Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's in your double-shot-caramel Latte?

No matter how many years I have lived in the US, one thing I still don't master are the choices of coffee-drinks that Starbucks, and to a lesser extent other coffee shops, have to offer. You could write a whole decision tree to order the simplest drink like a Latte: 1) Choose your size: tall, grande, venti (why "tall" means "small" still does not make sense to me!!) 2) Choose the level of cafeine you want (single, double, decaf, caf, tea) 3) Choose the milk you want (non fat, lowfat, whole, soy) 4) Choose any other customization (with syrup, with extra foam, etc...)...!!!
I admit that I do go to Starbucks (I even have the app to pay on my iPhone - pathetic??).  I'd rather go to an independent-better-tasting coffee place but I have to say that for the sake of convenience, it's easier for me to go to the Starbucks underneath my work building. AND also, truth is that the people at the Starbucks I go to ARE so nice (well trained?) that they know me by  name (yes, I know, it's maybe because I go TOO often!!)... but hey, they are also among the few people who can spell my first name correctly, "trema" included(!!)... and I can't state it otherwise, it's a really nice way to start a work day!! 
That said, no matter how often I go (a few times a week), I still can't understand half of the orders people place. It actually amuses me to realize that no matter how many choices the menu already offers, people manage to get yet another alternative that's NOT on the menu. Unbelievable!! 

I remember reading a NY Times financial article regarding how people, especially College graduates, would be better off financially if they were to bring their own cup of coffee (or drink the one offered at work) instead of spending $$ it at a Starbucks-or-the-likes. Yet, as another financial advisor would comment, you have to treat yourself with something but that's IF and only IF you manage to save in the first place...   
Beyond the price (you pay more for a Grande Latte than for a gallon of organic milk!!), as explained in this Daily Mail article, what people should really pay attention to are the calories they indulge on when they order a Venti Caramel Brule Latte (460 calories with whole milk) or worse, the Eggnog Latte (620 calories in its largest serving with whole milk)! Imagine: more than a hamburger??? And that's not counting the calories of any food ordered with the drink!! 
That's why, when I go, I stick to my regular coffee drinks (nonfat decaf Latte or decaf Soy Latte depending on the days if you care to know) because sitting in an office all day won't make me burn the extra load of calories of the new drinks Starbucks is launching. And besides, I am not big on sugar anyway so every syrup, no matter how "skinny", taste too sweet to me!  And the few times I take my children, I make sure to order one hot chocolate (no whipped cream) and ask for it to be divided in two cups (not on the menu but they'll do it if you ask!) It has worked well for us because what I realize is what my kids really enjoy is to drink out of the cup and lid and to carry their drink outside! That makes them feel like grown-ups! Funny, isn't it? As usual, read the label and enjoy with moderation!

1 comment:

  1. I hate sounding pretentious when I order at Starbucks, but I love that a "grande non-fat half-sweet extra-hot vanilla latte" has thirteen grams of protein, almost half my RDI of calcium, only about forty extra calories from the syrup (as opposed to eighty if you get the regular sweetness) and by getting it extra-hot, it stays warm on my desk longer so I can sip it throughout the morning. Yeah, I sound like a 90s Seattleite hipster, but at least I'm making a slightly-healthier choice!