Starbucks tops the coffee charts when it comes variety: grande, hot, decaf, triple five-pump vanilla, non-fat, no foam, whip cream, extra hot, extra caramel, upside down, caramel machiato.
Beyond the thousands of flavors and orders, Starbucks will happily brag about, according to those in the know there is also a “secret menu”, one which features exclusive concoctions such as the Dirty Hippy and the Captain Crunch.
Experienced coffee drinkers have been known to stroll into a branch and order Zebra Mocha without the barista battling an eyelid, according to the people at The Daily Meal who have uncovered a slew of secret recipes.
Other flavors that have been revealed as exclusive, unadvertised combinations known by the Starbucks team include the Grashopper and the Cake Batter Frappuccino.
Anonymous online conversations between former employees and coffee obsessives are scattered around food blogs and photo sites with tips as to where to order what and how to make sure you get it.
But some say that it isn’t as simple as knowing the name if you want to ensure you get the right beverage and it helps to know the ingredients.
All combinations, of course, require nothing more than the ingredients on offer in branches of the mega-chain so a lot of the detail is in the preparation.
The Undertow Shot for instance is a hot shot of espresso layered over cold milk that is layered over syrup.
One Starbucks enthusiast who prefers his coffee this way explains on his Flickr page: “You drink it like a shot and get a hot then cold then sweet taste.”
Everyone is familiar these days with a Chai latte but if you double up on the shot, the regular Chai drink is apparently elevated to off-the-menu status as a Double Dirty or Extra Dirty Chai.
Alternatively, if Dirty isn’t your style, the soy version is known affectionately as the Dirty Hippy.
The Penguin Mocha or Marble Mocha combines the white chocolate mocha with the regular mocha for those who have decision making issues.
But if what you are looking for is an extra zing there is always the option of adding raspberry flavoring for something called the Red Tux Mocha.
Fans of the cereal may be disappointed to learn that Captain Crunch does not contain sweetened corn and oats, but to many the combination of hazelnut syrup in a Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino is similar enough in flavor to earn the title.
And the list goes on.
So the next time you swing by your local branch for your regular shot of breakfast energy, think again. There may be something better than you just didn’t know about before.
Top ten most inventive “secret menu” Starbucks drinks:
• Dirty Hippy – Chai Latte with two shots and soy milk
• Grasshopper Frappuccino – A mocha frappuccino blended with java chips and peppermint syrup
• Bootleg Brulée – A white mocha with two shots, toffee nut syrup and caramel drizzle
• Zebra Mocha – White chocolate mocha with java chips and chocolate chips sprinkled in.
• Three C’s: Cinnamon dolce latte with caramel syrup and chocolate mocha syrup.
• Biscotti Frappuccino – Frappe with the biscuits bought separately and blended in
• The Penguin Mocha – A white chocolate mocha combined with the regular mocha
• Captain Crunch – Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino with hazelnut syrup
• Red Tux Mocha – A Penquin Mocha with rasberry flavouring
• The Widow Maker – Half iced black tea, half iced black coffee.