Category Archives: Starbucks

Starbucks finally gets the message … this year there will be pumpkin

635754202989362144-AP-Starbucks-Price-HikeLast year, our friend Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe, uncovered the unfortunate fact that everyone’s favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte from from Starbucks contains absolutely no pumpkin. This came as a shock to hundreds of thousands of fans. In addition to the lack of pumpkin in the beverage, the ingredient list itself certainly proved to be lacking in many other areas. Here’s what we found out back then …

Espresso (Water, Brewed Espresso Coffee), Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Non-Fat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup or Sweetened Non-Fat Condensed Milk (Milk, Sugar), Annatto (for color), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Caramel Color (Class IV), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Whipped Cream (Whipping Cream, Starbucks Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Caramel Color (Class IV)), Pumpkin Spice Topping: Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfites)

Not exactly the most appetizing ingredient list has ever seen.

This year, though, Starbucks has had a change of heart … or recipes anyway.

One of Starbucks’ most iconic drinks will finally be flavored with the ingredient that it’s only been mimicking for years.

The pumpkin spice latte will have real pumpkin on the ingredient list when it returns to stores this fall, Starbucks said in a blog post Monday. The drink will also no longer have caramel coloring added.

“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” said Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ director of espresso Americas and the product manager who led development of the pumpkin spice latte 12 years ago.

A spate of major food companies have made announcements this year about using more natural ingredients in product lines and getting rid of artificial colors and flavors, including General Mills, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway and Kellogg.

The new pumpkin spice latte will include espresso, milk, pumpkin spice-flavored sauce made from ingredients including pumpkin puree, whipped cream, vanilla syrup and a spice topping of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger.

We’re hopeful that when the actual ingredient list is released it will include exactly that … nothing more and nothing less. That would certainly kick off pumpkin season the right way for all of us.

Starbucks ushers in the holiday season with the new Chestnut Praline Latte

579f048cfc7741ed98c494b8d5eeb29bThe holiday season is officially upon us … and so are fast food holiday beverage introductions! Fall is the “pumpkin spice” everything season and the winter holidays are open to a whole host of flavor combinations in a cup.

This year, Starbucks has introduced the new Chestnut Praline Latte. Certainly sounds like the holidays, doesn’t it?  It calls to mind an old Christmas carol … “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose…” And if everyone loves hazelnut-flavored coffee, chestnuts will probably be a big hit.

So what’s going on with this new holiday latte?

While Starbucks has yet to release the ingredients, we can tell you how the Chestnut Praline Latte is being promoted on their website.

“Introducing our new seasonal sip – a tantalizing flavor sensation of Espresso, steamed milk, and caramelized chestnut flavor and spices. Topped with whipped cream and spiced praline crumbles. Stop in and sip your way to seasonal bliss.”

Even with the ingredient list unavailable, we can understand right away that the “caramelized chestnut flavor” is probably not something we should be excited about. We can’t really criticize what we’re not sure of, though, and will leave it at that.

We do know about the nutrition facts for the latte. We’re sharing the facts for the 16 ou. Chestnut Praline Latte with whole milk.

Calories:               370
Fat:                       17 grams
Saturated Fat:     10 grams
Sugar:                  39 grams

If you choose to start your morning with the Chestnut Praline Latte, you’ll be consuming 50% of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat with your coffee and just about 10 TEASPOONS of sugar. doesn’t really need to see an ingredient list for this one. We prefer actual chestnuts roasting on an open fire to put us in a holiday mood. The Chestnut Praline Latte can stay at Starbucks.

There’s an all-important ingredient missing from Starbucks famous Pumpkin Spice Latte … and it’s not the espresso

starbucks (1)You probably can guess that has the utmost respect and admiration for Food Babe, Vani Hari. She’s never afraid to take on food manufacturers and challenge them to change. Her efforts have led to many successes that are helping consumers enjoy healthier options. Hari’s writing has prompted petitions that forced Subway to remove azodicarbonamide from its bread, criticized pizza chains for using MSG, and even convinced Chick-fil-A to phase out chicken given antibiotics.

