© Starbucks
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

The funny thing about “secret menus” is they can lead to more confusion than fun: Either customers don’t know what they’re ordering or employees don’t know what they’re making and suddenly everyone realizes there’s a reason why the inherent idea of a “menu” is to be very overt.

Along these lines, Starbucks “secret menu” policy has always been pretty clear. The basic gist is this: We don’t have a secret menu, but baristas will make your drink however you tell them to, so we kind of do have a secret menu as long as you know what secret you want. Part of that “not really a secret menu” ethos has also been the idea that customers shouldn’t order a drink by name because the barista might not know what you’re talking about; instead order with the recipe. However, that too is a bit of an issue: Your friend is never like, “This Iced Passion Tango Tea with no water, sub soy milk, vanilla syrup and blackberries is delicious.” Instead, they’re like, “You should try a Purple Drink!”

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It’s all become especially troublesome in the past few weeks as a line of “secret” Starbucks “Rainbow Drinks” have taken the internet by storm. These brightly-hued darlings of photo-sharing have become the must have beverage du jour, but keeping thousands of stores in line with an unofficial item can be a bit vexing.

So, in an effort to resolve this inherent ambiguity in the brand’s “secret menu” policy, last week, Starbucks decided to take a circuitous route in helping customers order these “Rainbow Drinks” without officially adding them to the menu. Instead, the ubiquitous coffee company simply posted the recipes for five of the drinks to its official Instagram page.

Here is what Starbucks “secretly” decided to share with its 10 million Instagram followers:

Orange Drink: Orange mango juice with vanilla bean powder and a splash of coconut milk.
Green Drink: Teavana Iced Black Tea with no water, sub coconut milk and matcha.
Blue Drink: Teavana Iced Passion Tango Tea with no water, sub soy milk and vanilla syrup.
Purple Drink: Teavana Iced Passion Tango Tea with no water, sub soy milk, vanilla syrup and blackberries.
Pink Drink: Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers with no water, sub coconut milk.

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With over 300,000 people having liked the post, I guess you could say the cat is out of the bag. But don’t get it twisted: These drinks aren’t on the official menu; they’re “secret” – at least to people who aren’t on Instagram… so, like, your grandmother, your little sister who is only about Snapchat, and that anti-social guy you know who “isn’t into photos.” Those three are really missing out: That Pink Drink is really pink looking.

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