What Happens When You Order A Drink Upside Down At Starbucks

There are a plethora of options that Starbucks offers on its menu to customize your drink. From opting for one of the several toppings or plant-based milks the chain offers, to adjusting the amount of caffeine, syrup, and more, you can easily make the drink of your dreams. One legitimate option you won't see on the menu, however, is the choice to order your drink upside-down.

Ordering an upside-down drink may sound messy or even dangerous, if your drink is hot, but the term doesn't refer to the physical orientation of the drink. Instead, it means that the layers of ingredients in your drink will be inverted, as your barista will follow the steps used to make it in reverse. One of the drinks most frequently ordered as "upside-down" is the Caramel Macchiato. To make it, a barista first adds caramel to the cup, followed by espresso, milk, ice (if it's an iced version), and finally, vanilla syrup. This order of ingredients puts the milk at the top for a sweeter, more mild start before you uncover the espresso at the bottom. Generally speaking, ordering your favorite drink upside-down can unlock a new experience that really shakes things up.

What is the advantage of ordering upside-down?

When it comes to the upside-down Caramel Macchiato, some suggest that it's really just a vanilla latte with a caramel drizzle at the bottom, yet this is a reason why many customers order it. The upside-down Macchiato is actually less expensive than a vanilla latte from Starbucks. When other drinks are ordered upside-down, they're more likely to be unique, rather than resembling another official menu item.

The reason why many customers order drinks upside-down is simple — to switch up the flavor profile. When baristas change the layers of ingredients in a drink, the result is a familiar but exciting version of the original. For instance, in a drink in which the espresso is usually poured into the cup first, inverting it puts the coffee at the top, providing a stronger, overarching coffee flavor to the beverage. In the case of a Caramel Macchiato, having the caramel sauce at the bottom of the cup means you can sip it right up instead of having it float on top. And while turning a Frappuccino upside-down usually just means that the whipped cream will now be at the bottom, it can be a nice surprise to uncover once you've drank most of the frozen beverage.

Simpler ways to change up layers of your drink

If you're looking to snap a shot of your drink, an iced beverage that has the espresso added last may be more photogenic, with the contrast of the dark espresso spilling down into light-colored milk. This is yet another reason why customers order drinks upside-down. However, if you care more about taste than looks (and you maybe want to make things easier for your barista), there are other terms that can help you modify your drink in a somewhat similar way.

Another way to order your drink so that the espresso is added on top is to order a latte macchiato. Instead of pouring espresso into the cup first, it's poured over the milk at the last step of making it, for a sort of inverted latte. Any syrups you choose to include will be added to the drink as normal. At some locations, you can also get espresso poured over your Frappuccino — just ask for it affogato-style (but be prepared to pay an upcharge for the extra espresso). And if you just want extra espresso and don't care how the drink looks or in what order it's assembled, as for a cup of coffee "red-eye," which will add a shot of espresso to your cup.