Does Starbucks Have An Official Secret Menu?

We've all heard the talk for years from friends and social media about the Starbucks "secret menu." From the "Harry Potter"-themed Butterbeer Frappuccino to the obviously-named Purple Drink, everyone has tried or heard rumors of unofficial Starbucks beverages you can order to mix up your morning routine. But who makes these drinks? And does Starbucks actually recognize them as part of an official "secret menu"?

According to The Motley Fool, there are over 170,000 different possible ways to combine and customize Starbucks ingredients to form different drinks, and the company allows and even encourages customers to make special requests, leading to some interesting concoctions. Some of these ideas were so good that they've gained popularity via word of mouth and social media, gaining common knowledge status. Motley Fool notes that the Cotton Candy Frappuccino is one of these drinks that, while not officially on the menu, is well known enough that many baristas would be able to make it without much hesitation. 

However, while there is an entire website dedicated to the Starbucks secret menu and its various options, the company doesn't officially recognize these items and, therefore, does not train employees to make them, as a spokesperson told The Motley Fool. While some baristas may learn the items after repeated orders or through word of mouth, you can't just walk up to the counter, order a Fruitcake Frappuccino, and completely expect the server to know what you want.

Know the secret

So if there officially is no "secret menu" at Starbucks, how have so many people tried these drinks? The trick is knowing what you're actually asking for. As cool as it feels to walk up and request an obscure drink most people have never heard of, Motley Fool explains that this speakeasy vibe so many people enjoy isn't always practical. Everybody working at every Starbucks can't know the codename for every drink some influencer made up last year. If you really want to try that secret drink, you need to go in armed with a recipe. A barista may tell you they can't make a Peach Cobbler Frappuccino, but as Taste of Home notes, they won't turn you down if you request a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with two pumps of peach syrup, one pump of cinnamon dolce syrup, and blended-in whipped cream, because they know how to make that. 

If you want to try a drink you saw online, it's important to research what's in it so you can make sure you get what you want. The only exception, as noted by the Motley Fool, is when a drink becomes so popular that Starbucks decides to promote it to the official menu, as it did with the Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino in 2016. Until then, you might just have to carry your recipe book with you when you go in to order secret drinks and hope you don't irritate your Starbucks barista with crazy customizations.