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The crowds at Starbucks are drawn not only by its cozy atmosphere each morning. The Starbucks Rewards program and its signature handcrafted drinks are part of the appeal for regulars. The question then arises, what is a handcrafted drink at Starbucks and how can you claim one using your rewards?
You may want to exchange your Starbucks Rewards Program points for one of Starbucks’ handcrafted beverages if you belong to the Starbucks Rewards Program. Since it’s one of the most frequently redeemed items, it’s hard to overlook.
There are no specific characteristics that distinguish ‘regular’ from ‘handcrafted’ drinks. I hope this article will help clear up the confusion and help you get the best value for all the hard-earned stars you earned.
Please note: This is an article that was accurate at the time of publishing; however, Starbucks may change its conditions or beverages at any time. Check the program’s stipulations to ensure you have the most current information.
Background: Starbucks Rewards Program
Every time a customer spends a dollar, they get a certain number of stars in the Starbucks Stars loyalty program(1).
One of the best things about the stars is that they come with a redemption program – a chart that outlines that you can use the stars in several ways, such as to get free refills, add-ons, etc.
Starbucks Stars(2) can be earned in many ways. For every dollar you spend on an item, you receive a certain number of stars.
If you pay with cash or a digital prepaid card you may even earn more stars per dollar spent depending on the method of payment. It is also possible to enroll in promotions that can earn you thousands of introductory stars just by signing up.
How Many Stars For a Handcrafted Starbucks Drink?
You can earn 150 Stars by spending $30 to $75 during qualifying purchases for a handcrafted drink. There are varying prices for drinks depending on where you are, but you can generally expect a return of around 5 – 10%.
You can purchase any size of handcrafted drink paid in stars, with extra shots and add-ons available. You might consider other ways of ‘pimping up’ your beverage for free.
What is a Handcrafted Drink at Starbucks?
Whether you’re a frequent Starbucks shopper or not, it’s likely that you’ve ordered a handcrafted beverage at least once. As a short explanation, Starbucks lingo for any beverage made behind the counter is a handcrafted beverage. Take a moment to recall your lattes, frappuccinos, and iced teas. It’s true that there are some exceptions, but we will try to explain them below.
Make sure that your beverage is handcrafted by your barista before ordering
Espresso Based Drinks
Whenever you have an espresso shot in your drink, it is handcrafted! The perfect way to start your morning is with espresso drinks. From basic espresso drinks to more unique items like Cinnamon Dolce Latte, they offer a broad range of options.
With 150 stars, one can also add as many espresso shots as they like! There is always the option to redeem 50 stars for brewed coffee if you don’t feel like a handcrafted beverage.
On the Starbucks website or in-store menus, you can view the full menu of handcrafted espresso-based drinks (3).
List of Handcrafted Espresso Drinks
Starbucks’ Frappuccino is one of its most popular beverages. In addition to being a handcrafted beverage, it is also one of its most popular drinks. Whenever you feel like treating yourself to something more substantial, such as a dessert drink, this is an excellent choice.
At Starbucks, frappuccinos are one of the most expensive drinks, so getting one with your stars is an excellent deal.
A fairly comprehensive list of blended beverages can be found here. However, you can always check their website for a list of changing blended beverages(4). Furthermore, you can add whatever flavor you want to your drink.
Here is a list of handcrafted blended drinks
A Starbucks fan’s favorite refreshment on a hot day is an iced coffee, which is a handcrafted beverage. There are nitro and cold brew options as well.
Handcrafted cold coffee drinks include iced mochas, iced lattes, and shaken espresso drinks.
Be sure to ask about brewed coffees with ice included in the handcrafted drinks menu before ordering.
List of Handcrafted Iced Coffees
You might be surprised to know that iced teas are also considered handcrafted drinks if you’re not much of a coffee drinker.
However, bottled teas aren’t part of this category. So instead, if you prefer iced black, green, or herbal tea, make your own. Feel free to try some of the more unique flavors, such as guava or matcha lemonade.
Iced teas are handcrafted (except bottled ones) and are available for redemption with your Starbucks Stars!
List of Handcrafted Iced Teas
Cold drinks are a great alternative to iced coffee and iced tea when you don’t feel like iced coffee or tea.
