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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Best Coffee at Starbucks Isn't on the Menu

Like most office drones, it’s hard to pass by a Starbucks on the way to work without stopping for a cup of America’s finest. But a new trend has baristas cringing and customers rejoicing: the Instant Brew. It’s not on the menu, but most baristas will make you one if the store isn’t too busy.

The Instant Brew is when baristas brew coffee directly into the cup and not into a giant vat of joe. It’s also known as a pour-over or single-drop. This trend is becoming more popular among small specialty coffee houses, and it produces a stronger brew similar to a French press, but without the grit.

Thanks for the image
There's a few more items from Starbucks which may further piss off your local barista.

  • The Short Cappuccino: A cheaper, better cappuccino served in a smaller eight-ounce cup. This is a more European-size portion of the drink without the extra milk most baristas use to fill the tall cups. Most foodies agree that a proper cappuccino should be one part espresso, one part steamed milk and one part foam.
  • Biscotti Frappuccino: buy an individual biscotto and ask your barista to blend it into any Frappuccino drink for a crunchy treat.
  • Red Eye: a shot of espresso in regular drip coffee
  • Black Eye: two shots of espresso in regular drip coffee
  • Green Eye: three shots of espresso in regular drip coffee (with a side of insomnia and serious heart palpitations)
  • Poor Man’s Latte: order an Iced Americano with no water and half ice, then pour in your own half-and-half at the condiments station; the result is a Breve Latte for a fraction of the cost.
  • Chocolate Cream Frappuccino: a Frappuccino made with chocolate syrup and chocolate Frappuccino base
  • Cake Batter Frappuccino: a vanilla Frappuccino made with both vanilla bean and almond flavoring
  • Crunch Berry Frappuccino: a strawberry-and-cream Frappuccino with hazelnut flavoring; it tastes just like Crunch Berries cereal.
  • London Fog: Earl Grey tea blended with vanilla flavoring
  • Zebra Mocha (aka Penguin Mocha): a combination white-chocolate/chocolate mocha
  • Red-Tux Mocha (aka Bleeding Penguin): a Zebra Mocha plus raspberry flavoring
Starbucks is also testing new brewing methods in key markets. Their concept store, Roy Street Coffee and Tea, also serves beer and wine and creates little heart-shaped designs in their cappuccinos. More importantly they offer cold-press coffee using the elusive Clover coffee machine, an $11,000 device that takes hours to brew a pot of coffee, served cold and black.