Starbucks secret menu items you need to know about

Ask any devotee, and you'll find that Starbucks isn't just a coffee shop, it's a lifestyle. Sure, amateurs or once-in-a-while customers might order right off the menu, but that's just a sign you're not really in the know, right?

So, what's the deal with this secret menu everyone keeps talking about? Well, before we talk about some seriously delicious drinks that you're going to want to run out and order right away, let's be clear: The secret menu isn't actually something that exists. One barista spoke to New York Magazine, and put it this way: "That's not a thing. It's just stuff… people made up online, and then people will come in and try to order stuff and expect us to know what it is, and we have no idea."

And that's important. You want to be a good customer and have a pleasant interaction at Starbucks, right? That means doing a bit of legwork when you want something special. Don't just remember the name of the drink you want, be able to tell your barista exactly what goes into it. It'll make everyone's day just a little bit better, and you'll get exactly what you want. Everyone wins.

The Purple Drink

People have said for a long, long time that the first bite is with the eye. There's a reason that professional chefs — and we're looking at you, Gordon Ramsay — get so hung up on presentation, and it's the simple fact that when something looks good, we're going to think it tastes even better once we finally stop admiring it and start eating it. 

So it's not entirely surprising that Instagram has kicked off a whole new trend in food, and that's sharing the pretty things as well as eating them. Scroll through any foodie's feed, and you'll probably find the simply but aptly-named Purple Drink featured at some point.

Want to know how to order your own? It's fairly simple, says Glamour: Just ask for a blend of passion iced tea, soy milk, and vanilla syrup. That's over ice, of course, and then? Add whatever berries you'd like, and whatever you do, don't forget the clear cup and the Instagram shot.

The Pink Drink

PBS says that coffee became the go-to drink in America not long after the Boston Tea Party, when people saw it as sort of their patriotic duty to turn their collective backs on tea and drink coffee instead. It'd be fascinating to hear what those 18th-century coffee drinkers would have thought about the hot pink Instagram sensation known — appropriately — as the Pink Drink.

Surely, they might say, this didn't come from a coffee shop, did it?

It does, and it's actually a take on Starbucks' Strawberry Acai Refresher. Glamour says that if you want to order this one, you'll want to order the Refresher but ask for coconut milk to be used in place of water. Then, top it with strawberries or blackberries, and you'll have the ultimate coffee drink for Instagram. Bonus? It still packs a caffeinated punch, and it's actually pretty easy (for you, the customer, at least) to double down on this one.

Instagrammer nonstopeats points out that if you ask your barista (nicely) to first mix up a Pink Drink and fill the cup just halfway, then mix up a Purple Drink and pour it on top, you'll get a super fruity, two-toned #PinkPurpleDrink that looks as good as it tastes.

The Orange Drink

Looking for something that's essentially the spirit of a hot, summer afternoon in a clear plastic cup? Something bright and sunny, cold and refreshing? It doesn't matter if you're celebrating the return of the summer months or trying to fight off a little bit of depths-of-winter seasonal depression, Starbucks has you covered… as long as you know the right way to ask for the Orange Drink.

It's another one of the rainbow drinks that showed up on Instagram and caused a major fuss, and it's not just another pretty drink: It's also delicious.

It's super easy to get, too, says Seventeen. All you need to do is order a blend of orange mango juice, coconut milk, and two scoops of powdered vanilla bean flavoring. Have them pour all that over ice, and then be sure you get your lighting right when you take your pictures for each and every one of your social media accounts.

The Green Drink

Social media is responsible for a lot of bad things in everyday life, but it's also been responsible for some pretty good things, too. It's not entirely surprising that once Instagrammers realized colorful Starbucks drinks made for some pretty cool photos, they came up with drinks for every hue of the rainbow. Sure, the Green Drink might not look as flashy, as funky, or as unnatural as its pink, purple, and orange counterparts, but it's worth mentioning just how you can order this concoction for one simple reason.

If you're looking for something that's nowhere near as super-sweet as some of Starbucks' drinks tend to be, this is the one for you. Bustle says that it starts with a Shaken Iced Black Tea, but be sure to ask your barista to make it with coconut milk. Then, add matcha. That's it. It's cold, refreshing, caffeinated, and it looks cool — but it doesn't come with a mind-numbing amount of sweetness, either. Unless, of course, you want it to, then add sugar to your heart's content.

