What Exactly Is A Handcrafted Drink From Starbucks?

If you frequent Starbucks, you might often wonder what exactly constitutes a handcrafted drink. Maybe you've seen the term on the coffee chain's menu or you want to use reward points earned from using a reusable cup and need to calculate if you've raked up enough to score a free iced latte. It's actually a rather simple answer, because a handcrafted drink is a beverage that requires a Starbucks barista behind the counter to make it themselves rather than pour coffee from a carafe or out of a bottle.

Any of those expensive highly-customized drinks that require a barista to steam milk, blend ice, or press a button on the espresso machine is considered a handcrafted drink. That goes for cappuccinos, cold brews, lattes, frappuccinos, and all of those other fancy drinks you may order at Starbucks. These drinks are usually more expensive, because the cost factors in the labor and extra ingredients, and requires a little patience before you take the first sip. To get a free handcrafted drink, it requires 200 stars with the Starbucks rewards program.

What's not a handcrafted drink at Starbucks

There are a couple of different drinks sold at Starbucks that aren't considered a handcrafted drink. The first set is sort of obvious, because it's those bottled and canned drinks available in the coolers, like the bottles of water and packaged frappuccino beverages that are also available at some grocery stores. Perhaps more surprising drinks that require a little work from your favorite barista but aren't considered handcrafted are hot brewed coffee and tea, likely because it just requires the liquid to be poured into a cup and served.

So while there are plenty of handcrafted drinks available at Starbucks, the majority of its food like the breakfast sandwiches, and the avocado spread you might want to skip, are prepackaged. This goes for the bakery items such as muffins and scones and the bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches that arrive at the store frozen. Sure, the barista might have to put it in the oven to warm it up but they aren't frying up eggs or mixing dough. 

If you are more curious about some of the chain's handcrafted drinks, check out Tasting Table's ranking of the 35 most popular beverages at Starbucks. Your favorite is probably on there.