Hari’s latest investigation is aimed at Starbucks, specifically its pumpkin spice latte, with an August 25 blog post titled “You’ll never guess what’s in a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. (Hint: You won’t be happy).”

As with many of her investigations, the Food Babe’s most pressing concern begins with Starbucks’ failure to disclose ingredients for all of its beverages online. Hari writes:

While they list some ingredients on their website, they still do not list the ingredients in their most popular items: their drinks! This includes all of their lattes, frappuccinos, macchiatos, smoothies, etc.

Indeed, lists the ingredients only for all its food items — but no beverages. However, the issue is something the company says it’s working to amend.

“With more than 170,000 ways to customize your Starbucks beverage, listing ingredients can be very complex. We’ve been working on listing our core beverage recipes online via, same as we do with our food, and hope to have an update in the near future,” a media spokesperson said Wednesday via email.

The Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is a superstar in the coffee world. It has millions of afficionados. Consumers wait patiently for the beverage to reappear in Starbucks locations nationwide every fall. Unfortunately, it appears that it lacks an all-important ingredient. There’s no actual pumpkin in the beverage.

In her post, Hari goes on to list several “harmful” ingredients found in Starbucks’ most popular beverage, the PSL, including IV caramel coloring, Monsanto milk, pesticide residue, artificial flavors, preservatives, and sulfites.

The ingredient list reads as follows:

Milk, Espresso (Water, Brewed Espresso Coffee), Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup or Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk (Milk, Sugar), Annatto (for color), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color (class IV), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (preservative)), Whip Cream (Whipping Cream, Starbucks Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Caramel Color (class IV)), Pumpkin Spice Topping: Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfites.

While Starbucks did not respond to questions about the Food Babe’s pumpkin spice latte blog post — including whether it has affected the company’s decision to make any changes to the drink — the media representative confirmed that the company is actively working to remove the caramel coloring from its beverage syrup.

“We are actively looking at phasing out caramel coloring, though we don’t have timing to share,” the media spokesperson said. “In any instances where it is used in our beverages, the level is well below the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) and safe to consume.”

While Hari’s claim that the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte contains absolutely no real pumpkin is also true, it appears Starbucks is going with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” stance. According to the spokesperson, the coffee giant won’t be giving in on that one anytime soon.

“The idea behind the Pumpkin Spice Latte has always been to have an espresso-forward beverage, which is core to what Starbucks is known for, infused with pumpkin-inspired flavors and spices of the fall season,” she said. “The PSL has become the company’s most popular seasonal beverage of all time, and we have no plans to change the recipe.”

So, if we’ve got this right, Starbucks most popular, widely embraced fall beverage will continue to offer consumers the great taste of pumpkin without ever including any pumpkin in its ingredient list. It was designed to bring you the taste of pumpkin with natural and artificial flavor (not to mention at least a few other questionable ingredients) and it’s just fine the way it is. Except for the caramel coloring — which Starbucks is “working on” replacing, but isn’t ready to do quite yet.

Hmmm. Kind of makes you wonder how the Pumpkin Spice Latte managed to rise to its current stratospheric level of popularity. Go Food Babe.

11 hours of “pay it forward” at Florida Starbucks

Starbucks Coffee on Coffee BeansIt really feels like there isn’t any good news to be found recently. The news has been bleak here in the U.S. and around the world. With very little escape from disease, corruption and violence, thought it might be refreshing to focus our blog post on an ongoing string of kindness that actually lasted for 11 hours at a Florida Starbucks. It’s a much-deserved pick-me-up for us all!

A woman drove up and paid for her own iced coffee at 7 a.m. Wednesday at a St. Petersburg store, and also asked to pay for a caramel macchiato for the driver behind her, who then did the same for the next customer.

After a few people continued the chain, the employees started keeping a tally on a piece of paper by the window.

