If you’re a digital bedouin who works out of WiFi cafés, you get to drink yummy drinks while you aim for inbox zero. But make grande mochas a habit and you might start looking pretty grande yourself. Starbucks wants to help with a new set of […]

latteIf you’re a digital bedouin who works out of WiFi cafés, you get to drink yummy drinks while you aim for inbox zero. But make grande mochas a habit and you might start looking pretty grande yourself. Starbucks wants to help with a new set of low-fat, low-calorie drinks. Are you buying? Or do you already have a favorite drink?

So far, Starbucks’ new offering doesn’t sound too promising. Baristas are none too thrilled with the so-called “skinny” platform that means a drink with sugar-free syrup, nonfat milk, and no whipped cream. And customers may not like it either, if early reviews are any indication.

Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune’s The Stew blog tried the new skinny mocha-flavored latte and was not impressed:

Although the drink sported a nice fluffy head of skim foam, the drink underneath was thin, weak and infused with a weird chemical flavor. The whole thing was reminiscent of something you would have gotten out of a 1980s-style coffee machine and then complained about.

Ostensibly, somewhere in the drink there is a shot of Starbucks “Signature espresso” and perhaps some real cocoa powder but you wouldn’t know it in this whisper of a drink that makes you feel like you are depriving and poisoning yourself at the same time. The big selling point is that the drink will only cost you 90 calories in a small–saving you about 100 calories a whack, Starbucks says. No thanks. Not worth the suffering to our palate.

I’m tired of lattes and mochas, so when I’m at my favorite work-away-from-home joint I go for a mug of Silver Doodle cinnamon, caramel, and chocolate-flavored coffee with a shot of half and half. I make up for the extra fat and calories in the half and half by typing really fast.

What’s your standard drink order when you’re working in a café? Or do you like to mix it up and try different things?


  1. I’m convinced that the best drink for getting work done is a double Americano (or triple, or quad). They are not only cheaper, but pack quite a punch and can bring you from 0 to 100 in about 5 minutes. These things have saved my ass on many occasions :). Also, I prefer to work in the local coffee shops since Starbucks doesn’t provide free wi-fi. I bet more people would work out of Starbucks if they did.

  2. No matter what the time or the weather, I always get a venti iced Americano. No room, no cream, no sugar, just pure unadulterated caffeinated goodness.

    I prefer iced coffee to hot coffee when working because the iced coffee lasts for hours, while I have a limited window of time to drink hot coffee where it’s not so hot that it burns my tongue and not cold. I can sip a venti iced coffee for hours and keep a focused buzz going.

    I realize it’s strange to drink iced coffee but dislike cold coffee, but it’s just not the same.

  3. When at Starbucks, I prefer the Caramel Frappachino sans the whipped cream.

    I really like Dunkin Donuts, so I drop by several times a week to get an iced coffee for a couple of bucks. At one point, they were running a promo where you got a free donut with a large iced coffee. Breakfast for less than $2. Works for me! :)

    YUM. Doesn’t matter if it is winter or summer, I love cold coffee drinks.

  4. Should have read this earlier, Anne. I tried the skinny mocha today, and have no intention of repeating the experience. The review you quoted was spot-on. Blech.

    I tend to lean towards just plain ‘ole coffee with Splenda and skim milk and maybe a couple of sprinkles of cinnamon. Easier on the wallet as well as the waistline.

  5. I’ll echo the Americano votes. It’s always good, pretty much world- and store-wide. It’s just espresso with hot water on top. So, it has two advantages: (a.) it’s always fresh due to it being espresso – this is in comparison to brewed coffee which could have been sitting there forever, and, (b.) it’s espresso, so it’s a bit of a “punch” as folks have noted. Also, it’s usually cheap.

    The only problem is that if you don’t drink it in an hour or so, it gets vile tasting.

  6. I have skim milk lattes. (I refuse to call them “skinny”, even on the rare locations I’m in a Starbucks, because that’s just stupid.) That fake syrup sounds grotesque, but then I find the real syrup pretty gross, too. If you need that much sugar/chemical sugar substitute to drink coffee, maybe you should switch to tea.

  7. Venti-black-coffee with some ice on top so I can drink it within 6 hours of the pour.

  8. At my cage of choice (Espresso Vivace) I always have a cappuccino (one size only, and there is no other way).

    At *$ I tend to have a grande vanilla non-fat extra hot latte. That way I can savor it for a while, but given a choice 100 times out of 100 I’ll go for Vivace.

    I can’t drink drip

  9. I typically don’t buy retail drinks (even though my corporate campus has 2 Caribou Coffee’s inside!) ever since I bought two inexpensive products: an Aeropress for espresso, and the Toddy for cold-press concentrate. Both have a great tasting cup of coffee in as long as it takes to get hot water (90s in my microwave for 1 cup, and an additional 90s for milk for a latte).

    If I have to have coffee and I didn’t bring any / ran out, I love the cold-press from Caribou. If I’m feeling really gluttonous in the summer, the Vanilla Cooler with their dark chocolate-covered beans mixed in!

  10. You all are too fancy for me. Gimme plain old black coffee in a styrofoam cup from a good ole NY deli. If I’m gonna splurge. It’ll be dunkin’ donuts regular – black, of course.


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