Coffee Culture

How to Order Hot Coffee at Starbucks in 3 Easy Steps

Written by

Erica Cervenkova

Coffee Holli Top Pick

With so many hot coffee drinks to choose from, you may become overwhelmed. Thus, finding it hard to convey your order to your barista. This is especially true if you are not used to the ordering process and Starbucks terminologies.


Say you’re in this category and always asking, “how do I overcome this problem?”.


I’ve broken down the entire ordering process into three easy steps, but before we delve into that:

Here’s something you should know:

Before approaching your barista, you must know what Starbucks offers and what you want. It makes for an easier order when you know what you want.

It saves time for you, your barista, and others in line, making the process seamless.

Having noted this:

Let’s get straight to the three steps in ordering your hot coffee at Starbucks.

Step 1: Choose Your Size


The size of the coffee is the first thing you order at Starbucks.


You must be familiar with the sizes to avoid ordering your coffee with the wrong cup.

Here’s another important thing you should know:

The cup sizes at Starbucks depend on the type of drink you’re getting.

For example:

You can get a short for hot coffee but not for iced coffee.

Below is a table showing the cup sizes:

Short8 Ounces
Tall12 Ounces
Grande16 Ounces
Venti20 Ounces
Starbucks Cup Sizes

Step 2: Choose Your Flavor

Usually, the next thing to do after selecting your cup size is to request the flavor of coffee you want. When choosing your flavor, you should know the add-ons to put in your drink.

This part is called customization, where you personalize your drink to your taste. It is important to get your customization right, as the wrong combination can result in a bad coffee experience.


If you’re unsure of what you want, you can always trust your barista to make good recommendations. They are much more experienced coffee drinkers and know the best combinations.

Having said that:

What are the flavors of hot coffee at Starbucks?


The most popular ones are outlined below:

Caramel Macchiato

This is a sweet milky drink with vanilla steamed milk and espresso poured on top. To complete the Caramel Macchiato, Starbucks baristas make a caramel crosshatch, giving the drink its famous enticing look.

Expert tip:

For more caramel in your Caramel Macchiato, ask your barista to prepare it in cali style.

Americano Misto

The Americano Misto is made by adding shots of espresso in hot water with steamed milk for an authentic handcrafted coffee treat.

You should know:

Starbucks also offers the normal Americano without misto. Misto simply means steamed milk.

Pike Place

Loved by many, this Starbucks classic is a medium roast coffee that is always available in all Starbucks outlets. Typically plain, pike place is a smooth blend of Latin American coffees with chocolate and toasted nuts.

Baristas recommend you avoid too many add-ons to your Pike Place. Just keep it simple to relish this freshly served drink.

Seasonal Hot Drinks

Starbucks doesn’t have an official reporting on their most sold drinks.


If they did, seasonal hot drinks may likely top the list, especially in the fall and winter. Among the most popular seasonal hot drinks are Pumpkin Spice Latte and Peppermint Mocha.

The former is made with a combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and Starbucks signature, espresso, and steamed milk.

For the Peppermint Mocha:

Starbucks combines its signature espresso roast with sweet mocha sauce, peppermint-flavored syrup, and steamed milk. The Peppermint Mocha is topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls.

Other popular seasonal drinks at Starbucks include:

  • Caramel Brulee Latte
  • Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte
  • Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

Hot Chocolate

The Hot Chocolate is another Starbucks classic steamed with vanilla and chocolate-flavored syrups. This delicious drink is topped with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate-flavored drizzle.

It gets even better:

You can make your Hot Chocolate even tastier by customizing it with different syrups.

The most popular add-ons include:

  • Peppermint
  • Caramel
  • Cinnamon
  • Raspberry
  • Hazelnut

Starbucks offers even more hot coffee options. These include:

Step 3: Choose Your Drink

The last step is telling your barista the drink you want. It is simply the combination of the cup size, hot coffee flavor, and add-ons (if any).

Make sure your barista understands the exact cup and hot coffee flavor you want. This makes communication better and ultimately results in less hassle for everyone.


A typical order for hot coffee at Starbucks looks something like the following examples:

Can I get a tall Caramel Macchiato with vanilla syrup and caramel sauce?

I’ll do the Hot Chocolate with peppermint, cinnamon and raspberry.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Ordering Hot Coffee at Starbucks

Ordering Hot Frappuccino in the Winter

There’s no such thing as hot frappuccinos, but baristas say it’s a common misconception they correct every time.


Avoid asking for hot frappuccinos at any time. If you need a hot coffee drink during winter, ask for Caramel Macchiato or Hot Chocolate instead.

Ordering Too Hot Coffee

Avoid ordering coffee that is too hot if you’re impatient and need to take your coffee right away. It can scorch your tongue and make you feel uncomfortable for some time.


Ask your barista to serve your hot coffee at “kids temperature.” With this, you can enjoy your hot coffee without distress.


So, we’ve learned the following so far:

  • Typically, the cup size is the first you choose at Starbucks.
  • Starbucks offers plenty of hot coffee options.
  • Always trust your barista for expert recommendations.
  • Customization is an essential part of ordering. Getting it wrong may mean a complete waste of money.
  • Hot frappuccino is not a thing.
  • Ordering too hot coffee can be a bad idea.


If you have further inquiries about ordering hot coffee at Starbucks, feel free to leave a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call a hot coffee at Starbucks?

Starbucks has a hot coffee menu where you can see the names of all available hot coffee drinks. All hot coffee drinks are typically served hot.

How do you order a plain hot coffee at Starbucks?

You can order a plain hot coffee by starting with your preferred cup size. After that, pick between the two regular coffee options—pike place roast and dark roast. The former is by far the most popular option. You can add some syrups but remember to always keep it simple.

What are the good hot coffees at Starbucks?

According to Starbucks baristas, the following are the best hot coffee at Starbucks:
●        Caramel Macchiato
●        Hot Chocolate
●        Pumpkin Spice Latte
●        Peppermint Mocha
●        Starbucks House Roast
●        The Caramel Apple Spice
●        Caramel Brulee Latte

What is the proper way to order at Starbucks?

Ideally, you start by choosing the cup size you want, after which you request a flavor and your favorite add-ons.

Erica Cervenkova
Coffee Connoisseur, SCA Member

As a coffee connoisseur and member of the Specialty Coffee Association, I am dedicated to understanding the sustainability of coffee pods and the impact it has on the environment. My expertise lies in the realm of capsule coffee machines, from the likes of Keurig and Nespresso to other well-known US brands. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others make informed decisions about their coffee choices. Whether you're a coffee enthusiast or just looking for a new way to enjoy your morning cup, I'm here to help.


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