- Some Starbucks baristas say they’re flooded with orders for a complex iced mocha.
- One said he’s making at least 15 of the TikTok-inspired drinks every day.
- It’s based on Starbucks’ iced white mocha, with the whipped cream substituted for vanilla sweet cream cold foam.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
“One iced white mocha with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and extra caramel drizzle.”
It may sound like a highly specific, complex coffee order – but some Starbucks workers hear it a dozen or more times a day.
Starbucks workers told Insider they’re inundated with orders for the same TikTok-inspired “secret-menu” drink. It’s based on Starbucks’ iced white mocha, but with the whipped cream substituted for vanilla sweet cream cold foam, and with an extra pump of caramel drizzle on top.
One barista in Tennessee said that he makes “at least 15” of them each day. “It’s the typical TikTok drink,” he said – “the biggest one.”
A grande version of the drink – Starbucks’ medium size – cost $7.60 to order from four separate Starbucks stores on Uber Eats.
“I cannot stress this enough, I have made it dozens of times on just a single shift for the past two to three months,” a former Starbucks shift supervisor in Baltimore said.
Both people spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity.
“That to me is a really funny order,” a former barista in Los Angeles said. She wanted to remain anonymous because there’s a chance she’ll work for Starbucks again, she said.
She said the cold foam had the same ingredients as whipped cream, but a “slightly different texture” because the air is whipped into it in a different way.
Sometimes baristas read the stickers wrong and made the drinks with whipped cream instead, she said. Some customers would be fine with this, but others would ask the baristas to remake the drink over what she called a “meaningless” distinction.
Baristas’ opinions are split on how good the drink tastes.
“I can’t blame the customers [for ordering it], it’s good if you’re got an extreme sweet tooth,” the former Baltimore shift supervisor said.
But a barista at a different store in Baltimore, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the drink was too sweet.
“It’s just overly sweet, definitely gross,” she said. “But people will pay $7 for that drink.”
‘The TikTok drinks are absolutely ridiculous’
When orders first started trickling through for the iced white mocha modification, the former Baltimore shift supervisor said that they were “bewildered.” But they said that they got used to making bizarre drinks with lots of modifications, they said.
“I’m just gonna accept it, and I’m just gonna make them,” they said. “My job was to just make the drinks.”
Some current and former baristas told Insider that orders for complex drinks were slowing down drive-thru times or causing confusion for mobile ordering.
A shift supervisor in Maryland said some customers added modifications “just because they’re there,” while a former Beverly Hills barista shared a photo with Insider of an iced latte she had made with 12 shots of coffee, alongside five shots of hazelnut syrup.
“The TikTok drinks are absolutely ridiculous,” Stephanie, a barista in British Columbia who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
The chain is now testing a new way for customers to order popular “secret menu” drinks through social media, but some baristas say this could add pressure and complexity to their jobs at a time when they already feel understaffed.
Do you work at Starbucks? Got a story to share? Email this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always use a non-work phone.