Starbucks has taken the world by storm with their coffees and frappuccinos. It seems like there is a Starbucks on every corner.
But have you noticed how some Starbucks drinks are considered ‘handcrafted?’ What does that mean exactly? We looked into it and this is what we found…
What Is A Handcrafted Drink At Starbucks?
A handcrafted drink at Starbucks refers to the range of drinks that Starbucks baristas “put together” behind the counter at the time you order them. At Starbucks, the “handcrafted range” is large and diverse and represents some of their most expensive beverages.
This article takes a look at the handcrafted drinks on offer at Starbucks and scrutinizes the definition of “handcrafted drink, including the ingredients and methods needed to produce them.
What Does It Mean When A Drink Is “Handcrafted”?
A handcrafted drink is prepared immediately after it is ordered, with a preparation process that involves taking a base coffee and blending it with additional ingredients.
Preparation of a handcrafted drink can involve a range of cooling, blending, stirring, foaming, and decorating processes and always includes the addition of further ingredients.
Some barristers refer to this process as “building” a drink because the drink is made from the base up.
A base drink, or a drink which is simply poured into a cup is a “brewed drink” or a “poured drink” rather than a handcrafted one.
What Counts As A Handcrafted Beverage?
The handcrafted or handmade drink range refers to certain hot coffee and tea drinks and most of the cold or iced drinks, including teas, coffees, and fruit juice blends.
- If your drink is “built” over an espresso shot, it’s handcrafted. This include lattes and iced lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and Americanos
- All coffee blends are handmade, including hot and iced mochas, which can include additions of milk, chocolate, ice, chocolate powder, and milk foam.
- All milkshakes and thickshakes
- All tea drinks that are “built” over a plain tea brew
- All iced tea drinks
- Crème drinks and frappuccinos
- All iced coffees and other specialty milk drinks
- Cold brews
- Certain fruit juice blends and refresher type drinks and juice and soda blends
Any drinks you buy bottled or in a carton (such as fruit juice, tea, or flavoured milks) are considered to be “handcrafted”.
Is Iced Coffee Considered To Be A Handcrafted Beverage At Starbucks?
All of the iced coffees at Starbucks are handcrafted. They are prepared when you order them, they are build over an espresso base, and they have a range of ingredients added. They vary in size, caffeine content, and ingredients because they are “made” to your specifications.
A typical iced coffee at Starbucks will be built from the following:
- A coffee base
- Any milk from the Starbucks dairy and dairy free choices
- Ice or ice-cream or both
- Cream or non-dairy creamers
- Flavourings, syrups and/or sugars
- A range of dustings or toppings
- Tea (yes, there is an “iced espresso and matcha fusion”, definitely a handcrafted drink!)
What Are The Handcrafted Drinks At Starbucks?
Starbucks offer a rich selection of handcrafted drinks including tea drinks, fruit juice cocktails (non-alcoholic), coffee drinks and seasonal drinks. The following drinks represent some of Starbuck’s most complex and popular beverages:
- From the coffee and espresso menu
- Caramel / Salted Caramel Cloud Macchiato
- White Chocolate Mocha
- From the tea and chocolate menu
- Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit & Honey
- Signature Hot Chocolate
- Espresso & Matcha Fusion
- From the iced beverages menu
- Iced White Chocolate Caffé Mocha
- Raspberry Blackcurrant Frappuccino® Blended Juice (the Frappuccino is a trademark drink which actually (and historically) belongs to Starbucks)
- Iced Cappuccino
- From the Frappuccino® Blended Coffee range
- Chocolate Hazelnut Mocha Frappuccino®
- Java Chip Frappuccino®
- From the Frappuccino® Blended Cream range
- Strawberries & Cream Frappuccino®
- Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino®
- From the Cold Brew menu
- Nitro Cold Brew with Vanilla Sweet Cream
- Cold Brew with Vanilla Sweet Cream
- From the iced tea selection
- Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey
- Iced Shaken Strawberry Green Tea Lemonade
- Iced Chai Tea Latte
There are also a range of seasonal drinks, created to reflect the traditions and customs of each season and the location of each store:
- From the holiday selections
- Caramel Waffle Latte
- Golden Wish Latte
- Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate
- Toffee Nut Crunch Latte and Cold Brew
- Chocolatey Gingerbread Latte
Which Starbucks Drinks Are Not Handcrafted?
The following Starbucks drinks are not considered to be handcrafted because they are poured drinks which need no further preparation.
- Regular plain teas and coffees
- Regular plain fruit juices and sodas
- Any of the bottled and refrigerated drinks – coffee, tea, milk, water, juice, soda
Do The Starbucks Handcrafted Drinks Come In Different Sizes?
Starbucks offer three different sizes for most of their drinks, and this is another indication that your drink is hand made. Not only can you alter the amount of caffeine, dairy product, and sugar in your drink but you can also choose the size of the serving.
Starbucks offer the following size choices:
- Tall (345ml)
- Grand (473ml)
- Venti hot (591ml)
- Venti cold (709ml)
- Trenta (920ml)
When you order your drink, you should also see the number of kJ in each drink.
What Is The Cheapest Handcrafted Beverage At Starbucks?
The most inexpensive handcrafted drinks offered at Starbucks are those drinks with the least added ingredients and the shortest preparation time.
Therefore, while an espresso is a simple black coffee, it is not really handcrafted because it is simply poured, and that’s it.
However, an iced latte is hand crafted. It’s made with a shot (or two) of espresso poured over ice (lots of ice) followed by a small amount of milk. You can choose your size, your strength and your milk: it’s handcrafted, but it’s simple.
A small single shot iced latte is thus going to be one of the cheapest options at Starbucks.
As your drink increases in complexity (and therefore options), it’s naturally going to become more expensive. This applies to the tea range, the fruit juices and all of the coffee choices at Starbucks.
Know what the term “hand crafted drink” refers to can be a useful way to choose (and budget for) your favourite cuppa at Starbucks. It’s also a good way to become familiar with your blend so you can try your hand at making your own!