NEWS: Starbucks Introduces Mocha Cookie Crumble and Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino Beverages

Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Closeup-WM

Update: Click here to read our Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino review

This week, Starbucks released two new Frappuccino flavors for you to get brain freezes with, the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino and Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino.

The Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino brings together a mocha sauce, vanilla syrup, Frappuccino chips, Starbucks signature Frappuccino Roast coffee, and milk blended with ice and topped with a chocolaty whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumbles. Yup, it totally sounds like a nice summer beverage that will help you not look good in your bathing suit. A 16-ounce serving with 2% milk has 470 calories, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 76 grams of carbohydrates, 69 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 105 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.

If you want a slightly better for you option, there’s the new Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino, which has everything the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino has, except the Starbucks signature Frappuccino Roast coffee. A 16-ounce serving of the coffee-less beverage with 2% milk has 440 calories, 19 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 60 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein, but only has 15 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.

Both varieties are available at Starbucks locations for a limited time. Starbucks is also bringing back for a limited time the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino and the Coconut Creme Frappuccino blended beverages.

But some of you might be asking your computer monitor in hopes of talking to me, “But what if I want to enjoy the flavor of a Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino without having to put on pants?” Well, Starbucks has you covered there because they’re also offering this summer at grocery stores a Limited Edition Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Ice Cream and a Cookies & Cream Frappuccino bottled coffee drink.

A 1/2 cup serving of the ice cream has 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. A 9.5-ounce bottle of the Cookies & Cream Frappuccino has 190 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 105 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 32 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

Both items should be popping up in stores soon.

REVIEW: Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix

Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa

It’s around midnight and I’m writing this Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix review outside…topless.

Why am I outside in the middle of the night half naked? Because if I want to truly appreciate this Starbucks hot cocoa, I feel like I need to drink it in a cold environment, which is difficult when one lives on a tropical island and doesn’t have air conditioning at his place.

Although it’s the middle of the night and there’s a slight breeze, the weather is still in the mid to high 70s, hence the reason why I have no shirt on. I thought I would feel cooler if I took it off, but fripples have yet to form. So here I am standing outside with the moonlight reflecting off of my pale chest, making my torso glow like it’s a bodily fluid under a black light.

I would take off more clothing, but I haven’t done laundry in a long time, so the only item of clothing that prevents me from being completely nude are the cargo shorts I have on. Also, the glowing pale parts of my body seem to be attracting bugs, so if I were to take my shorts off, I would have bugs circling around my body’s airport control tower, which is something I do not want.

Speaking of things that are milky white, in order to make a cup of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa, the instructions say eight ounces of hot milk are needed. However, I got tri-curious and made three different cups using low-fat milk, vanilla soy milk, and water.

If you don’t have milk or soy milk and you’re too lazy to get some, water will do in a pinch, but that’s like settling for QVC during primetime TV hours because the remote control is farther than an arms length away. If you’re going to make a cup of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa, you’ve got to make it with milk or soy milk. Don’t settle for QVC.

Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Closeup

When milk or soy milk is used, the Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa makes me forget about the bugs landing and taking off on my pale glowing body. The cocoa flavor is rich and much better tasting than what Swiss Miss and Nestle offers. However, it’s slightly gritty. The cocoa used is ethically sourced, so if you love responsible, sustainable cocoa farming (and who doesn’t), you’ll like the cocoa in these Starbucks packets.

The dehydrated marshmallows included aren’t your typical mini round dehydrated marshmallows found in other hot cocoa mixes. They’re much larger, handcrafted, and are more like small slabs of dehydrated marshmallows. They don’t melt away easily, but when they do they add a little vanilla flavor to the hot cocoa.

A box of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix is twice as expensive as a box of Swiss Miss or Nestle hot cocoa, but I don’t think it’s two times better tasting. It’s probably more like 1 1/2 times better. But, to be honest, if I were to find myself topless in the middle of Jack Frost’s wrath, I don’t think I would care about flavor. All I would probably care about is drinking anything hot and doing something to get rid of my fripples.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 envelope not prepared – 110 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% calcium, and 10% iron.)

Item: Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix
Price: $7.19
Size: 8 envelopes
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Better than Swiss Miss. Chocolatey. Small slabs of dehydrated marshmallows. Made with ethically sourced cocoa. Taking off clothing to thoroughly review a product.
Cons: Slightly gritty. Fripples. Twice as expensive as Swiss Miss. My pale body. When mixed with water. Taking off too much clothing to thoroughly review a product.

