It’s not only the cozy atmosphere that draws the crowds to Starbucks each morning. For regulars, part of the appeal lies in the Starbucks Rewards program and their signature handcrafted beverages. But, what is a handcrafted drink at Starbucks exactly and how can you use your rewards to claim one of those for free?
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If you’re a member of the Starbucks Rewards Program chances are you want to exchange your stars for a handcrafted beverage.
And yet it’s not clear what makes a particular drink ‘regular’ or ‘handcrafted’.
This article will hopefully help clear up the confusion and get you the best value in exchange for your hard-earned stars.
(Note: This is article is accurate at the time of writing; Starbucks can change their terms or beverages availability at any given point in time. Always check the program’s T&Cs for up to date information.)
- Starbucks Rewards Program
- How Many Stars For a Handcrafted Drink?
- What is a Handcrafted Drink at Starbucks?
- What Size Drink Can I Get?
Background: Starbucks Rewards Program
The Starbucks Stars is a loyalty program(1) where each customer gets a certain amount of stars for a dollar they spend at the shop.
The unique thing about the stars is their redemption program – there’s a chart with all the different ways you can make the most of the stars, like free refills, add-on, etc.
There are many ways you can earn Starbucks Stars(2). Every time you make a purchase, you earn a certain amount of stars for every dollar spent.
But that’s not all! There are also promotions that you can sign up for to get thousands of introductory stars just by enrolling.
Keep an eye out for those and watch your stars add up!
How Many Stars For a Handcrafted Drink?
A handcrafted drink will cost you 150 Stars which is between $38 and $75 spent through qualifying purchases. Prices of drinks vary depending on location, but you can generally get around 5 -10% return on your amount spent.
A handcrafted drink paid with stars can include add-ons, extra shots, and the price in stars applies to any size of the drink. So think about how else you can ‘pimp up’ your beverage for free.
What is a Handcrafted Drink at Starbucks?
Frequent Starbucks customer? Chances are you’ve ordered a handcrafted beverage at some point.
Basically, a handcrafted beverage is any drink that is made behind the counter, such as lattes, frappuccinos, or iced teas. Of course, there are a few exceptions, but we’ll do our best to explain them below.
*** Always check with your barista to confirm if your beverage is handcrafted before ordering ***
1. Espresso Based Drinks
As long as the drink has an espresso shot, it’s a handcrafted drink! Espresso-based drinks are an excellent morning pick me up. They include a variety of more basic espresso drinks to more unique items like the Cinnamon Dolce Latte.
- For 150 stars, you can also add as many espresso shots as you like!
- If you don’t feel like a handcrafted beverage, you can always redeem a brewed coffee for 50 stars.
You can find the full list of handcrafted espresso-based drinks listed on the Starbucks website or their in-store menu(3).
List of Handcrafted Espresso Drinks
- Espresso Con Panna
- Caffè Americano
- Irish Cream Americano
2. Blended Beverages
One of Starbucks’ most popular beverage is the Frappuccino. And thankfully, it’s considered a handcrafted beverage too. It’s a great choice when you’re looking to treat yourself to a more substantial, dessert-like drink.
- The frappuccinos are one of the most expensive drinks at Starbucks so getting one with your stars is a great value.
Here is a pretty comprehensive list of blended beverages but you can always find the a list of changing blended beverages on their site(4).
List of Handcrafted Blended Beverages
- Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
- Espresso Frappuccino
- Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino
- Caramel Frappuccino
- Java Chip Frappuccino
- Chai Crème Frappuccino
- Pistachio Coffee Frappuccino
- Mocha Frappuccino
- Matcha Crème Frappuccino
- Vanilla Bean Crème
3. Iced Coffees
Iced coffees are every fan’s go-to refreshment on a hot day and are classed as handcrafted drinks. They include the popular cold brew and nitro versions.
- In some stores, brewed coffees with ice are excluded from the handcrafted drinks menu, so make sure to ask first.
List of Handcrafted Iced Coffees
- Cold Brew Coffee
- Pumpkin Cold Foam Cold Brew
- Nitro Cold Brew
- Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew
- Iced Caffè Americano
- Iced Shaken Espresso
- Iced Oat Latte
- Iced Pistachio Latte
- Iced Caramel Macchiato
- Iced Caffè Mocha
4. Iced Teas
If you’re not a big coffee drinker, you’d be happy to know that the iced teas are considered handcrafted drinks too!
