Food

TikTok's "Appuccino" Craze Is Not Great for Starbucks Employees

Do you really need those 13 extra ingredients in your drink?

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Earlier this month, a former Starbucks barista named Josie Morales tweeted a photo of an elaborate, $14 USD drink order boasting 13 ingredient customizations. “On today’s episode of why I wanna quit my job,” he captioned a snapshot of the outrageous order, placed by someone named Edward. Morales was subsequently fired for his tweet, which reportedly violated Starbucks’ social media policy.

Orders like Edward’s might seem like an occasional annoyance, but they’re actually becoming the norm. According to a new report by Buzzfeed News, “appuccinos,” complicated custom drink orders placed using the Starbucks app, are a burgeoning TikTok trend shaping business at the global chain. The sugary drinks, which are often iced and don’t actually contain any espresso, are likely behind the fact that cold drinks now outsell the retailer’s plain old hot coffee.

@starbuckswithlizzieNew Starbucks Caramel Brownie Frap ✨ ##starbucks ##starbucksuk ##starbucksbaristarecipes ##caramelbrowniefrap ##frappuccino ##starbucksdrinks♬ deja vu – Olivia Rodrigo


Fueled by accounts dedicated to creating novel Starbucks drinks, the appuccino craze is having a real impact on employees of the coffee company. Several baristas told Vice that Gen-Z customers often ask for their elaborate drinks to be remade to look more like photos online, slowing down operations. “Starbucks baristas go out of their way to meet customers’ requests every single day. We’re happy to customize the ingredients of any drink, but we’re people, too.” an employee named Aria said. However, some baristas are happy to indulge over-the-top customizations. Starbucks store manager Lizzie Dye and barista Fanta Nabe both run wildly TikTok accounts dedicated to sharing novel, Starbucks-specific drink recipes.

Whether you’re a coffee purist or an appuccino aficionado, we’d all do well to remember how demanding food service jobs are — ordering a 13-ingredient drink is probably not the best choice for workers on a rush hour shift.

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