Coffee is obviously the most important part of any start to the day, and judging from the more than 18,000 Starbucks stores around the world, a caffeine fix from Starbucks is a key part of the morning routine for many people.
But is a cup of coffee (or Frappuccino, or Iced Caramel Macchiato, or Vanilla Soy Latte) from the coffee chain giant really worth it, when you could just grab a mug of Joe from the little coffee shop near you that's not a chain (and that most likely charges less)? The reasons listed here might convince you to stay off the Starbucks (at least, for now).
1. New Drinks Just More of the Same: Starbucks' first addition to its core menu in over 16 years is strikingly similar to a drink already on its main menu. The new "Hazelnut Macchiato" will be made the same way as the Caramel Macchiato already available: with vanilla syrup, milk, foam, and espresso. The only difference? A swirl of hazelnut syrup rather than caramel. The sweet drink may taste good, but if this is the most exciting new drink Starbucks can come up with, they need to keep thinking.
2. The Unexpected Calories: The Frappuccino is one of Starbucks' trademarks, a blend of ice, coffee, and milk that's of course topped with whipped cream. Most might not assume the ubiquitous Frappuccino to be chock full of calories, since it wasn't even going to be affected under Mayor Bloomberg's proposed soda ban. If a drink were over 50% milk, the ban would have classified it as a healthy drink not needing to be restricted. However, a 20-ounce (that's a Venti in Starbucks lingo) Java Chip Frappuccino made with soymilk contains 570 calories. For comparison, 20 ounces of Coca-Cola only has 240 calories.
3. Expansion, Yet Again: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is leading a major growth initiative for Starbucks. After its recent acquisitions of tea company Teavana, juice-maker Evolution Fresh and bakery chain La Boulangerie, Starbucks is expanding its in-store products as well as its amount of stores. They'll be opening 3,000 more stores, with 1,500 in the U.S., over the next five years. Only time will tell what the expansion will mean for the little coffee shop or tea place down the street, but I predict that it won't be getting any easier for independent coffee places. If you get your morning caffeine fix somewhere other than a chain, enjoy it while you can.