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Starbucks’ holiday drinks

Published: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 11:02 a.m. CDT

Hi, my name is Katiedid Langrock, and I’m a Starbucks-aholic. Well, not really. I merely lose all self-control and self-worth during the season of Starbucks’ festive specialty holiday hot drinks. That’s all.

Not to worry, I’ve decided this year is the year I will kick the coffee habit. No, for real this time. Not like the past 10 years. Do they sell a patch that quells the cravings for eggnog latte?

What is it about the specialty holiday drinks that makes me develop an annual abusive relationship with Starbucks? I know they are bad for me. I know the relationship is toxic. Every year, I tell myself that this is the year that I will control the peppermint mocha. The peppermint mocha will not control me! But then this year, like every other, I came crawling back into the relationship.

It all starts off so innocently with the autumn release of the pumpkin spice latte, the perfect welcome wagon to cooler weather. I tell myself that festive drinks and I can be friends — or at least acquaintances who coexist. They don’t need me, and I don’t need them. But then, as food porn photos of pumpkin lattes pop up on social media, my obsession takes hold. I need one! It needs me to need one. How can you be sure it is autumn until you have warm gourd-infused espresso in your happy belly? You can’t! It’s impossible. I become convinced that the world would stop spinning on its axis if I did not purchase at least one grande. I order it — for science.

When it comes to the pumpkin spice latte, I’m usually one and done. But don’t be fooled. Pumpkin spice latte is the gateway drug into all other specialty holiday drinks.

Most years, by November, I still feel strong. I haven’t yet realized that the seeds of my addiction have been planted. I don’t recognize that headaches are slowly popping up when I go too long without caffeine. I don’t pay attention to my chronic scratching of my left elbow when I don’t have a white cardboard coffee cup in my hand. Once the chalkboard menus are rewritten for winter, I am an instant rehab candidate. So many options! So few winter months!

It’s a problem — not just to my wallet or to my health but because this daily Starbucks visit endangers the core of my very being. You see, the specialty holiday coffee — if you can call it coffee — it, it changes me. It’s as if my chemical makeup alters. My usual sunny and easygoing disposition flares into easy and immediate rage. The only thing that can quell the fury is a sip of a hot sugary beverage loaded with empty calories. And then another. And another. I’m just not myself when I do the brew.

A few weeks ago, I ordered my drug of choice, the salted caramel mocha, in a Starbucks drive-thru. When I got to work, I realized I accidentally had been given plain drip coffee. The horror! I immediately drove back to the coffeehouse and demanded to speak with a manager. Who could allow such poor workmanship from her employees?! While I waited for the manager to come out and accept my tongue-lashing, I was given the proper drink to sip on. By the time the manager arrived, my tummy was warm, happy and full of salty, chocolaty goodness. I had nothing but praises to offer. But it was a close call.

After my near psycho incident, I decided once and for all that this will be the year I break free from my addiction. If I need a warm drink to fight the cold, I will order a regular drip coffee. It will be better on my wallet, on my scale and on my emotional well-being. This year, I will walk away from Starbucks’ specialty holiday drinks season with my sanity in tact.

I entered my local Starbucks for the first time in 2014, mentally prepared to order my black coffee. But something scribbled on the chalkboard menu caught my eye. What was this? Caramel flan latte! A new specialty holiday drink? I had to have it. What if the Earth would stop spinning on its axis if I didn’t at least try the caramel flan latte? I ordered the coffee. I mean, really, what harm could one drink do?

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