If I’m not in a drive-thru getting my iced coffee as my little treat for the day, chances are I’m behind the bar making yours. I work as a barista at a major coffee chain. When I come home with matcha-stained shoes, it reminds me of the bizarre little drinks I always get orders for each shift. 

Steamed milk, lemonade, & hot tea

One of the first stories I remember my coworker telling me was a woman wanting steamed milk and lemonade in her hot tea. Even though the milk was going to curdle inside the tea, she still wanted to drink it.

The Barbie Frap

One of the first few times I was taking orders on drive-thru, a man pulled up asking for a Barbie frap. That isn’t something on the menu. Luckily, my coworker saw the confusion on my face when the man insisted it was on our “secret menu.” He told the customer a Barbie frap isn’t a real thing, and if he had the ingredients for it, we would be able to make it for him.

When you watch a TikTok promoting a fancy custom drink that’s on the secret menu (there’s no such thing), the comments always say to have the list of ingredients ready for your baristas.

As said barista, it’s helpful if you have those recipes screenshotted or written down in your notes, and it’s okay if you let us know you need a minute to find it. Those super long orders of everything but the kitchen sink are always the orders you stare at when they come through the printer, hoping they’ll disappear.

The longest order sticker I've ever seen

The last sticker I saw like that was a venti Matcha Latte, it had

Irish Cream Cold Foam

Oat milk

Extra Hot

No Foam

5 Blonde Espresso shots

1 pump of Chestnut Praline

1 pump White Mocha

Caramel Brulee Topping

Cinnamon Dolce Topping

Praline Topping

Holiday Sprinkles

Cocoa Powder

Salted Brown Sugar

Red and Green Sprinkles

Cinnamon Powder

Yes, that’s three different toppings, two different sprinkles, two different powders, and endless amounts of shaking for me. A tip: if you’re ordering a hot drink and want cold foam, the foam is going to melt to the bottom of the drink. So that $1.25 extra that you’re paying is sinking to the bottom of your cup.

A Pink Drink with espresso?

Another order that was a little funky was a venti Pink Drink with ristretto shots. The Pink Drink is coconut milk and strawberry acai, so adding espresso might not be the route you want to take.

An iced White Mocha with strawberry puree

I’ve also seen people order the Iced White Mocha, but instead of caramel drizzle and vanilla sweet cream foam, they order it with the cup lined with strawberry puree and strawberry puree inside the foam and caramel drizzle on top. Even though I love strawberries, I wouldn’t be able to handle the sweetness of this drink.

A cold brew with lemonade

My favorite bizarre drink I made was a cold brew with lemonade inside of it. I've heard about cold brew and bottled orange juice, but this was my first-time hearing about cold brew and lemonade.

Writing about these drinks might have given me a sweet tooth, but, if you enjoy what you’re ordering, keep ordering it. Just make sure when you have the ingredients list ready for your barista. As long as you get your little treat, and it makes you happy that’s all that matters.