what does upside down mean at starbucks

What Does Upside Down Mean at Starbucks? A Quick Guide

Have you ever been to Starbucks and heard someone order their drink “upside down”? If you’re not familiar with the term, it can be confusing. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll explain what “upside down” means at Starbucks, and how it affects your drink.

Upside Down Coffee: The Starbucks Lingo

In Starbucks’ language, asking for a drink “upside down” means changing how they make it. They switch the order of putting in the ingredients for certain drinks like lattes, macchiatos, or espresso shots.

For instance, if you order an upside down latte, the barista adds the espresso shot first, then the milk, and finally any flavor syrup or toppings. This tweak can alter the taste, layers, and structure of your drink.

Ordering upside down can also help control how sweet your drink is. For instance, if a drink is too sweet for your liking, you can request it upside down to use less syrup.

Remember, not all drinks work this way, and some might mean something different when ordered upside down. For example, if you ask for an Americano upside down, they’ll add hot water to the espresso shots, not the other way around.

While “upside down” isn’t a standard Starbucks menu option, it’s a term regulars know, and you can ask for it when you order.

Some popular examples

Caramel Macchiato: In the usual preparation of a Caramel Macchiato, the process involves layering vanilla syrup, steamed milk, espresso, and finally, drizzling caramel on top. However, when you request it “upside down,” the sequence shifts, with the caramel taking the lead, followed by the milk, and then the espresso. This alteration not only rearranges the layers but also has the potential to influence the flavor profile of the drink.

starbucks Upside Down Iced Caramel Macchiato

Mocha: When a customer orders a mocha upside down, the barista will first add the chocolate syrup and then the espresso shots on top of the syrup. Next, the steamed milk is added to the drink, followed by a dollop of whipped cream on top.

This method of preparation is different from the standard way of making a mocha, where the espresso shots are added to the steamed milk and then the chocolate syrup is drizzled on top. By making a mocha upside down, the chocolate flavor is more pronounced and the layers of the drink are reversed.

Other popular examples of upside down drinks at Starbucks include the upside down latte, the upside down espresso shot, and the upside down frappuccino.

Why Order Coffee ‘Upside Down’?

But why would someone want to order a drink upside down? There are a few reasons.

  1. Flavor Balance: Reversing the order of ingredient addition, such as putting milk or syrup at the bottom, allows for better integration of flavors. This can create a more balanced and enjoyable taste experience.
  2. Customization: Ordering ‘upside down’ provides a level of customization that allows you to tailor your coffee to your specific preferences. If you like a particular aspect of your drink more pronounced, this method can help achieve that.
  3. Texture: For some, changing the layering of ingredients can influence the texture of the coffee. It can make it smoother or more blended, enhancing the overall mouthfeel.
  4. Sweetness Control: If you find that a standard coffee is too sweet, requesting it ‘upside down’ can reduce the sweetness by changing the order of syrup and milk.
  5. Personal Preference: Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste. Some individuals simply prefer the way their coffee tastes and feels when ordered ‘upside down.’

Customer Experiences

Many customers find that ordering their coffee upside down elevates the overall flavor, resulting in a smoother fusion of coffee, milk, and syrups. As one reviewer pointed out, “My caramel macchiato becomes a richer, creamier delight when I opt for upside down – it’s my top choice now.”

For some Starbucks regulars, experimenting with their orders is an adventurous pursuit, and going upside down adds an element of surprise. “Trying different drinks upside down is enjoyable. You never quite predict the outcome, but it’s almost always a delightful revelation.”

The allure of Starbucks lies in its ability to customize drinks precisely to your liking, and going upside down plays a significant role in this personalization. As one delighted customer exclaimed, “I adore that Starbucks lets me enjoy my latte exactly as I desire.”

Texture is a crucial factor in coffee enjoyment, and ordering upside down can enhance it. Some patrons notice that when the layering is reversed, their drinks attain a creamier and more consistent feel. “It’s like a flawless blend with every sip,” shared a devoted Starbucks enthusiast.

