Starbucks cups seem to get photographed and instagrammed constantly. But have you ever looked closely at these popular drinks?
If you have, you’ve likely noticed the lines on the side of the cup. Ever wondered what these lines on the Starbucks cups mean? We looked into it and this is what we found…
What Do The Lines On Starbucks Cups Mean?
The printed lines on Starbucks handcrafted drink cups are used by the Starbucks baristas to determine the correct quantities of ingredients in your drink. It makes it easy for the barista to know how much of an ingredient to add and up to where to fill up the cup so they still have space for the ice.
This article takes a look at the lines on Starbuck drinks: which cups use them, what they mean, and how they are used by Starbucks baristas.
What Are The Lines On Starbucks Cups Used For?
Starbucks drinks are unique to Starbucks, and the lines on the cups are markers for unique drink creations; the lines are not standard measurements and cannot be used to measure out standard amounts.
Rather, they are pouring indications for specific ingredients and also mark the process order to make complex hand crafted drinks.
Baristas need these lines for the following reasons:
- To add the correct ingredients
- To add the ingredients in the correct order
- To leave enough room for ice
- To make sure the drink has a properly “finished” (or polished) appearance
- To make the drinks quickly (and correctly) each time
How Do Starbucks Baristas Use The Lines On The Cups?
Starbucks baristas, who may be working under considerable pressure, use the cup markings to measure, pour, and blend the drinks consistently. They can do this more quickly with clear markings on cups rather than by measuring and scooping each separate ingredient.
To make a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, for example, the ingredients must be added in a certain order, or kind of layered, in order to “build” the Macchiato correctly.
A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato needs the syrup to be added first, followed by the milk, ice, an espresso shot, and a caramel sauce topping. When it’s necessary to make these (and many other complex specialty drinks) at speed, the ingredient lines become invaluable.
For a Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino, the frappuccino base syrups are added first – to reach the first line.
Then the milk, strawberry syrup and ice blend is added to reach the middle line. This means that a different amount of milk is used depending on the cup size – tall, grand, or venti. Finally, the drink is topped with whipped cream.
How Do The Lines On The Cups Work?
The lines on Starbucks cups mark off measurements in fluid ounces. If it’s a cold drink being made, there will be a marking for ice.
On a venti size cup (591ml), the first line marks 8 fluid ounces, the second one marks 4 fluid ounces, and the top line marks another 4 fluid ounces. No liquid ingredients can be added after the top line, which is used for the ice line.
The lines are not an indication of how much liquid is in your drink, but rather a sign of how far to fill the cup with each element in the drink.
What Are The Lines On My Reusable Starbucks Cup For?
The printed lines on the reusable cups are purely decorative and are only there as a kind of Starbucks “reminder” icon.
You’ll probably notice that Starbucks baristas don’t take your cup and use it to make a drink. Rather, they make one behind the counter and then pour it into your reusable cup.
Why Is It Important For Starbucks Baristas To Follow The Printed Lines On The Cups?
Starbucks create drink very precise “designs”, and they name and publish these drinks on their online and offline menus. When customers choose a drink, they expect it to look exactly “right”.
You will notice that each Starbucks handcrafted drink has an attractive and appealing finished appearance.
The menus feature drinks with clean and precise layers, crystal colours, tidy contoured surfaces, and pure textures.
These features indicate freshness, coolness, and clarity, and suggest refreshment, health, energy, and wholesomeness.
Most of the milk drinks feature bright fruity bases, indicating rich flavour and fragrance. These bases blend gradually (but not completely) as they climb the glass.
Many blended versions are fused into clouds of flavour, such as the Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte. Others are fully blended, but use ice to break the colour wall, and still other drinks are built in layers.
What Would Happen If Starbucks Baristas Did Not Use The Printed Cup Lines?
If every drink you purchased at Starbucks was simply blended in bulk beforehand and poured upon ordering, the only visual features consumers could base their choices on would be colour and size. And this is not enough.
The clarity or opaqueness of a liquid, the way colours stir, fade, or sit, and the pure icy qualities of cold milks or juices are crucial elements in showcasing artisan drinks.
Baristas must be able to recreate their advertised drinks precisely, over and over again, and to the same standard each time.
The lines printed on Starbucks cups are symbolic directions for Starbucks baristas to follow so they make your hand crafted drink swiftly and correctly each time you ask for one.