REVIEW: Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee

Starbucks VIA Caramel Flavored Iced Coffee

I feel sorry for the Starbucks baristas out there who have to deal with complex drink orders from insane customers. They say the customer is always right, but those who order an iced ristretto 5-shot grande with 5/8 decaf, six ice cubes, 2-pumps sugar free caramel, 4-pumps caramel, soy, whole milk, extra whip, 12 Splenda, double cupped, and hand stirred to a temperature of 43 degrees have got to be wrong.

Do they feel like their complex order somehow makes them some kind of Starbucks alchemist?

Or are they trying to impress the people behind them in line with the fact that they know how to order something at Starbucks?

Or do they enjoy being a barista puppeteer, making Starbucks employees do their bidding with their purse strings?

You know what, Starbucks baristas? I’m your break from the batty bastards and bitches who order elaborate beverages, because from now on, when I roll into a Starbucks, I’m only there to either use the restroom, steal napkins, be creepy, or to pick up a pack of your new Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee, all of which don’t involve you lifting any of your well-worked fingers. I’m your coffee break, your latte lull, your ristretto recess, your half-caf hiatus, your Venti vacation, and your Asian persuasion.

Each packet of Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee is made up of microgrounded 100 percent natural roasted arabica beans, a little bit of caramel flavor, and cane sugar. This powdery partnership produces a Grande of iced coffee goodness, if you’re willing to do all of the following: measure 16 ounces of water, rip off the packet top, pour the contents of the packet into the 16 ounces of water, and then stir it until the powder dissolves.

Or if you have children, you can dress them up in a green Starbucks apron, tell them you’re “playing Starbucks,” and make them do all the work.

After tearing open a packet of Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee, it farts out a strong caramel aroma. That caramel aroma is also present after the powder is mixed with water. When I drink it, it starts off with a nice caramel flavor, which quickly gives way to the bitterness of the coffee. However, thanks to the caramel flavoring, I’m finding it much easier to drink than regular Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee, which I usually sweeten with either a little more sugar or chocolate syrup.

I really enjoyed the regular Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee, but I have to say I prefer this caramel version more. Adding a little vanilla soy milk makes it even better, although the caramel iced coffee already has 24 grams of sugar, so adding soy milk gives it a little more. While that may sound sweet, it’s not as sweet as I am for giving Starbucks baristas a quick breve breather from impossible drink orders by not ordering anything and just picking up a 5-pack of Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 packet – 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 20 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee
Price: $5.95
Size: 5 pack
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Better tasting and easier to drink than regular Starbuck VIA Iced Coffee. Easy to make. Great with a little vanilla soy milk. Makes a Grande of iced coffee. Cheaper than ordering the same drink from Starbucks. Giving baristas a break from making complex drink orders from douchebags. Nice energy pick-me-up.
Cons: Might have too much sugar for those who care about consuming too much sugar. You have to stir or shake it yourself, unless you have children who can do it for you. Waiting in line behind someone who orders complex Starbucks drinks. At home, you have no access to the Starbucks bar.

NEWS: Take Work Away From Starbucks Baristas By Purchasing Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee

Bucko in the Snow

Update: Click here to read our Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee review

Last year, Starbucks added an iced coffee version to their VIA instant coffee line and I wrote a review so positive that it makes me sound like ABC TV Minneapolis movie critic Rusty Gatenby who the said the following about Transformers: Dark of the Moon, “Biggest action movie of the summer? How about biggest action movie EVER!”

Sounds like someone wants to be quoted in a Transformers: Dark of the Moon commercial. Oh wait, he was.

Anyhoo, my positive review of Starbucks’ VIA Iced Coffee had me hoping for a sequel from them, and they delivered.

This week, the Giant Green Coffee Machine released a new iced coffee flavor — caramel. Just like the regular VIA Iced Coffee, Starbucks VIA Caramel Flavored Ice Coffee is made using “a special blend of medium roast coffee made from 100 percent high-quality arabica beans.”

Each VIA packet makes 16 fluid ounces of iced coffee.

Oh, wait. It’s Starbucks.

Each VIA packet makes a Grande of iced coffee.