How To Order Drinks Upside Down At Starbucks? Step-by-Step

In-Store Ordering

  1. Approach the Counter: Walk up to the Starbucks counter and wait for your turn to place your order.
  2. Specify Your Drink: Clearly state the name of the drink you want and add “upside down” to your order. For example, if you want a Caramel Macchiato with reversed layering, say, “I’d like a Caramel Macchiato upside down, please.”
  3. Clarify Preferences: If you have specific preferences, such as less syrup or extra milk, be sure to communicate them clearly to the barista. They can customize your drink further based on your taste.
  4. Pay and Wait: Once your order is confirmed, pay at the register, and then wait for your custom “upside down” drink to be prepared.

Ordering via the Mobile App

  1. Open the Starbucks App: Launch the Starbucks mobile app on your smartphone.
  2. Select Your Drink: Browse the menu and select the coffee or beverage you desire.
  3. Customize Your Order: Under the customization options, look for the “Ask for More” section. Here, you can find the “Upside Down” option. Toggle it on to request your drink with reversed layering.
  4. Add to Cart and Order: After customizing your drink, add it to your cart and proceed to order as usual. Ensure that your customization preferences, including “upside down,” are clearly listed.
  5. Payment and Pickup: Complete the payment process through the app. Then, head to your selected Starbucks store to pick up your order when it’s ready.

Tips For Ordering

Here are some tips to make the ordering process smoother:

  • Be clear and concise when you order. Say the name of the drink and “upside down” in the same sentence to avoid any confusion.
  • If you’re not sure what modifications you want, ask the barista for recommendations. They may have some great ideas for how to make your drink even better.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! Ordering your drink upside down can lead to some interesting flavor combinations. Just make sure you’re not ordering something that’s too complicated for the barista to make.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Ordering Drinks Upside Down

Ordering your drink upside down can be a little tricky, so here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t forget to say “upside down” when you order. If you just say the name of the drink, the barista may assume you want it made the regular way.
  • Don’t be too complicated with your modifications. If you ask for too many changes, the barista may not be able to make your drink upside down.
  • Don’t be rude to the barista. They’re there to help you and make your drink just the way you want it. If you’re polite and friendly, they’ll be more likely to go the extra mile to make your drink perfect.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to order your favorite drink upside down like a pro!


What does it mean when coffee does the opposite?

When coffee does the opposite, it typically refers to the “upside down” customization at Starbucks. It involves reversing the order of ingredient layering in certain coffee drinks to achieve a different flavor and texture.

Is an upside down caramel macchiato the same as a vanilla latte?

No, an upside down caramel macchiato and a vanilla latte are not the same. While both involve customization, the key difference lies in the ingredients and flavor profile. A caramel macchiato typically includes espresso, milk, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle, while a vanilla latte consists of espresso, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup.

Why do they put upside down lattes?

Upside down lattes are prepared this way to achieve a different texture and flavor. Reversed layering ensures that the milk blends more evenly with the coffee, providing a smoother and creamier sip for those who prefer it that way.

Why do people order caramel macchiato upside down?

People often order a caramel macchiato upside down to change the layering of ingredients. It results in a smoother blend of flavors, making the drink taste richer and creamier.

How to order caramel macchiato upside down on the Starbucks app?

To order a caramel macchiato upside down using the Starbucks app, select the drink, and in the customization options, look for “Ask for More.” Toggle on the “Upside Down” option to request the reversed layering.

What is an upside down flat white at Starbucks?

An upside down flat white at Starbucks follows the same principle of reversed layering. It means that the espresso shots are poured over the steamed milk, creating a distinct taste and texture compared to the traditional flat white.

What is an upside down espresso shot?

Ordering an espresso shot upside down means that the shot is pulled in reverse order. Instead of coffee first and crema on top, the crema (the creamy layer on top of espresso) is released first, followed by the coffee. This can change the taste and aroma of the espresso.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know what “upside down” means at Starbucks, you can experiment with your drinks and order them according to your preferences. Remember that the baristas are always happy to help you and answer any questions you may have.

Whether you want to alter the flavor profile of your favorite drink, try something new, or simply want to impress your friends with your Starbucks lingo, ordering your drink upside down is a great way to do it.

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