Banana Split Frappuccino

Here's the thing about Starbucks: A lot of their drinks aren't really good for you. They're good, sure, but good for you? Not so much. Just take a Grande Strawberry Frappuccino Blended Beverage Creme. At 54 grams of sugar, it's well over the limit that the American Heart Association recommends you have in an entire day, so it goes without saying that any drink you're going to be building around this base isn't going to be doing your waistline any favors. But you know that when you step in the door, and sometimes, you just need to treat yourself.

If it's one of those days, how about treating yourself to one of the Banana Split Frappuccinos that are making the rounds on Instagram? Start with one of those Strawberry Frappuccinos, then ask for a few adjustments to be made. Add a scoop of vanilla bean powder, some java chips, and a whole banana. You're not done yet: Top the whole thing with whipped cream and a drizzle of both mocha and caramel, and there you have it — a banana split in a cup.

Mermaid Frappuccino

Starbucks' logo is a two-tailed mermaid, so it's only appropriate that there's a secret drink out there that's been named the Mermaid Frappuccino. And this one's a bit of an oddity, in that we know exactly who created it: Cosmopolitan says the credit goes to a Starbucks barista who also blogs as The Modern Barista. There's a bit of a catch to this one, and that's simply that it's pretty complicated, as drinks go, and it's time-consuming as well. So please, think of the people in line behind you, and also? Remember to tip your barista for this one.

Start with a Grande Vanilla Bean Frappuccino, then add three scoops of blackberry inclusions. Not bad so far, right? The complicated part is the drizzle: It's three pumps of toasted coconut, eight pumps of white mocha, and three scoops of matcha powder. Be sure to ask for that drizzle to be, well, drizzled along the inside of the cup, and that's what gives it not only that funky green and purple tie-dye look, but also the unique vanilla/blackberry/matcha flavor.

Iced Caramel Pumpkin Macchiato

It's no secret that a good percentage of the country's population loves the pumpkin spice latte. It's how you tell summer is over and autumn is looming, after all: PSLs start showing up everywhere from memes to social media photos, and let's be honest here — it's a love or hate thing.

Even if you love them, you've probably gotten to the point where you just need to mix it up a little… so how about asking for the secret Iced Caramel Pumpkin Macchiato? Sounds amazing, right?

Cosmopolitan has some good news, and says it's actually surprisingly easy to make: Just order an Iced Caramel Macchiato, and replace the vanilla syrup with pumpkin spice syrup. (It's such an easy substitution, you can also get creative and make your own top secret drinks this way, and you're welcome.) If that's not enough PSL flavor, ask for a sprinkling of pumpkin spice to be added, too. Easy, delicious, and very Instagrammable. It's a win all around. (Just remember that you can only order this one when Starbucks has their PSL ingredients on hand.)

Butterbeer Latte and Frappuccino

Do you or someone you know love Harry Potter? Of course the answer to that is a resounding "Yes!" so next time you want to do something special for them — or you — just head to Starbucks for a drink plucked right from the pages of the books.

According to the Independent, there's no official word on just what butterbeer tastes like, but you can sort of guess. For a Butterbeer Latte, order a whole milk steamer with two shots of espresso, then add three shots each of cinnamon dolce syrup and toffee nut syrup, two shots of caramel syrup, and whipped cream and caramel crumbs on top to finish it off. (And yes, this is high-calorie and high-sugar, so if you're trying to watch those, you've been warned.)

If you're looking for something a little different, there's a Butterbeer Frappuccino out there, too. Just start with a Grande Creme Frappuccino, then add three pumps each of caramel syrup and toffee nut syrup. (Feel free to add some cinnamon dolce syrup, too — remember, there's no wrong way to make a fictional drink.)

Mexican hot chocolate

So, what is Mexican hot chocolate? According to Mission Chocolate, it's a tradition with a long, long history that goes back somewhere around 4,000 years to the Aztecs and the Maya. It's a little different today than it once was, and the version that's often made for special holidays is a sort of spicy, frothy drinking chocolate made with ground cacao, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes chile. Sounds good? Perfect, because Cosmopolitan says you can absolutely order it from Starbucks.

Start with a hot chocolate, but ask them to make it with soy milk and no water. Add both mocha syrup and white mocha syrup (2 pumps each for a Venti), then 4 pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup. And don't forget to ask them to add some cinnamon powder to the milk while it's being steamed. That's it! The beauty of this one is that it's the perfect drink not just for the holidays, but for any chilly night — especially when you're sick and tired of some of the more traditional wintertime flavors.  