Starbucks VIA Caramel Flavored Iced Coffee is available for a limited time in 5-packs at a suggested retail price of $5.95.

REVIEW: Starbucks Artisan Bacon, Egg & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

Starbucks Artisan Bacon, Egg & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

As a non-coffee drinker, I’ve never had a particularly close relationship with Starbucks.  I know many of you reading this have connected with them in a deep, meaningful way I’ll never truly understand, like the bond between a man and his dog, or occasionally his wife.  I admire that, but there’s no reason for me to pay three dollars for a small hot chocolate when Swiss Miss is free at work.  (With OR without marshmallows!)  That being said, I don’t have anything against Starbucks, beyond the vaguely sinister-looking logo.  Their willingness to keep charging high prices in the midst of a massive recession was ballsy to the point of being almost endearing, and they really know how to tie a Barnes & Noble together.

So when they recently began offering Artisan breakfast sandwiches, I seized on it as a way to join the java junkies and really get the full Starbucks experience.  There are currently two varieties of sandwiches — I chose Bacon, Egg & Gouda because the soul is what makes it taste good, but those who claim dominion over plants but not yummy, yummy animals have their own option with Veggie, Egg, & Monterey Jack.  Vegans, sorry to say, are S.O.L.; apparently that’s a demographic Starbucks feels they can do without, at least until they roll out their Lentils, Gravel & Soy sandwich next quarter.  What makes it “Artisan” is the use of fresh ciabatta bread, which has the dual quality of being fun to say and automatically adding a dollar to the price.

All kidding aside, the bread IS good.  I would’ve been fine with just a biscuit because that’s the kind of low-brow guy I am, but it smells delicious and manages to be crispy but not hard on the outside and soft on the inside.  You may rest assured your barista isn’t just slapping some stale wonder bread left over from her kid’s lunch on your plate.  (Well, maybe yours is.  Perhaps you should consider tipping more than a buck every third visit, hmm?)  It’s also offset well by the bacon, which isn’t spilling out every side but still manages to seem pretty plentiful.  That’s key, because a common lament of food that aspires toward being more gourmet (even just a little) is that they tend to bolster the quality of the ingredients at the expense of quantity, with meat often being the first casualty.  You’re not going to feel like you’re eating a whole pig, but he’ll know you were there, by God.

Starbucks Artisan Bacon, Egg & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich Half

The cheese also comes through in a big way, partnering with the bacon to make your mouth salivate even as somewhere the Grim Reaper knocks another three pegs off your “Days ’till first heart attack” tally.  If any element is underrepresented, it would have to be the egg.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it just doesn’t pack nearly the smell or the taste of its more aggressive sandwich-mates.  And you can’t really blame this on Starbucks (okay, maybe the barista), but when I broke it in half, all of the bacon and most of the egg ended up on one side, which is kind of like having a rollicking threesome with Scarlett Johansson and Cloris Leachman — yes, technically it’s still a threesome, but you’re really better off just splitting the difference.

A final word of caution — the pictures make it hard to judge scale, but these are not massive sandwiches.  The bread is roughly five by five inches, so think of it more as a tasty mini-meal to help you power through a morning of inane coworker babble, rather than something that’s going to enable you to skip lunch.  (That’s what the schnapps in your lower left desk drawer is for.  Don’t worry, your boss doesn’t know.  Yet.)  If it were a little larger and a little cheaper I’d be able to recommend it even more highly, but as is, it’s still delicious.  Anyone used to paying Starbucks prices already probably won’t mind, but if you’re strictly a Dunkin’ Donuts kind of person, this is not the largest quantity of food you could get for your money.  Though from what I understand, pairing it with a 12-ounce coffee will net you a pretty good discount on both, so… yep, hosed again.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 350 calories, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 170 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 17 grams of protein.)

Item: Starbucks Artisan Bacon, Egg & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich
Price: $3.45 ($3.95 w/ 12 oz. coffee)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Non-coffee drinkers have a reason to visit Starbucks.  Enhancing Barnes & Nobles.  Sandwich options for both conscienceless murderers and hippie wimps.  Smells as good as it tastes.  Does not skimp on bacon.  Hiding booze at work.
Cons: Illuminati logo.  Vegans shafted again.  Damn well better be gourmet for what you’re paying.  Gross threesomes.  Only a full breakfast if you weigh 110 pounds.