By 1:30 p.m., 260 people had paid it forward, according to the Tampa Bay Times, ordering their own drinks and paying for one for the stranger behind them. After people ordered their drinks and drove up to the window, barista Vu Nguyen explained that the drink had already been paid for and asked if they’d like to return the favor. In total, 378 people agreed to keep it going.
The baristas thought that if the chain lasted until closing, at 10 p.m., they would put the remaining money on a gift card and continue the next day, according to theTampa Bay Times. But the chain finally ended in that evening.

At 6 p.m., the 379th customer ended the chain by ordering a coffee and declining to pay for the next one.

Nguyen says he doesn’t believe that final customer understood the pay-it-forward concept.

While it would have been great if the “pay it forward” chain had continued, we do think that an 11-hour streak was impressive and exceptionally commendable. It’s great to see humanity emanating from the population … and to observe how one simple act of kindness can propel another, and another, and another.

It’s a great idea. We should all try to step up to allow a chain of kindness to begin in our own community. A nice antidote to the current onslaught of unpleasant news, as well as an important reminder that a simple act of kindness can go an awfully long way.

Welcome to “Starbucks Evenings” …. Starbucks reinvents happy hour

beer & wine.jpgWhat do you think of when you think of happy hour? If your thoughts turn to a crowded, noisy bar where you can’t really share conversation with friends and you need to figure out how to balance your drink and appetizer plate, you’re the exact consumer Starbucks is trying to reach.

If you live in L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, Portland or Seattle, you can now enjoy beer, wine and a special evening menu at selected Starbucks locations after 4 p.m. That evening menu includes appetizers and desserts.

According Starbucks’ website, “Starbucks Evenings” is an effort to substitute a loud bar for a more intimate happy hour meet-up.

“We’ve always been your neighborhood spot where you can take a moment to unwind, grab a well-deserved treat, and meet up with friends,” the site reads. “But sometimes, you just want a glass of wine and a delicious bite to eat without going to a bar or making a restaurant reservation.”

And while “Starbucks Evenings” includes new items for purchase, the barista setup will remain intact. The chain’s regular coffee and tea menus will also still be available to order.

While “Starbucks Evenings” are only occurring in the selected markets mentioned, is assuming that they may very well be expanding the concept to include other areas. So let’s take a peek at the menu. We don’t have nutritional information just yet (and we’ll be sure to update when we do), so for now, we’ll just give you the overview:

Brie Blue Cheese Plate
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Skewers
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Balsamic Glaze
Truffle Macaroni and Cheese
Chicken and Roasted Tomato Flatbread
Artichoke and Goat Cheese Flatbread
Chocolate Fondue
Salted Caramel Cheesecake Brownie

While those items sound pretty tantalizing for happy hour fare, we’re reserving our opinions until Starbucks decides to clue us in on what’s really in the small plates we might enjoy with a glass of wine or beer.

How would you feel about substituting the bar around the block from your office with your local Starbucks for happy hour? Their bet is that you’d enjoy an intimate atmosphere more than the crowds gathering at your typical pub. We would like to mention, though (just for the sake of a little realism), that crowds and Starbucks have always gone hand in hand. It’s difficult to think of a Starbucks location that we’re familiar with that lacks crowds on your average morning. Kind of thinking the same thing will end up occurring during “Starbucks Evenings.” That sort of negates the whole premise. Time will tell, though. We’ll keep you posted!

Under the bun: Starbucks new breakfast sandwiches

starbucks.jpgSome months it’s actually difficult to keep track of the new menu introductions from the fast food chains, and March is certainly no exception. This time, we have new product news from Starbucks.

While some don’t consider Starbucks to be fast food, it’s important to keep in mind that the chain is relying more and more on its food items as an integral part of its future success. About half of Starbucks total sales occur before 11 a.m. So we shouldn’t be surprised that earlier this month, they introduced four new breakfast sandwiches to the menu.

