During my years frequenting Starbucks, I’ve observed ways to beat the system and get free drinks. This is dedicated to your poor schmos who cant afford an affordable luxury. I pay for my drinks but have “accidentally” stumbled on these field-tested rules.

Rule number 1: Go the busiest store near you to capitalize on worker confusion.

The key is to find a *$ that is busy, where confusion makes it easy to get away with things. If you go to an empty store where the person who rings you up is the same person who makes your drink, you aren’t getting away with anything.

Rule number 2: Make it seem like your order was incorrect.

If a barista screws up your order, they correct it and give you a coupon for a free drink the next time you come. Technically this isn’t completely free since you have to make that first purchase, but you can keep the chain alive and get free drinks forever.

Example: “Yeah, um, this is a caramel latte but I actually ordered a vanilla latte.” Of course you really did order a caramel latte but the person who took your order is busy (you’re at a busy *$ remember?) and forgot what you really ordered.

Rule number 3: Purchase something small and then act like a patient, confused customer waiting for his coffee beverage.

A bolder extension of rule number two is the real/fake purchase scam. You first need to order a baked good from the cash register person. After she gives it to you in a bag, mill around for about five minutes and then go to the barista and say, “Have you made a grande white mocha?” Look confused but gentle, like a puppy dog. They will look at their cups and see it was missing, and then promptly add yours to the queue.

Rule number 4: Wait by the bar like a snake and grab a drink that has been sitting there for more than 3 minutes.

At busy stores the inefficiencies in the system cause a lot of duplicate drinks to be made. The drinks sit on the bar for a while until the barista’s throw them away. All you gotta do is go up there and grab a drink. This scam has a couple downsides: the drinks will probably be lukewarm by the time you get it and like a person shopping for a home in a hot real estate market, you will never get your first choice. Most of the drinks are lattes with some wussy modification like a splash of soy milk.

Rule number 5: Greet barista’s by their name.

If you are a regular at a specific store, simply ask for the first names of the people that work there and introduce yourself. They will promptly forget your name but it doesn’t matter, for each time you go there and greet them by name you create a friendly vibe that encourages them to hook you up. It’s acceptable to be a little funny. To milk your connection indefinitely, it may be a good idea to tip them every now and then so they don’t think you are cheap. Little do they know that you are just broke because you have no skills that companies would pay for.

There are holes in every system and if you patient enough its easy to pick them apart with simple observation. I conclude with a disclaimer: don’t blame me if your stupid ass gets caught.


  1. Freebooter Fox

    For all the customer vs. barista arguments I find it interesting that many employees were devoted customers. Is there a reason there is this apparent rift once you get on the other side of the bar?

    All this aside, free drinks at Starbucks seems like a moot point, since no one really cares if they get their drink or not. If that were the case one would go somewhere where you could get better tasting coffee, faster and cheaper. People are just paying $5-10 so that they can stand in line for an hour pretending to have some semblance of a social life by schmoozing with the other geniuses who pay to stand in line. Don’t think so? Think about the last time you brought a Starbucks drink. Did you devour it because it was so goddamn delicious? No. You had everyone in line ask you what you were getting, and then they returned the favor and weighed in with their insignificant little opinion about what they thought was the best drink. On a related note, You can take a Starbucks CONTAINER, TOTALLY EMPTY into any public place and watch people become immediately attracted to your presence. They’re so conditioned for the line behavior that they’ll do the same thing and ask you about your drink.

    When’s the last time someone asked you about what you thought of burger joint coffee?

    Starbucks is not a place to get high-quality coffee from friendly baristas who are supported by a company that cares for Mother Earth. It’s a culture propagated by a youthful generation that’s made it pretty clear through comments very much like the one on this page that they’re not very capable of knowing what true quality or uniqueness is.

    Speaking of which, do you retards even know what a barista is? That’s like calling a fry cook at a fast food restaurant a fucking chef. It takes a little more than the ability to spray whipped cream to be a barista, ladies and gents. I can understand the employees wanting to delude themselves into thinking they have some sort of tangible skill that extends beyond the typical wage slave work force, but why are the rest of us calling them that? Do you call the kid at the grocery store a customer service clerk? No. He’s a fucking bagger. Maybe he is good at what he does, but if anything that should make him /more/ of a bagger and not something else.

  2. guzzler

    I devour the coffee every time I’ve gone to starbucks and I don’t stand in line “Smoozing” with others. LOL I wouldn’t pay 5 bucks for something I hated so that I could talk to other idiots in line. I go because it does have a good flavor.

    I don’t think spraying whip topping makes one a barista. I agree with that statement. When I worked for a coffee house I had to manually make the espresso. The machine wasn’t a spawn of technology like they have now, which assists them in making the “Grab and go” thing. (Damn good idea which I may add)

    But in conclusion I will say I love the flavor starbucks has. I’ve not found another coffee that I love as much, and certainly not home brewed.

