsify any syrup or sauce in the drink. This practice emphasizes the need to add the chosen sweetener to the bottom of the cup before introducing milk or cream. However, it can pose challenges for iced coffees. This technique applies not just to coffee drinks; one barista shared onĀ Insider that syrups are added first even in iced teas and lemonades. There are specific drinks, like the caramel macchiato, that include caramel drizzle on top of the milk foam. These are strategically crafted with a particular flavor profile in mind. Ultimately, Starbucks aims for the flavors in your drink to blend seamlessly and intentionally, which is why it prepares them with such precision.