Bottled teas are however not covered under this category.
- Opt for handmade iced black, green, or herbal tea. In fact, go crazy with some of the more unique flavors like guava or matcha lemonade.
List of Handcrafted Iced Teas
- Iced Black Tea
- Iced Black Tea Lemonade
- Iced Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte
- Iced London Fog Tea Latte
- Iced Chai Tea Latte
- Iced Green Tea Lemonade
- Iced Matcha Lemonade
- Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade
- Iced Matcha Tea Latte
- Iced Passion Tango® Tea Lemonade
5. Cold Drinks
If you’re not feeling like iced coffee or iced tea, then cold drinks are your go-to handcrafted beverages.
Cold drinks are a high-value item you should consider purchasing with your Starbucks Stars.
- Cold drinks can get pretty expensive if you get creative; just think of an iced pineapple matcha drink.
The cold handcrafted drinks include refreshers but exclude bottled water, milk, and juices.
List of Handcrafted Cold Drinks
- Pink Drink
- Star Drink
- Kiwi Starfruit Refreshers
- Dragon Drink
- Strawberry Açaí Refreshers
- Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade
- Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers
- Violet Drink
- Blended Strawberry Lemonade
6. Seasonal Beverages
Seasonal beverages’ availability mainly depends on your location and the time of the year.
They switch beverages by occasion like Christmas or by seasons like fall or spring. So don’t insist on ordering a pumpkin spice latte at the height of summer!
- Make sure to check the featured menu on the website to know what’s available at the moment.
Check Starbucks’ featured menu(5) to know what seasonal beverages are available in your area. Remember, this list of handcrafted beverages will change often!
List of Seasonal Beverages
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Pistachio Latte
- Toffee Nut Latte
- Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
- Sugar Cookie Oat Latte
- Star Drink
- Pink Drink
- Peppermint White Chocolate Crème Frappuccino
- Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
- Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
7. Other Beverages
Other Starbucks handcrafted drinks include steamers and specialty hot teas. If you’re not into cold drinks or coffee, these two categories will suit your taste.
- Steamers include a variety of beverages great for kids like Vanilla Creme, steamed apple juice, and more.
Consider making your own Starbucks drink at home? Here are the most commonly used tools and ingredients in Starbucks beverages.
What Size Drink Can I Get With Starbucks Rewards?
You’ve redeemed stars for your drink, so what size does it come in? Whether you’re getting a drink for 50 or 150 stars, all customizations, including the size, are included(6). You can get a Tall, Grande, Venti, or Trenta as long as the drink comes in that size – note, frappuccinos don’t come in Trenta.
Pro tip – order the largest handcrafted beverage available with your rewards and split it among friends or family.
What are NOT Handcrafted Drinks?
The list of handcrafted drinks is long, but there are still many items that aren’t handcrafted.
They aren’t worth your star redemption or they don’t qualify based on Starbucks’ policy.
By not worth it, we mean – you’re not getting the best value, or you simply don’t want to redeem 150 stars for a basic drink.
1. Pre-packaged Drinks & Alcoholic Beverages
Bottled drinks like coffee, tea, water, milk, and juices are not part of the rewards program. It’s the items you can see in the fridge as you enter the store.
Starbucks used to offer alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine but they have largely been discontinued. However, even if your store still offers them, they’re still not available for purchase with star redemption. What a shame!
2. Regular Coffees & Teas
Some experienced Starbucks Rewards hackers try to maximize the drink’s value by using the add-ons included, like extra shots and syrups.
Depending on some stores and the barista, these drinks can be considered ‘handcrafted’, but they’re not worth it if you’re trying to get the best value out of your Starbucks rewards.
You can use the information we’ve shared as a guide for what is a handcrafted drink at Starbucks, but bear in mind that this is only accurate at the time of writing.
Starbucks reserves the right to change the terms or remove beverage availability at any time. If you’re unsure if a drink is considered handcrafted, ask your barista!
Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:
- Starbucks Rewards: https://www.starbucks.com/rewards
- Starbucks Stars: https://starbucks-stars.com/en-us/
- Full Menu: https://www.starbucks.com/menu
- Blended Beverages: https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages
- Featured Menu: https://www.starbucks.com/menu/featured
- Size FAQ: https://customerservice.starbucks.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6063/kw/size%20rewards