The Worst Time Of Day To Order Drip Coffee From Starbucks

Starbucks serves food, smoothies, and even cocktails at its Reserve locations, but the popular chain is best known for its coffee. When the original location opened in Seattle in 1971, you could only find three things on the menu: spices, tea, and coffee. Although the company has expanded its menu in a big way since then, basic coffee drinks are still at its foundation. However, if you happen to visit a Starbucks in the afternoon, you may want to order something other than standard drip coffee.

The best time to enjoy such a beverage is early in the morning, when the coffee has been freshly brewed. While drip coffee at Starbucks stores is supposed to be discarded and replaced with fresh stuff every half hour, there's no guarantee that this practice is followed faithfully at every store, as a former barista revealed to Business Insider. If you want a basic coffee in the afternoon, there's no telling how long that grande dark roast you just ordered has been sitting in the coffee vat, and it could wind up with a regrettably stale taste.

Consider an espresso or pour-over instead

In contrast to drip coffee, Starbucks espresso drinks are always fresh because they're made to order all day long. An Americano, which is made with espresso and hot water, would be a great substitute for standard drip coffee. The one drawback is that espressos are more expensive than drip coffees, not to mention only basic hot coffees are eligible for free refills, so it's understandable if you still want a regular cup of joe. 

Another good idea is to order a pour-over, which is made by slowly pouring hot water over freshly-ground coffee beans through a filter. This produces a fresh cup of coffee, but it does take baristas some time to complete these orders. Though it depends on where you live, Starbucks stores tend to be less crowded in the afternoon, which is a great time to order a pour-over. For the sake of the baristas and other waiting customers, try not to order one during the morning rush, or if you're in the drive-through.

Bring stale coffee back to life

If it's drip coffee you want in the middle of the afternoon, then it's drip coffee you'll get. To know if you'll be getting a fresh cup, you could always ask the barista when the coffee was brewed. If it was brewed in the last 30 minutes, the coffee should taste fine. Hopefully, your Starbucks is on top of their fresh coffee game, but if not, you can always ask the barista to doctor up your java.

Milk or cream is a good option, and your barista can even steam it for you. You can also try a flavored syrup or any type of sugar you prefer, whether it be regular sugar or sugar substitutes. Be aware, though, Starbucks does charge extra for their syrups. You can also opt for a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top. Winding up with stale coffee does happen, even in places whose business is coffee, but if you really want drip coffee in the middle of the day, it's easy to dress it up.