How To Order Cloying Starbucks Drinks Half-Sweet

For some of us, Starbucks' flavored lattes and whipped cream-topped Frappuccinos are the perfect finale to a long day, but for others, many of the drinks on the coffee chain's menu are far too sweet. If you've ever tried a Starbucks beverage and thought that you would like it, if only it were less sugary, you can actually adjust the sweetness of almost any drink with one simple request: Asking for your order to be made "half-sweet."

This request tells to your barista to make the drink with fewer pumps of syrup, as syrup is responsible for most of a drink's sweetness. Alternatively, you can ask the barista how many pumps are in a given drink, then adjust that number to your personal preference. Keep in mind that you can always make your drink sweeter once you receive it, but you can't make the drink less sweet, so it can helpful to use this ordering trick whenever you try something new.

On a similar note, you can nix the sugary syrups altogether in certain drinks. Starbucks carries a sugar-free vanilla syrup, so drinks made with this syrup can be made less sweet with this substitution, with no need to sacrifice any of that vanilla flavor. This includes caramel drinks like the Caramel Macchiato, which are made with vanilla syrup, not a caramel one.

Some Starbucks drinks are hard to make less sweet

Although your Starbucks barista can easily make your latte or shaken espresso less sweet, other drinks aren't as simple to customize in this manner. Chai lattes, smoothies, and Refreshers, for instance, are all made with pre-sweetened concentrates. Less of the concentrate makes these drinks weaker in flavor, so you would essentially be watering them down. Starbucks' matcha powder is also mixed with sugar, so matcha drinks come at a set sweetness. 

The one thing you can do is pass up lemonade-based Refreshers for their counterparts that use water, instead. For instance, the chain offers a Strawberry Açaí Refresher and a Strawberry Açaí Lemonade Refresher. The version without lemonade will be less sweet.

Frappuccinos are another tricky drink, as the syrups used to flavor them also serve as an emulsifying agent. Without these syrups, your Frappuccino will come out with an icier texture, as opposed to the creamy texture it's supposed to have. Instead, try ordering a coffee or espresso Frappuccino, as the base for these drinks contains less syrup to begin with. This does limit your options, but you shouldn't have to deal with a less-appealing texture just to have a Frap that's less sweet than most.

Adjust your toppings to make Starbucks drinks less sugary

If none of the aforementioned suggestions apply to the drink you want to order, no worries — we've got a few more ideas for you to try. One trick is as simple as requesting your drink with light whip, or no whip at all. Starbucks' whipped cream is made with a sugary syrup, so this topping adds extra sweetness. Likewise, you can order your drink without sweet cream cold foam, or any other flavor of cold foam. Removing the foam will have little effect on the drink's texture and overall taste.

You might also consider changing up the drizzles of syrup or sprinkles that go on top of your drink. For instance, sub out the default drizzle for a sugar-free vanilla version, or forgo the drizzle altogether. Rather than having your drink topped off with cookie crumbles or sprinkles, you can add depth of flavor with sugar-free options like sea salt flakes. You can also add honey, fruit, or artificial sweeteners to add subtle sweetness without being punched in the taste buds. Any of these modifications are sure to help out customers who want to explore the Starbucks menu, without getting a sugar rush.