Summers are hot in Los Angeles and 1993 was no exception. That summer, two intrepid Starbucks employees campaigned for the creation of a blended coffee beverage – not unlike blended beverages that they had seen at other, local coffee shops – to be added to Starbucks’ menu. One store in Sherman Oaks started doing a test to see how customers might respond to a blended beverage. The test gathered steam and by 1994, you could buy blended coffee drinks at all of the 10 Starbucks stores in Southern California. The drink also got a name: the Frappuccino. The national launch of the Frappuccino was in 1995 and the rest is history, as the blended drinks became an icon for the coffee chain, winning over not only people looking for a cold beverage on a hot day, but people who weren’t even coffee drinkers in the first place.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the nationwide launch of the Frappuccino and from March 26th through March 30th, you can buy a limited edition Birthday Cake Frappucino at your local Starbucks store. The birthday creation is flavored with vanilla and hazelnut and topped with a pink, raspberry whipped cream. You’ll have to provide your own candle, as it’s not included with purchase.
Coffee isn’t actually bad for kids, despite what messaging from some advertisements decades ago managed to convince people, and enjoying a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop is a ritual that the whole family can take part in these days. That said, you still might not want to give a very young child coffee when you’re out, but if you want them to just feel included with the rest of the coffee-lovers, this cup is the way to do it.
The Rise and Shine Sippy Cup is a cute way to share your love of coffee with your youngster, giving them a cup that will make them feel like one of the “big kids” regardless of what is inside of it. The plastic cup has a hard plastic lid that snaps securely into place to prevent spills. The Starbucks-like logo features a duckie and the words “Baby Ducks Coffee.” You can fill up the cup with milk, juice or take it to your favorite coffee house and have them fill it up with a kids’ hot chocolate on a chilly evening. The cup is adorable and it is always a conversation starter, a great addition to the coffee-lover’s collection – even if you aren’t serving your toddlers coffee in it just yet.
Cold brew coffee has been growing in popularity for the past several years and it will be coming to Starbucks very soon. The company recently announced that it is rolling out cold brew coffee to it’s North American stores. The cold brew method is beloved by iced coffee enthusiasts because it produces a strong brew that is smoother and mellower than traditionally brewed iced coffee, which is made by pouring extra strength coffee over ice. The cold brew combines coffee beans and water and allows them to steep in the refrigerator for an extended period of time to draw out the flavor of the beans. Starbucks’ cold brew will be a 20-hour brew, made to double strength and diluted with water and ice before serving.
Seattle’s Best Coffee, which is owned by Starbucks, is a chain that has long been known for selling cold brew coffee in its stores. Hopefully Starbucks can take some cues from the way cold brew worked at SBC and make the rollout go as smoothly and quickly as possible. I’m probably not alone in saying that I’d like to be able to get cold brew easily this summer!
Unless you are a die-hard traditionalist, you have used a Keurig coffee maker to brew a cup of coffee sometime in the past 10 years. The single-serving K-cup pods are found everyone from quick oil change places to office buildings to home kitchens because they are so convenient and easy to use. Not only is each K-cup portioned for a perfectly sized single serving, but you can brew a wide variety of different types of coffee one after another – something that is not so easy to do with more traditional brewing methods.
K-cups have a downside, however, and that is waste. The individual cups are not recyclable and we are producing a whole lot of them, as the coffee pods are more popular than ever before – and there is no sign of the trend slowing down any time soon. The inventor of the K-cup, John Sylvan, now says that the waste makes him regret ever inventing them.
As he explains the appeal now, “It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.” But he had no idea at the time how ubiquitous the product would become.
It isn’t the fact that he sold his company to Green Mountain for $50,000 in 1997 (perhaps he does, however there were many other unsuccessful pod designs on the market at that time) – it’s the fact that the pods were so extremely successful, that they generate more waste than he could initially have imagined. Sylvan also says that he designed a more eco-friendly option, but that Green Mountain didn’t want anything to do with it.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Green Mountain says (and hopefully it’s true) that they have a biodegradable and/or recyclable packaging option in the works, though it’s release is at least a few years away.