  3. guzzler

    True story…

    I went to a lil star fucks shop in Arkansas and the lil trick at the drive thru told me it was a “RULE” that she couldn’t stir my drink. (We will call her Ashley) She said they were only allowed to stir a certain drink with this spoon and she had the fucking nerve to bring the spoon to the window and show it to me. I was on the phone with her corporate office at this time and she thought it was her manager and volunteered her name. Which of course I told the lady on the phone (who by the way listened to the entire argument once I got to the window) I hate to be told it’s a rule you can’t serve me properly when I’m paying so much for something so little.
    Anyhow she has instigated arguments with me since that time and I’ve been forced to make her dumb ass cry. I was fucking appalled that she wouldn’t stir my drink though. If I drink coffee at home and I put cream and sugar in it, I stir the damn thing and so does anyone else who has sense.

  4. ahem

    its not that hard to get a free drink at starbucks. baristas arent stupid, but they know about the resources that are given to them. they dont care about giving away free drinks now and then. did you really have to write a guide for it?

  5. EavisBay UttheadBay

    Actually, baristas/servers/whatever give you free stuff when we know your scamming us because we like to spit in it. Or there’s always the “finger up the nose, then in the drink” method. You guys are only screwing over the coffee farmers when you pull this shit, anyways. Ain’t coming out of my paycheck or Big Papa Starbucks. So sleep well, big man, when you figure out lil’ Jorge can’t eat tomorrow because you got free coffee. Start hitting the mom and pop shops, too. What about little ladies in wheelchairs? They’re really easy to rob, too, because they can’t run after you. And you can get some free flowers for your baby mama on gravesites, too! Hit the newly buried because they have the freshest flowers. Jeezus…

  6. Yoda

    I shorted the heck out of sbux stock this year and now have plenty of $$$ for burnt urine coffee at starbuxs

  7. Al Dente

    Starbucks is not good coffee. The only thing Starbucks does is roast their beans a little more than most. Americans tend to associate dark roast with higher quality so dark roasts do have a certain snob appeal. Peets coffee is dark but is of superior quality. Starbucks used to buy Peets coffee until they got too big for Peets to supply. Now Starbucks sells medeocre coffee roasted dark and most consumers don’t know the difference.

  8. Anonymous

    wow! so much hate around here! i work for starbucks…ohh by the way, they dont brain wash their partners. ive been with the company for six months, and i will soon become shift sup. i really cant get why people that complain about starbucks coffee, somehow or another they come and buy it…or steal it?? so many of u here stated that its not good coffee…i dont like coffee myself, but yet i seem to love every single drink thats made with esspreso. the job is hard, acually it is quite imposible to deal with most of the times, when u have people like most of u here…that lie about their drinks, come in in a crappy mood screaming at us the baristas as to how fuckin hard is it to make a cup of iced coffee….
    meanwhile we have at least 6 drinks before yours that take time and passion to make. i personally make the perfect cup of coffee for every customer with no excetions. if ur in a hurry, why dont u take ur ass to mc donalds and get their nasty coffe thats been sitting there the whole day. we custom make everything on the spot for u.
    ohh and i know the job doesnt pay good, but in the long run, quess who will be a mannager? quess who will get paid a salary as suposed to hourly….im not planning on being a barrista for ever…so think about that the next time ur being an ass to ur fellow barista, is it really worth it?? what if i came to ur job and started raising hell about something rather?? anyone here a realestate agent?? how would u feel if i came to ur office and said i want a house?? i have perfect credit and a good down payment…but in fact i dont want a house, i just want u to take me around like a fool…to see all these GREAT houses, u pay the gas, u spend the time, and i just like to be an ass! same thing at starbucks…why be an ass to people that serve u with nothing but smiles…i learn everyones name and drink…my regulars have their drink made by the time they walk in the door, just because i saw them getting out of the car// thats customer sevice! and yes i take my job serously…dont u??? i quess u have a better job…well i had better jobs to, but i found this one…pays leess for now, but i love my boss, and all my partners..can all of u here say that they love what they do…and all the people u work for/with.??? when i wake up in the morning i never dread going to work…ever heard about a saying:” when u love ur job u will never feel like ur woking not even one day.”
    ohh and for someone that said something about getting in trouble for giving away free drinks…..are u insane? if u work for starbucks u otta knowt our policy is ALLWAYS SAY YES! i give free drinks a lot. i give free coffee to the old lady that doest have a clue as to what she should get, and if she doest like it ill make her another one…and i never got in trouble for it…actually i got a mug award( not that is much) for carring for my customers..
    i allways treat my customers good… and as a payback we get more then 3 bucks an hour in tips…think about that…i work 35+ hours a week, i get my paycheck every two weeks, but on top of that i get another hundred bucks every week in tips…
    ohh poor poor me, workin for starbucks….
    starbucks rocks, best place to meet with friends, lisend to actually goood music, not all that hip-crap( ohh by the way im 23) how about frank sinatra…ohh yeahh im insane! beetoween! nooo….i quess all the: ” MOVE BITCH GET OUT THE WAY” thats music! great!
    well i quess i said the things i wanted to say…
    i dont care what ur comments are, chances are ill never rememer the link since i wont add it to my favorites, so dont waste ur time…but keep in mind that karma will catch up with u for everything u do, if u belive in it or not….so if u are one of those whos being an ass to a barista…dont ask urself later why u crushed ur car, why ur mother died, why u got laid off, why ur husband/wife left u etc etc…FOR EVERY ACTION THERE IS AN EQUAL AND OPOSITE REACTION—RULE OF THUMB.
    IM OUT.

