BuzzFeed News has published a great story that looks at the cultural phenomenon that was on display when that picture of a mile-long Starbucks order (which included over 18 pumps of flavor) went viral earlier this month. It explores both the phenomenon of people ordering more customizations when using apps (something I know I’ve fallen prey to myself, though nowhere close to the extent displayed in the photo), as well as the world of TikTok Starbucks influencers.
Wait, what? Starbucks influencers? If you, like me, had never heard of this corner of the internet, be prepared to read about TikTok teens and even some Starbucks employees on the platform coming up with drink recipes that can become so popular that some employees estimate they take up 20 percent of orders they fill in a shift. The reporter also interviews some of those employees to figure out how they feel about the sometimes audacious orders. (Spoiler alert: their opinions are not as unanimous as I would’ve thought.)
The story is a fascinating look at how internet culture can affect even the mainstay of real-life American culture that is Starbucks. Some drinks that are popular online have even made their way to the menu, and it seems like Starbucks actually keeps an eye on what’s happening on TikTok. The story even includes a fun term for the phenomenon: “appuccino,” a mashup of app and Frappuccino, the popular coffee drink that often finds itself the victim of many, many add-ons.