Freshman Morgan Ouellette with her drink from Starbucks. Photo by Siobhan Richards.

In high school, I worked at Starbucks for about nine months, before TikTok was as big as it is now. Recently, I was hired at a different Starbucks, and while most things are the same as when I worked at Starbucks nearly two years ago, there is one big difference: TikTok drinks.

If you look up Starbucks TikTok drinks, there will be hundreds of results that should not be consumed. Many drinks at Starbucks are already chocked full of flavoring and sugar, so why would you add another six pumps of syrup to your drink? As a barista, I enjoy making interesting and new drinks, but these TikTok drinks are either disgusting or take way too long to make.

When I say that nine out of 10 of the iced drinks that are ordered have some sort of cold foam on top, I am not exaggerating. In my first week back, I was so confused as to why there was so much love for cold foam. I thought it may have been a New England thing or maybe some sort of corporate campaign to get people to drink cold foam. In reality, it was TikTok that was responsible for this extremely annoying trend.

While trends like cold foam on everything and crazy drinks are nothing new, TikTok has made these trends spread even more; no matter how often I explain to people that there is no
“secret menu.”

The quintessential drink that came from TikTok is the “TikTok drink” (please don’t just ask me for that at the register though, know what it is because I can’t just ring up a “TikTok drink”). It takes something that already grosses me out, a pink drink, and makes it worse. Instead of coconut milk with strawberry acai concentrate shaken together, someone thought it was a good idea to use heavy cream instead of coconut milk, add vanilla syrup, extra strawberries and berries and then blend it together. If this does not immediately bring a feeling of disgust to you, I don’t know how to help your palette.

TikTok has had a large impact on popular culture and has bled into other mainstream media, but this is where we need to check the power of TikTok. If one more 20-something-year -old shows me a TikTok of what they want to drink on their phone because they don’t know what it is, I will lose all faith in the future of the world. 

To the customers who are tempted to order a TikTok drink: if you really want something different or interesting next time, just ask your barista to make something that they like. It will taste better, be cheaper and will probably make the baristas at that store like you.

To all the baristas who are fueling these trends and posting the drinks that they make for themself at the end of a shift: stop. I make weird and complex drinks for myself while I’m working, but I would never ask another barista to make me anything that complicated. Next time you film a video of you making a frappuccino with three types of syrup and four different inclusions, don’t post it.