The promise of endless drink customization is one of Starbucks' big selling points. For instance, the chain now offers four different types of non-dairy milk. But deep down, Starbucks seems to know they may have a customization problem: Back in 2019, the chain even limited the maximum of any single modifier to a drink at 12 because, apparently, too many people were adding things like 17 pumps of caramel syrup or 14 espresso shots or both. Essentially, the ease with which the app allows people to customize their drinks practically encourages excess—whether in earnest, in jest, or simply as a stab at going viral.
And speaking of viral, a recent tweet coming courtesy of a purported Starbucks barista has set off an 200,000 like chain reaction where other Starbucks employees across Twitter are sharing their own photos of the most complicated digital orders they've ever received.
Twitter user Josie kicked things off with an image captioned, "On todays episode of why i wanna quit my job." The order—dated May 1 from "Edward"—featured 13 modifications to his Carmel Crunch Frappuccino including what appears to be seven pumps of dark caramel sauce, five pumps of Frappuccino roast coffee, and a random single pump of honey blend. (Sorry if I got any of those slightly wrong: I don't speak fluent Starbucks abbreviations!)
From there, proving that this really is a competition—both from the customer side and the employee side, though for different reasons—other baristas attempted to top this ridiculous order with photos of their own.
Some of the more popular pics included this 32 modification monstrosity…
A 31-modification order that the Twitter user said "comes in every other week"…
And this order so long, I couldn't even be bothered to count how many modifications it has, let alone make it…
Oh, and proving it's not just a mobile order phenomenon, a Twitter user with the handle @tunafishpro submitted this image, writing, "a lady ordered this in person with a completely straight face"…
So what to make of all this mod madness? Overall, it's a self-perpetuating phenomenon. It's certainly not new—but the public is still interested in it, as over 17,000 retweets demonstrates. Most baristas apparently hate it, but many still post these orders to social media anyway—which would seem to just encourage more people to put in even more outlandish orders. And the whole time, Starbucks gets tons of free publicity—so I doubt they're particularly upset.
But maybe we could help the baristas out and try to get like a "most minimal" order trend going? Like has anyone ever tried to order a cup with a single coffee bean it in through the app? Come on: With all that's happened the past year, Starbucks workers could probably use a break.