Let’s take a peek “under the bun,” as likes to say, and see what’s really going on with these four brand new breakfast choices.

Vegetable & Fontiago Breakfast Sandwich
This new option certainly sounds healthy enough. It features Spinach, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions and Fontiago cheese on a multigrain ciabatta bun. It also contains 470 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 910 mg of sodium. And while the ingredient list isn’t the worst we’ve seen, you’ll also enjoy some sulfur dioxide and caramel color.

Slow-Roasted Ham & Swiss Breakfast Sandwich
Simply ham, swiss cheese and egg on a croissant. Here you’ll be eating 490 calories, 25 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat and 830 mg of sodium. The saturated fat content equals 60 percent of your recommended daily intake. Not great. Natural flavors are included in the ingredient list, but there’s nothing else controversial listed.

Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich
Reduced-fat turkey bacon and reduced-fat white cheddar cheese on an organic wheat English muffin. This one actually is a better choice if you’re looking for a Starbucks breakfast sandwich. With 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 560 mg of sodium, it’s a lighter option. The English muffin is made with organic ingredients. Natural flavors appear in this ingredient list as well.

Egg & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
This new sandwich is simply described as egg and cheddar cheese on multigrain toast, which certainly doesn’t sound bad. A closer look tells us that this simple sandwich will cost us 400 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat and 730 mg of sodium. We honestly weren’t expecting to find this particular set of nutrition facts in this sandwich. The good news here, though, is that there are no controversial ingredients included in this one at all. “under the bun” conclusion: There’s definitely a mixed bag here. While most of these sandwiches are high in calories and fat (not to mention, saturated fat), the ingredient lists are better than many fast food breakfast choices available. The sandwiches aren’t the worst we’ve seen … but with a little work, they could be a lot better.

Starbucks is getting ready to help you avoid morning lines

If you’re like millions of American consumers, you’re visiting your favorite Starbucks each morning — right along with plenty of other devoted Starbucks coffee lovers. And while you’re there, you may be ordering a breakfast food item. Starbucks is actively trying to promote their foods right along with their coffee. But we all know there’s usually a crowd, and you’re usually waiting to pick up your order. thinks plenty of people would be happy to avoid all that, wouldn’t they?

Starbucks has already put the latest technology to work in their stores with two very popular mobile apps that allow you to pay via your smartphone. And now they’re preparing to incorporate mobile ordering into those same apps.

Yesterday, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz confirmed plans to allow customers to place orders through Starbucks’s mobile app and pick them up later. “I can tell you that we understand the value that that will create for our customer base,” Schultz said. He added, “You can assume that over time we will lead in this area.”

Pre-ordering would make sense for Starbucks as the coffee giant increasingly focuses on food, which is its fastest-growing segment. ”Everything we’ve seen so far encourages us that we’re just beginning to go after what is a big, big food opportunity,” CFO Troy Alstead said yesterday. Food is more complicated to prepare than coffee and can slow down service in Starbucks stores. “We’re definitely looking to increase the speed of our lines,” spokeswoman Linda Mills told Quartz today.

Some restaurant chains, like Chipotle, already allow mobile pre-ordering. Starbucks’s big advantage in this area would be that so many customers—over 10 million—already use its mobile app to pay for their orders.

But there are plenty of complications to consider. Will the company prioritize pre-orders, or in-store orders? The company wants to make buying coffee and food as easy and fast as possible, but not if it comes at the expense of sales. Which is probably why Starbucks is being so deliberate about the program’s careful development.

When Starbucks has all the complications ironed out, you’ll be able to use their app to avoid their lines. Order before you go, pick it up and pay. It will help save time (and any annoyance associated with waiting) and help you get to your favorite coffee a lot more easily than you may be used to.

Deck the halls with too much sugar …

And fat. And calories.

