Undertow Coffee

Undertow Coffee

Did you know that Starbucks has a secret menu? You do now! The Starbucks Undertow is coffee on that menu. It has many other names like the Breve Blast or John Wayne, speedball, or cup of love.

Only a select few know about the Starbucks secret menu and know how to order from it. Keep reading to learn what an Undertow coffee is and how to order it on your next trip to Starbucks.

What Are Starbucks Secret Menu Items?

The secret to ordering an item off the Starbucks secret menu is being specific about your requests to the Starbucks employees. All of the drinks at Starbucks are customizable, leading to an infinite number of drink combinations. These secret menu items are either brand new or on their regular menu with added ingredients.

Check out the list of the most popular items on the secret menu at Starbucks.

  • Blackberry Cobbler Frappuccino
  • Biscotti Frappuccino
  • Skittles Frappuccino
  • Cap’n Crunch Frappuccino
  • Pink Drink
  • Purple Drink
  • Cake Batter Frappuccino
  • Apple Pie Frappuccino
  • Butterbeer Frappuccino
  • Cookies and Cream Frappuccino
  • Chocolate Dalmation

These are some of the items on the secret menu at Starbucks. The great thing about the secret menu is that it is endless. You have to know what you are ordering, but any flavor combination is possible with the customizable menu. Pick from one of these items, or think up your flavor combination to try.

If the items above do not sound good to you, try one of these items off of the secret menu at Starbucks:

  • Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato
  • Nutter Butter Frappuccino
  • Banana Split Frappuccino
  • Cadbury Creme Egg Frappuccino
  • Pumpkin Pie Frappuccino
  • Rainbow Sorbet Frappuccino
  • Key Lime Pie Frappuccino
  • Red Velvet Frappuccino
  • Hot Butterbeer Latte
  • Banana Split
  • Twix Frappuccino
  • Blue Drink
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch Frappuccino
  • Mermaid Frappuccino

What Is Undertow Coffee?

An Undertow at Starbucks is a specialty drink on the secret menu at Starbucks. If you are an espresso coffee lover, you will love the Undertow. The Undertow is sweetened shots of espresso on top of a splash of milk. The milk sits at the bottom of the cup, and the sweetened espresso shots are poured on top of it.

Two shots of espresso are in the Undertow drink. You drink it like an espresso shot. It is a bitter, large shot that will give you a surge of caffeine energy. If you are an adventurous coffee drinker, try the Undertow drink the next time you go to Starbucks.

The Undertow was developed by a Starbucks barista that had too much time on her hands. She spread the word about her new drink, and other coffee shops across the US soon started to serve the large espresso shot. 

Why Is It Called an Undertow Coffee?

How did the Undertow drink get its name? It will be clear if you have been to the ocean or know much about oceanography. An undertow is a current of water below the surface moving in the opposite direction from the surface current. 

This connection will make sense if you know how the Undertow is made. An Undertow coffee is layered. Cold milk sits on the bottom of the cup, while hot, sweetened espresso layers on top of the milk.

The opposite color, temperature, and flavor of the two ingredients cause a contrasting effect on the drink. This layering is comparable to an undertow in the ocean with the opposing currents below and at the surface. The Undertow gets its name from these similarities. 

Syrups That Go Well With Undertow

The Undertow already has vanilla syrup in it. The espresso shots are sweetened with a classic vanilla flavor from the syrup. If you want to try something new, try switching the vanilla with your favorite syrup with hazelnut, caramel, dark chocolate, or any other flavor combinations.

How To Order Undertow at Starbucks Coffee Shop?

Ordering from the Starbucks secret menu can be a daunting task. Some baristas will not know all of the secret menu items, so sometimes you have to tell them the number of pumps of syrup and ingredients that go into the drink.

An Undertow is a simple drink without many ingredients. It is gaining popularity, so most Starbucks baristas know how to make them. If you are in an area where the Undertow is not ordered frequently, or you have a new barista, you may have to tell them how to make it. 

To order an Undertow, ask for two espresso shots in a tall cup with two pumps of vanilla syrup and a solace of milk. Ask for the shots to be floating on top of the milk by using a spoon. One of the baristas in the shop will likely know how to make this drink.

Undertow Coffee Recipe – How To Make an Undertow Coffee

If you do not live near a Starbucks or want to try your hand at making an Undertow at home, follow the recipe below!

What you need:

  • Two hot espresso shots
  • Sugar or vanilla syrup
  • Two ounces of cold half-and-half or milk
  • Cold spoon
  • Small cup

How to make an Undertow:

  1. Add the cold half and half or milk to the small cup. If you have sweet cream or something similar, use that instead and skip the sweetener. If you are using half and half or milk, add one tablespoon of simple syrup or vanilla syrup to the milk and give it a good stir.
  2. Grab your cold spoon and hold it upside down above the sweetened milk. Gently pour fresh espresso over the back of the upside-down spoon, so it floats on the milk and does not sink into it. 

Enjoy your homemade Undertow coffee!


Take your new knowledge of the Starbucks secret menu next time you grab a cup of coffee! Try the Undertow drink or one of the other delicious drinks on the menu. Be specific about what you want because not all Starbucks will know how to make secret menu items.

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