The first time I heard a barista call out an upside-down caramel macchiato  at the counter, I giggled. 

After all, I thought it was a joke - I thought the only upside-down food items were cakes.

Turns out, that it’s actually a real thing!

I’m going to get into exactly what it is, how to order it, and why the modification is so appealing!

  • ‘Upside-down’ refers to espresso shot placement
  • Ordering a drink ‘upside-down’ may affect the taste, texture, and sweetness
  • Ordering ‘upside-down’ is not an official Starbucks menu option

Starbucks Upside-Down Drinks: What Does It Mean?

At Starbucks, a drink ordered “upside-down” means that it’s built with the ingredients in a kind of reverse order from the usual recipe. 

There’s often the misconception that it’s all the ingredients in reverse order, when in actuality, it’s just referring to the espresso shot(s) placement within the drink. Toppings (like caramel) will always go on top.

However, there’s no official communication from Starbucks to say what the ‘right way’ is as it’s technically not an official menu modification.

Overall, upside down drinks offer customers the option to customize the coffee-drinking experience and try something new.

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Upside Down

What Drinks Can You Order Upside-Down At Starbucks?

There are a variety of upside down drinks available at Starbucks, each offering a unique flavor experience. Here are some of them:

Caramel Macchiato

The Caramel Macchiato is easily the most commonly-ordered ‘upside-down’ drink. [1]

While a regular CM is made with espresso, steamed milk, and caramel sauce, an upside down version of the drink is made with the caramel stirred in, with more drizzle on top, and the espresso shot(s) added last. 

This does affect the flavor profile, and I find it even more sweet and buttery this way. 

Ask Your Barista For:
  • Asking for a Caramel Macchiato ’stirred’ will be the same as if asked for ‘upside-down’ so don’t be confused if this is how they refer to it.

Latte

This unique twist on the classic latte is made with the ingredients in reverse order, resulting in a varying flavor experience.

A traditional latte consists of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. 

In this case, the milk would go at the bottom of the cup with the espresso on top. 

I actually quite like it this way, as it tastes stronger to me. 

Upside Down Latte Macchiato

Espresso Shot

While a typical espresso shot consists of a single or double shot of espresso, an upside-down shot is made in a different way.

Specifically, the milk foam is placed at the bottom of the cup, followed by the espresso.

The upside down version of the espresso shot offers a bolder, more concentrated espresso flavor as the milk foam is not mixed in with the espresso.

The visual aesthetics of the upside down shot is eye-catching, with the creamy milk foam on the bottom and dark espresso on top.

Using Ristretto shots, which are shorter, more concentrated shots of espresso, will result in a stronger flavor than using a long shot.

Cold Brew Dalgona Coffee

Looking for a delicious and refreshing coffee drink to beat the summer heat? Try a Cold Brew Dalgona Latte at Starbucks.[3]

This tasty beverage is made with cold brew coffee, vanilla syrup, and steamed whole milk, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The combination of flavors is absolutely heavenly.

If you want something new, you can also order an upside down version of the Cold Brew Dalgona Latte.

The barista will add the vanilla syrup and cold brew coffee to the bottom of the cup, followed by the steamed whole milk, and then top it off with a dollop of whipped cream.

Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato

The Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato is a delicious and sweet Starbucks drink from the Starbucks Secret Menu.

It’s an Iced Soy Caramel Macchiato with vanilla and cinnamon dolce syrups for a rich and luxurious cup. 

To make this drink upside-down, the barista adds the syrups and espresso shots to the bottom of the cup, followed by Starbucks soy milk.
Upside Down Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato From Starbucks

Why Do People Order Upside-Down Drinks At Starbucks?

Have you ever noticed someone ordering an upside down drink at Starbucks and wondered why they chose this reverse way?

This results in the ingredients being mixed together differently as the drink is consumed, creating a unique flavor and taste experience.

Some people enjoy ordering upside down drinks because they find that the flavors blend together more seamlessly this way.

Others may simply be looking for something a bit different and enjoy the novelty of ordering a drink upside down.

How To Order Upside-Down Drinks?

If you're interested in trying an upside down drink at Starbucks, it's easy to do so! Here's how you can order one:

At Starbucks Locations

Simply visit your local Starbucks and let the barista know you'd like to order an upside down version of your favorite drink.

Be sure to specify your desired Starbucks cup size, syrup flavors, and any other customization options you'd like--for example, if you like it with ice or not, less hot water, etc.

Then, the barista will assemble your drink with the ingredients in a different order, resulting in a unique flavor experience.

The Starbucks App

If you prefer to order your drinks through the Starbucks app, you can select your desired drink and customization options as usual.[4]

To order an upside down version of your drink, simply select the upside down option under the Shot Prep section.

It's worth noting that not all drinks are available as upside down versions, but many of the popular espresso-based drinks can be ordered this way.

We have listed some in this guide, but you can also ask your barista or refer to the app to see which options are available.

Starbucks App Order For Caramel Macchiato Upside Down

Frequently Asked Upside Down Starbucks Questions

Is an upside-down macchiato the same as a regular latte?

No, an upside-down macchiato is not the same as a regular latte. A regular latte is made with espresso shots and steamed milk, and an upside-down macchiato is made with the ingredients assembled in a different order.

Are all upside-down drinks on Starbucks' secret menu?

No, not all upside-down drinks are on Starbucks’ secret menu. Under the customization options, look for the “Ask for More” section. Here, is the “Upside Down” option. Toggle it on.

What is an upside-down flat white?

An upside-down Flat White at Starbucks is a twist on the traditional flat white, so the steamed milk and microfoam are added to a cup, with 2 ristretto espresso shots after.

Conclusion - Try It Upside Down Today!

I’ve only ordered the Caramel Macchiato upside-down, but it’s an increasingly popular modification.

It’s a great option to have, as it allows for more control over flavor, texture, and sweetness.

For anyone looking to try the upside-down modification for the first time, try it with the Caramel Macchiato!

References:

1. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/413/hot

2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678

3. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2020/dalgona-coffee-how-to-whip-up-the-latest-coffee-trend-at-home/
4. https://www.starbucks.com/rewards/mobile-apps/ 

Kim Fernandez

Author

Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback

Leave a Comment