It’s that time of year … and everyone is looking for a sweet treat, a little indulgence, or maybe a new flavor that reminds them of the season. Holidays are all about taste for many and the major chains here in the U.S. are ready to deliver. Especially at the popular coffee retailers, we can rest assured that our holiday cravings will be satisfied by an ever-evolving flavor selection that will most likely contain ingredients we don’t like and more sugar than they usually include.

This year Starbucks is no exception. While we can’t put our finger on the ingredient lists in these holiday coffees, we can fill you in on some of the basics!

Caramel Brulée Latte
This treat is espresso with steamed milk, caramel brulee sauce topped off with sweetened whipped cream and caramel brulee topping. And for a 12 ou. cup with 2% milk, here’s what you get:

Calories: 340
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 6g – 30% of your daily recommended intake
Sugars: 40g — 10 teaspoons of sugar

Gingerbread Latte
A new holiday flavor – espresso with steamed milk, gingerbread flavor syrup, spice-infused whipped cream and a molasses drizzle. Our teeth start to hurt just reading that. Here’s why:

Calories: 260
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 6g – 30% of your daily recommended intake
Sugars: 29g — A little more than 7 teaspoons of sugar

Eggnog Latte
Here we have espresso with steamed eggnog and milk topped off with ground nutmeg. At least there’s no whipped cream – that would have really pushed it over the top. Take a look:

Calories: 370
Total Fat: 17g
Saturated Fat: 10g – 50% of your daily recommended intake
Sugars: 39g – Just about 10 teaspoons of sugar

We’ll admit, these are fun and interesting flavors. And as the weather turns colder, even hearing the names of these hot coffee drinks can make you sigh with comfort. But let’s stop a second. Do any of us really need to spend almost 400 calories on our morning coffee? Do we need as much fat content in a cup as we can get from a lean beef patty? And more saturated fat than you’d find in a lean pork chop?

And let’s not forget about all that sugar. It is the holiday season after all. So odds are, most are consuming extra sugar without even getting to a distinctive flavored coffee selection. Folks are bringing baked goods into their offices. There are Christmas cookies and rugala for Hanukkah and gingerbread houses and Kwanzaa cake and candy canes and truffles … we could go on and on.

So especially at this time of the year, between seven and ten teaspoons of sugar in a medium coffee is really off the charts. can’t remember a time we’ve actually seen anyone willingly put that much sugar teaspoon by teaspoon in one cup. So Starbucks, while they sound great, we’d actually rather indulge our holiday cravings (sparingly) on some of those other treats that someone actually prepared from scratch in a kitchen with ingredients we know. We’re betting that a few of those won’t contain 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Worst Bottled Coffee!


Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino (1 bottle, 13.7 fl oz)
290 calories
4.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
45 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 32 Nilla Wafers is looking into the unhealthiest drinks in America. With an unreasonable number of calorie landmines peppered across Starbucks’ in-store menu, you’d think the company would want to use its grocery line to restore faith in its ability to provide caffeine without testing the limits of your belt buckle. Guess not. This drink has been on our radar for years, and we still haven’t managed to find a bottled coffee with more sugar. Consider this—along with Starbucks’ miniature Espresso and Cream Doubleshot—your worst option for a morning pickup.

Information provided by

America’s Worst Espresso Drink

starbuckespresso is looking into the most unhealthy drinks in America. Lets take a look at Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream

Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream (venti, 20 fl oz)
660 calories
22 g fat (15 g saturated)
95 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 8½ scoops Edy’s Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Coffee Ice Cream

Hopefully this will dispel any lingering fragments of the “health halo” that still exists in coffee shops—that misguided belief that espresso-based beverages can’t do much damage. In this 20-ounce cup, Starbucks manages to pack in more calories and saturated fat than two slices of deep-dish sausage and pepperoni pizza from Domino’s. That makes it the equivalent of dinner and dessert disguised as a cup of coffee. If you want a treat, look to Starbucks’ supply of sugar-free syrups; if you want a caffeine buzz, stick to the regular joe, an Americano, or a cappuccino.

Information provided by Men’s Health Magazine.