If you're anything like me, you like espresso drinks. I personally favor iced latte's. I'm not a huge fan of Starbucks since they changed their standard from hand-made espresso shots to fully automated pushbutton systems.
I find the new pushbutton espresso machine is very stingy with the espresso shots. For a while I stopped going to Starbucks completely, because of it. Normally, I just make my espresso drinks at home, but occasionally I'll venture into a Starbucks and ponder on the eerie groups of Mac-users who congregate but do not speak to each other.
Recently, I did just that. And my step brother and I discovered something interesting...
Step 1: How it works
Here's the general way it works.
Starbucks as a company isn't very bright. Milk is well over $6 / gallon in some parts of the country, from what I gather.
Edit: After reading some comments, I realize this estimate may be a little off. Buying milk in bulk is way cheaper. But, as a single male living alone, I don't buy milk in bulk.
I think I pay about $9 / gallon for my preferred brand of milk because I like to buy the organic stuff. ($4.50 for 1/2 gallon)
However, Starbucks (and most other coffee establishments) leave infinite milk out for customers to customize / finish their drinks.
Even though milk may be cheaper than $6 / gallon at your local grocery store, it sure isn't FREE. The FREE milk offered at coffee places is the secret here.