The secret Starbucks coffee hack

Who says the Internet isn’t useful? Courtesy of Tim Harford at Slate magazine, I learned that if you ask a server at Starbucks, they will serve you something that doesn’t appear on the menu: namely, a “short” cappucino — eight ounces, as opposed to the 12 ounces in a “tall.” Even though it is smaller, however, it has the same amount of espresso as a “tall,” and therefore (according to coffee afficionados) tastes better.

Tim goes into a long discussion of why Starbucks would have such a thing available but not put it on their menu — and it has something to do with why third-class railway carriages used to be roof-less, and market power and things like that. It’s a bit of a freakonomics kind of thing. Of course, it’s not that surprising that Starbucks would charge less for the short, considering it’s smaller, but that’s a technicality.

Anyway, all I really care about is that I can get a short cappucino that tastes better just by asking for it. Along the same lines — and just for Canadians — I have it on reliable authority that if you go into a Coffee Time donut shop and order a “dark roast,” you will get a much better coffee, even though nothing called “dark roast” appears on the menu. Just a little tip for the caffeine addicts out there.

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