  9. Jesus Christ, my eyes!

    If you’re going to take the time to write a rant like that, the least you could do is write it in fucking English.

    I’m surprised, actually. Just going by the inappropriate capitalization and overuse of elipses and question marks I would’ve figured you to be 13 or 14, maybe. But you’re 23, eh? Wow. I only wish I could dupe myself into believing that karma would kill your family in retribution for murdering the English language in such a way.

  10. Anonymous

    I work for starbucks…its awesome,sooooo…you can pay 1.96 for a medm coffee,good coffee…or you can ask your burger guy what kind of coffee your drinking ,how old is it…they wont have a clue..and dont starbucks,you get good service from happy workers,great product,that about the same price as no name coffee anywhere…and good music,comfy seats,and a relaxed atmospere…go starbucks.

  11. NursingStudent/Barista

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! This is the best page ever! I can’t believe there is a 3-year trail on here.
    All I have to say is, don’t steal coffee. Don’t you people have any morals? Starbucks IS a good company, they just hired me today, and if it wasn’t for them I probably wouldn’t have the means of finding health coverage required by my nursing program…they were the only place in town that offered health coverage for even part-time employees, which is why I went in and asked for an application. I would also probably not have the money to pay for books/tuition. I was really worried, and I’m excited to work for them. I love their coffee and their company policies.
    Please do the right thing.

  12. Becks

    Get a tent.
    Find a lake.
    Get a portable gas stove.
    Get a cow.
    Get $1.99 from the side of your sofa.

    Pitch the tent.
    Next to the lake.
    Light the stove.
    Milk the cow.
    Buy instant coffee.



  13. Anonymous

    its simple.

    dig $1.99 out of your couch.
    and buy a bag of freaking coffee and make your own!

    eh… nah!

  14. Kiwi


    Hey Roosh V, you reckon ya tips for free coffee still work 3 years and 3 months after your article??

    I mean, stealing evil…

    I mean, fuck the corporation… and his wife….

    I’m going to try this tomorrow… and the coffee thing too 🙂

  15. RoyArtelo

    Do you think that Obama is going to win because the Republicans have such a bad candidate?
    Why did John McCain make his final argument against Obama… coal?
    That’s his closing argument? William Ayers, Rev. Wright, spreading the wealth, Born Alive, meeting dictators without preconditions, etc. all have to take a back seat so that McCain can go to Colorado and New Mexico to talk about coal? Does this more or less explain why he’s going to get his clock cleaned Tuesday?

  16. Cadet

    I work at Starbucks, and I’m appalled that you’re encouraging this trashy behavior. Make no mistake, I don’t give a shit about stealing from Starbucks, but inconveniencing baristas and paying customers just because you think you’re broke is unacceptable.

    A rush can be extremely stressful to begin with and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be set back by immature things like this.

    Here’s an idea: if you can’t afford coffee- DON’T GET COFFEE. It’s not a necessity.

    P.S. A lot of baristas will subtly fuck up your drink if you piss them off. Hope you like decaf!

  17. Charlie

    It is a shame, all of this just to get a free drink. The next time you go to a burger joint and give the cashier a $20 and they give you change back for a $10, why not let them keep the extra $10 that they are trying to scam you out of, they are not doing anything that you are not doing. But noooooooooo, then you are the one being cheated and that is not fair.
    Take your kids or parents with you the next time you do this, I bet they would be proud.
    Think, your kid can go to school and tell how their Mom or Dad is really great at cheating people at the local Starbucks. What a great way to teach your kids to grow up.

  18. Tard

    Does anybody know the record for the longest ongoing blog / discussion board? This one’s pushing 4 years..

  19. Toby

    Well being a son of a worker at a starbucks I dont honestly don’t have an actual say in this CONSIDERING I get all my drinks cheaper than dirt, because the worker discount.. With that in mind I know for a flippin fact there not as stupid to believe your “Oh so smart-” Tricks. And even IF your tricks work its not a BIG-DEAL to them theres no “real” money-loss to these tricks 😉

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