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I'm a former Starbucks barista. These 5 drinks are so overrated — here's what to order instead.

Inga Parkel   

I'm a former Starbucks barista. These 5 drinks are so overrated — here's what to order instead.
  • I was a Starbucks barista for a year, and I think some overrated-drink orders should be changed.
  • If you like the Pink Drink, you should try the even better Mango Dragonfruit Refresher.

While I worked at Starbucks for a year, I learned a lot about which drinks were popular among customers.

Although many of the mainstream hits are tasty, I think there are better, underrated alternatives worth trying instead.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes get all the hype, but the Caramel Apple Spice is a wildly underrated fall beverage

The most anticipated holiday drink is the Pumpkin Spice Latte, but the real MVP for autumn is the Caramel Apple Spice.

You don't need to be a caramel lover to enjoy this one, either.

Made with steamed apple juice and a few pumps of cinnamon-dolce syrup, it's a lighter holiday drink and a play on apple cider. Since it's a regular menu item, you can also order it year-round instead of having to wait for one season.

Java Chip is a popular Frappuccino, but the mocha version is far superior

The only difference between the Mocha Frappuccino and the Java Chip Frappuccino is the latter has Frappuccino chips and a mocha drizzle. Still, I think both drinks have pretty different sweetness levels.

If you like sweet drinks but don't want something too excessive, I suggest the mocha version. It's simpler, and it can satisfy your sweet tooth without possibly making it ache.

If you're a fan of Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, definitely try the Nitro version

A regular cold brew comes with Starbucks' copious amount of ice that gives you less beverage and more obstacles. Nitro cold brew is basically a smoother, less watery version of regular cold brew — it's pre-chilled, so ice is omitted from the drink.

Nitro Cold Brew usually costs about $1 more than the regular one, but I think it's a better deal. You get a smoother, richer coffee flavor profile that pairs irresistibly with the vanilla sweet-cream topper.

The Pink Drink is overrated – Mango Dragonfruit is the best Refresher

Since the Pink Drink is made with coconut milk, it has a tropical taste. But if you're looking for something more refreshing that isn't creamy but still has a tropical feel, the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher is the way to go.

The hint of dragon fruit combined with mango will easily satiate those cravings and transport you to the sunny tropics. If you still want a creamy quality to your drink, ask for a Mango Dragonfruit Refresher with coconut milk.

A Caffè Misto is an absolute must if you're tired of traditional lattes

Lattes are typically 2/3 milk and 1/3 espresso, but the milk can overpower and dilute the flavor of the coffee.

So if you enjoy a classic latte and want something that tastes stronger without having to add another shot of espresso, try a Caffè Misto.

Often referred to by the French as cafè au lait, a Caffè Misto has a one-to-one ratio of brewed coffee to steamed milk.

This story was originally published on August 2, 2022, and most recently updated on February 22, 2024.

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