If you have Starbucks Stars, you should consider purchasing cold drinks with them. When you get creative, it can get really expensive; just think about an iced pineapple matcha drink.
Handcrafted cold drinks include refreshers but do not include bottled water, milk, or juice.
List of Handcrafted Cold Drinks
The availability of seasonal beverages is primarily dependent on where you live and what time of year it is.
To know what’s currently available, check out the featured menu on the website. They change the beverage menu based on seasons or on the occasion, such as Christmas. Therefore, you should not order a pumpkin spice latte during the height of summer.
If you are wondering what seasonal drinks are available where you live, check the Starbucks featured beverage menu(5). Keep in mind this list of handcrafted beverages will change often!
List of Seasonal Beverages
A selection of handcrafted drinks is also available, including steamers and specialty hot teas. These two categories may suit your tastes if you’re not into cold drinks or coffee.
The variety of beverages available in steamers includes Vanilla Creme, steamed apple juice, and more. In addition to hot teas, there is a choice of handcrafted chai lattes, matcha tea lattes, and the mighty London Fog lattes.
What Size Drink Can I Get With Starbucks Rewards?
What size is available for your drink based on the number of stars you have redeemed? Whether you’re getting a drink for 50 or 150 stars, all customizations, including the size, are included. It does not matter which size the drink is; it can be a Tall, Grande, Venti, or Trenta as long as it’s available in that size. Please note that frappuccinos do not come in Trenta.
With your rewards, place an order for the largest handcrafted drink available and split it with family and friends.
What is NOT a Handcrafted Drink?
There is a long list of handcrafted drinks, but many items are not handcrafted, making them not eligible for reward points or not acceptable under Starbucks’ policy.
When we say it’s not worth it, we mean you’re not getting the best value, or you do not want to redeem 150 stars for a basic drink.
Pre-packaged Drinks & Alcoholic Beverages
There is no reward program for beverages like coffee, tea, water, milk, and juices that come in bottles. I am talking about the items that you can see in the fridge as soon as you enter the store.
There used to be alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine that were available at Starbucks, but currently, those drinks aren’t available. Although your store might be still offering them, they probably cannot be bought with star redemptions even if the location still offers them. That’s a real disappointment.
Regular Coffees & Teas
Starbucks Rewards hackers sometimes use the add-ons included, like extra shots and syrups, to maximize the value of the drink.
Depending on the store and the barista involved, some of these drinks can be considered to be ‘handcrafted’. However, if you are trying to get the most value out of your Starbucks rewards, they are not worth the hassle.
Final Verdict: What is a Handcrafted Drink at Starbucks?
If you’d like to know what is a handcrafted drink at Starbucks, you can use the information we’ve shared as a guide. However, you should keep in mind that the information is only accurate as of the time of writing.
In addition, Starbucks reserves the right to change the terms or remove the availability of beverages at any time. If you’re unsure whether or not a drink is considered handcrafted, make sure to ask your barista!
What is considered a handcrafted drink at Starbucks?
Basically, any drink that is made behind the counter at Starbucks by your barista is considered to be a handcrafted drink. There are some exceptions, such as those using brewed coffee and tea, as well as those using pre-prepared drinks, bottled and otherwise. For a more detailed list of what we are referring to in the handcrafted category, refer to our guide above.
Is cold brew considered a handcrafted beverage at Starbucks?
It is important to note that regardless of the fact that cold brew is technically pre-made, it is still considered to be a handcrafted beverage. This might be attributed to the fact that cold brew is far more complex than regular brewed coffee. The overall star redemption rate for cold brew is medium.
Do Starbucks Stars expire?
It is important that you know that Starbucks Stars collected when you pay in cash or with a regular card expires after six months. In the ‘Rewards’ section of your account, you will be able to keep track of the Stars that are about to expire. If you have a Starbucks Rewards Visa Card, or if you’re using a prepaid Starbucks account, the Stars you earned won’t expire until the card or account is opened. The stars on the card or account will expire after six months of the card or account being closed.
Would you like to know where your information comes from? That is something we completely understand. All the information we provide comes from reputable sources. The following publications are cited in this article: