I remember it so clearly - my first Starbucks run. It was the summer of 2014, I was a young teenager, and all of my friends were baffled that I'd never ventured to Starbucks before. So my mom and I went to our local one, and when it was time to order, I remember my mouth got dry, my hands were dripping with sweat and my mind went blank. 

I wasn't a coffee drinker, so what was I supposed to order? There wasn't any sort of guide, and the menu looked like it was in a different language (what the heck even is a Frappuccino?)

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A few years later, I found out my experience wasn't out of the ordinary - in fact, most people I've talked to about their first Starbucks experience had the same feeling of panic about what to order.

"I'm a Dunkin' Donuts person, so when I went to Starbucks for the first time, I panicked and ordered a Dark Roast," - Anastacia Vargas, University of Florida Class of 2022

That's why I wanted to make this guide to help out any non-native Starbucks speakers to help them navigate the slightly intimidating menu.

The Basic Terminology          

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Tall = Small

Grande = Medium

Venti = Large

Skinny = Espresso-based drinks that use 2% milk, not whole milk 

Frappuccino = A dessert-like blended drink that has the consistency of an icier milkshake

Refresher = Think of fruit flavored iced tea

Cold Brew = Fancy coffee that is steeped for twenty hours and has more caffeine than iced coffee 

Nitro Cold Brew = The extreme coffee; it's smooth and strong

Protein Blended = Coffee with a Frappuccino consistency plus protein

Espresso = A strong coffee bean that's more popular in Europe than the US

Americano = Espresso and water

Mocha = Chocolate coffee (yum, am I right?!)

Cappuccino = Espresso with a thick layer of foam 

Latte = Espresso with a semi-thick layer of foam 

If You're a Coffee Drinker...

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- Iced Coffee with/without Milk 

- Nitro Cold Brew with/without Sweet Cream

- Cafe Mocha (Iced or not)

- Vanilla Latte (Iced or not)

- Caramel Macchiato

- Cappuccino 

- Any Frappuccino (you can add a shot of espresso to any of them)

If You're Not a Coffee Drinker...

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- Any Frappuccino (you can ask for it without the coffee). I would recommend the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino if you just want a basic sweet treat, but the Triple Mocha Frappucino is bomb if you want something chocolatey - the Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino is also a great seasonal drink during the winter.  

- The Refreshers. These are good because they don't have coffee, but they're still tasty and, well, refreshing. 

- Iced Tea. A classic that you can't go wrong with. They have a lot of different variations of it, so there's something for everyone. 

- Creme Drinks. They have ones like Cinnamon Dulce Creme, Pumpkin Spice Creme, Gingerbread Creme, etc. It's a hot, sweet drink with steamed milk and flavored syrup with whipped cream on top - mmm! 

- Hot Chocolate. The cool thing about this is that they offer lots of different kinds: Peppermint Hot Cocoa, Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa, etc.

You're Ready to Order Now

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Now you guys are hopefully better prepared with what to get when you go to Starbucks! And if you have any friends or family that were as equally terrified of a Venti as you were, share this article with them. Life is better when you're confident, and hopefully this survival guide is step in the right direction.