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Frappuccino

One of the best things about being a kid was all the fun cereals. Remember, the ones you used to get before you were more interested in things like bran and granola? The ones with chocolate and marshmallows that didn't actually taste like marshmallows, and all kinds of shapes that definitely weren't flakes? If you were a fan of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in particular — and who wasn't? — then there's a secret menu item you have to order next time you head to Starbucks.

97 ZOK says the key is to start with a White Mocha Frappuccino, and ask — nicely — if your barista can add both cinnamon dolce syrup and hazelnut syrup. Request two pumps of each if you're getting a Venti… or if you're getting a smaller size, and just really, really like a strong flavor. Then, ask them to blend cinnamon sugar into the drink, top it with whipped cream, and ask for another sprinkle of that same cinnamon sugar. It'll take you back to the days of your youth, and we're not responsible if you suddenly have the overwhelming urge to spend all day watching cartoons after drinking this delicious frap.

Liquid Cocaine

Redditors say it's sometimes called Liquid Cocaine and sometimes it's called White Lightning, but whatever you call it, it's going to deliver a serious burst of caffeine. It might be perfect if that's what you're looking for, but be warned: You've been warned.

There are a few different ways baristas say they've had this one made, and the most basic one is to request four shots of espresso over ice with a few shots of white mocha. The name makes sense now, doesn't it? A few others suggest topping it with whipped cream or adding a few more espresso shots, but you get the idea.

Others add that there's actually a precedent for the drink, and say that it's based on a Vietnamese drink called ca phe sua da. It's super easy to make the traditional way, as Nespresso says it's just some super strong coffee over ice with a burst of sweetness from condensed milk.

Cadbury Creme Egg Frappuccino

Cadbury Creme Eggs are delicious, and anyone who says otherwise is a heathen. The only bad thing about them is that you can only get them at certain times of the year, and let's be honest — stockpiling them never, ever works. They're great plain, in ice cream, wrapped in a roulade, baked into shortbread… and they're great in Frappuccino form, too.

The bonus to this one is that you can order it any time of the year, and you're not actually going to be using any Cadbury Creme Eggs, just recreating that oh-so-distinctive flavor. According to the Telegraph, it's pretty easy, too.

Just start with a Java Chip Frappuccino, then ask your barista to make some additions. Add a few shots of espresso, a scoop of vanilla bean powder, and a few pumps of both vanilla syrup and caramel syrup. There you have it. It's chocolatey, it's sweet, it's got that unmistakable vanilla-caramel flavor… it's a complete win, right? You'll be loving this one, especially around November, when Cadbury Creme Egg season seems ages away.

London Fog

As unthinkable as it might seem to some people, there are those who go to Starbucks not for the coffee, but for tea. And there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, you just need a good cup of tea to make the world's problems not quite disappear, but at least become background noise for just a bit. There's a reason entire countries have been built on tea, after all, and there's also a reason throwing tea into the Boston Harbor made such a bold statement. But tea doesn't have to be boring, either.

If you're in the mood for something that's hot, flavorful, and sweeter than you typically expect a cup of Earl Grey to be, the Telegraph says you absolutely need to order a tea-based secret menu item called London Fog. Start with an Earl Grey Misto (which comes with steamed milk), then add two pumps of vanilla syrup. That's it. Once you try this, you'll never opt for sugar in your tea ever again. Best of all, you can also mix up this idea with different kinds of syrup. They suggest using two pumps of caramel, and honestly, this might make tea a legitimate choice for even the biggest coffee-drinker.

Fruity Pebbles Frappuccino

Sometimes, being an adult is just the worst. There are all kinds of responsibilities that come along with adulthood, and no amount of cake for dinner can make up for certain things. So, next time you head to Starbucks and you're in need of a little escape from the realities of the grown-up world, order up a Fruity Pebbles Frappuccino. For real! 

Make Drinks says you'll need to start with a Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino, and adds that it's actually pretty easy to turn that strawberry drink into one that tastes just like the Fruity Pebbles from your childhood. Just ask your barista to add one pump of classic syrup, one pump of raspberry syrup, two-and-a-half pumps vanilla syrup, and a dash of orange mango juice. You can already taste all that fruity goodness, right? You're almost done: Don't forget to ask them to top the whole thing with whipped cream, because you absolutely deserve it.