What Does Upside Down Mean at Starbucks? Is It Good?

what is an upside down latte at starbucks

Here’s the Scoop on What Happens When You Order an Upside-Down Starbucks Drink

It’s no surprise that knowing Starbucks’ lingo and what to order from the secret menu can make you feel like you’re part of a special club. You’ve probably heard about Starbucks’ famous upside-down drinks but have no idea what it means or how to order them. 

Ordering a drink “upside down” at Starbucks is a coffee brewing method where a barista reverses the order of ingredients in a latte, a macchiato, or an espresso shot. This can change the flavor, layering, and composition of the drink.

To order your coffee like a connoisseur, check out everything you need to know about what a Starbucks upside down beverage really means.

What Does Upside Down Mean at Starbucks?

With this drink, request, you have an inside way to let the Starbucks barista know that you want to mix things up. The important thing to remember is that an upside-down drink is just like it sounds. The ingredient order and steps are reversed.

When you ask for an upside down latte, espresso shot, or macchiato, the barista will make your drink in reverse order instead of the traditional method. This means that the espresso shot will pour on top of the milk instead of going in first. 

The most popular upside-down drink at Starbucks is the well-known caramel macchiato. To make this drink, the barista will pump caramel sauce first, layer the milk next, combine the espresso, and finish off with caramel syrup.

Although it’s possible to order any drink upside-down at Starbucks, keep in mind that it’s probably not going to enhance your Frappuccino’s look or flavor except that now the whipped cream will sit on the bottom of your cup.  

How did Upside-Down Drinks at Starbucks Start?

Starbucks first came up with the idea to reverse the order of the ingredients in a latte. On the secret menu, it’s called a “Venti upside-down Latte”.

Some coffee experts claim that upside down coffee beverages also started in Japan, although it’s unclear if this occurred at a Starbucks chain in Japan. When training new hires, management wanted to demonstrate how employees can make different drinks using the same machine. The upside-down drink version caught on and gained momentum as a popular way to give a regular latte a twist.

Are Upside-Down Drinks on Starbucks’ Secret Menu?

Yes, some upside-down coffee beverages may appear on Starbucks’ secret menu. Although not official this menu has customized or social media-inspired creations to turn your taste buds upside down.

You can find some drinks like a reversed caramel macchiato on the secret menu. If you’d like to get creative with your favorite drink or try a new one upside-down, just ask.

Which Upside-Down Drinks Can You Order at Starbucks?

While technically a Starbucks barista can reverse the order of the espresso shot in any coffee beverage, here are the most common upside-down drinks to order from the menu.

Caramel Macchiato Upside Down

This is the most popular upside-down Starbucks drink. The big difference between a regular caramel macchiato and the upside-down version comes down to the caramel.

When you order this drink in an upside-down assembly, the barista pumps the caramel into the base of the drink instead of drizzling it across the top. The espresso also goes first in the bottom of the cup.  

upside down caramel macchiato - starbucks
Upside Down

Upside-Down Latte

This drink is identical to a regular latte except the steamed milk goes at the bottom. Then the barista puts espresso in next and tops the creation off with a foamy layer. 

Upside-Down Espresso Shot

Here’s what you’ll get if you order an espresso shot backward.

Typically, you’ll have milk added to espresso shots in the cup. When you make an upside-down order for espresso shots, the barista will pour the milk first, then pour the espresso and foam layer on top.

An espresso shot turned upside down is commonly used to create a Starbucks caramel macchiato with caramel sauce on the bottom and vanilla finishing off the top. With an upside-down espresso macchiato, the foam sits under the espresso instead of floating on top.

Upside-Down Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato  

Hack the Starbucks’ secret menu when you order a delectable Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato upside-down.

Right side up, this drink has an Iced Soy Caramel Macchiato base but gets extra vanilla when it’s turned upside down.

Why Would You order a Macchiato Upside Down?

Many people order this reversed beverage (or any other upside-down drink) due to the different flavor blend or due to wanting to change up how their drink looks. Or both.

The barista can flip the order of the espresso shot in any Starbucks drink to create an upside-down beverage.

What’s the Point of an Upside-Down Macchiato?

You’ve probably seen people order this reversed macchiato or wanted to try it yourself, but you’re not sure what the deal is with this upside-down coffee beverage.

First off, an upside-down caramel macchiato deviates from the classic recipe in an important way. In the traditional version, caramel is drizzled on top.

With an upside-down caramel macchiato at Starbucks, the barista adds the caramel to the bottom of the cup, then pours espresso, steamed milk, ice, and a flourish of syrupy vanilla. 

The point of an upside-down caramel macchiato lies in the fact that changing up the layers creates a stronger profile and presents a more visually attractive marbled look that makes it the perfect Instagrammable drink.

Is a Latte Upside Down a Macchiato?

Yes and no.

Read on. We’ll explain.

If you’ve never heard of a latte turned upside down this drink is basically a normal latte with the milk and espresso order reversed.

In a regular latte, the espresso is at the bottom, steamed milk next, and a layer of foam on top. With an upside-down latte, you’ll get your steamed milk on the bottom of the cup while the espresso comes next, with the foam layer on top.

An upside-down latte doesn’t automatically turn into a macchiato. Its assembly can look like a macchiato, but ingredient ratios and sweeteners can vary to make all the difference.

Is an Upside Down Macchiato the Same as a Latte?

Yes, technically.

While some Starbucks employees might claim that an upside-down latte is basically a latte, many baristas would disagree.

If you order an upside-down macchiato, here’s the difference between your drink and a latte. Starbucks makes its latte by blending espresso shots with milk that’s been steamed. In contrast, this drink is created by adding layers of espresso drizzles of caramel and finishing it with foam. 

That way, you get a rich, sweet, smooth drink that might look like a latte but is a different drink due to the contrasting layers and caramel flavor.

How to order an Upside Down Drink on the Starbucks App

If you want to order an upside-down drink such as a flipped macchiato with caramel on the app, here’s how to do it.

You’ll want to view shots options, scroll until you reach the shot prep section, and click on the upside-down option. When you order a vanilla latte with drizzled caramel, it’s called an upside-down caramel macchiato.

If you’re trying to order an upside-down espresso shot on the app, just head to the shots preparation page and click the upside-down option. This way, the barista will make your coffee in reverse. 

Should You Order An Upside Down Coffee?

If you’re the kind of coffee connoisseur who enjoys getting a taste of everything swirled in with your first mouthful, then ordering an upside-down coffee drink at Starbucks might just rock your world.

Starbucks’ reversed drinks exist to mix everything up now and then.

Ordering an upside-down drink is also a good way to ensure that you don’t just get several mouthfuls of straight espresso when you do an espresso shot.

From different layers to different flavors, ordering an upside-down drink at Starbucks is a simple way to avoid getting stuck in a rut in your coffee routine.

Christopher Mize
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