Why You Should Never Order Starbucks Lattes Extra Hot

Although your Starbucks barista will dutifully fulfill most drink requests, there are a few order requests they'd prefer you not make — though they'd never say so, of course. One such offender is asking for your flavored latte to be made 'extra hot' — but not because it takes any more time or effort on their part.

Rather, what seems like a harmless request can result in a higher risk of burns for both yourself and the barista making your drink. A regular hot Starbucks drink reaches temperatures around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, but 'extra hot' drinks are heated to 180 degrees. That 20-degree difference is enough to escalate a second-degree burn to a third-degree burn, should your drink spill. In all seriousness, don't even think about trying to drink your coffee when it's that hot.

Instead, if you're ordering a drink 'extra hot' to keep it warm longer, consider participating in Starbucks' Bring Your Own Cup program. A clean, metal thermos brought from home will hold the heat much better than a disposable paper cup and cardboard sleeve ever could.

Too much heat ruins your drink's taste

Besides the obvious dangers of drinking too hot of a coffee, you should keep the taste in mind. Even if you do take a sip of that 'extra hot' latte, you'll very likely not taste anything. Interestingly, the hotter the coffee (or any liquid, for that matter), the less flavor you can perceive. Temperatures upwards of 165 degrees Fahrenheit break down the aromatics in coffee, rendering it all but flavorless, so there really isn't any benefit to super-heating your drink.

What's more, too high of temperatures could even alter the taste and texture of the milk in your latte, with the milk caramelizing, foaming, and finally falling completely flat as it scalds at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. As the milk heats up, its perceived sweetness increases, but only to a point. Once the milk hits scalding, this subtle sweetness disappears and becomes burnt, flat, and just unpleasant overall. This coupled with the bitter bite of espresso leaves a drink tasting less than ideal. 

If you want your Starbucks drink hot, don't mobile order

Mobile-ordering your Starbucks drink 'extra hot' might buy you a few extra minutes to drive over, but the reality of hot, foamy drinks is that you really shouldn't mobile-order them if you want the best possible sip. Depending on how much time passes between you placing your order and picking it up, your drink could have cooled and its foam fallen flat –- an all-around disappointing experience. At that rate, what was even the point of ordering a hot drink?

Rather than order ahead and receive a lukewarm drink, your best bet is to order hot drinks (especially lattes and other foamed drinks) in person. Yes, you'll have to stand in line, and then wait around for a few more minutes while a barista fulfills your order, but you can pick up your drink the moment it's ready. You'll get to enjoy your drink at its hottest, its foamiest, its most aromatic. Seems like a worthwhile tradeoff, if you ask us.