The biggest problem with Frappuccinos – those delicious ice blended drinks from Starbucks – is that people like to complain about them. Opponents of tasty frozen drinks constantly harp about what calorie bombs they are, annoying the rest of us who want to drink our frozen treats without a guilt trip. It’s true that a super sized Frappuccino with whipped cream has a lot of calories, but so do a lot of other foods. If you don’t want a giant drink, simply order a smaller size. Starbucks is currently test marketing a mini Frappuccino, for those who want the option to order the smallest possible drink.
The new Frappuccinos are currently being tested in Houston and Denver, after a smaller test in San Diego earlier this year. They are 10-ounces – 2 ounces smaller than the current Tall option – and come in a mini cup with their own mini lid. They give customers a slightly less expensive way to taste a new Frappuccino flavor, as well as a slightly lower calorie option than a full size drink.
Rich, dark coffee can easily stain your teeth – just like other colorful foods and beverages, including red wine – if you drink it straight. Based on this, you might assume that coffee is bad for your teeth. If you look beyond the coffee stains (which can be removed with whitening toothpaste, by the way), it turns out that coffee is actually very good for your teeth! Researchers from Boston University discovered that drinking one or more cups of coffee each day can help product you from periodontal disease. Their study followed over 1000 men for more than 30 years and found that regular coffee drinkers had fewer teeth with bone loss (a sign of periodontal disease) than their non-coffee-drinking counterparts. They’re attributing this to the antioxidants in coffee, which may help to reduce gum and jaw inflammation. Researchers also point out that coffee is much less acidic than many other beverages, such as fruit juices, energy drinks and sodas, and regular coffee drinkers might also be selecting coffee over alternatives, rather than in addition to them.
When Starbucks was expanding on the East Coast, they learned that coffee drinkers on that side of the continent mostly preferred lighter roast coffees. Mild, buttery light roasts were being poured at popular chains like Dunkin Donuts and that is what consumers were familiar with. As Dunkin Donuts starts their westward push towards the Pacific, they are also finding that they need to change their coffee options to bring in a new group of customers. Dunkin Donuts launched their first hot dark roast coffee – the first in the brand’s 64 year history – last week at a store in Modesto, California and will be rolling it out nationwide this month.
“The company says its food scientists spent several years trying to develop a dark roast that would be bold but lack the bitterness often associated with dark roasts. ‘It provides an alternative choice for our current users as well as new users who wanted a bolder flavor than Dunkin’ original,’ [said] John Costello, Dunkin’ Brands’ president of global marketing and innovation.”
I tend to prefer dark roast coffees, especially when the mass-produced light roasts lack a lot of the depth that you get from premium light roast coffees, and this change would probably prompt me to get a cup of coffee at Dunkin (if and when one opens in my neighborhood) if I’m there, but only time will tell if consumers will respond by switching from McDonalds, Starbucks or their other coffee brand-of-choices to the new Dunkin’ roast.
An image has been circulating around social media, blogs and even some more traditional news outlets that presents a very alarmist picture of Starbucks’ popular fall drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. While most people are going to read through the captions on the image and realize that these claims don’t seem quite right, that didn’t stop thousands from simply sharing it and perpetuating the alarm. I can’t tell you how many times it popped up in my social media news feeds with comments like “Something to look out for!” and “Watch out!” The image comes from a woman who runs a blog called Food Babe, which is well know for fictionalizing claims and counting on the chemical illiteracy of her audience – not to mention the fact that many readers won’t get past the click-bait headline, let alone try to understand, the claims she is making – to build traffic and alarm over things that should not be that alarming.
The short answer is no, the pumpkin spice latte is not dangerous. It’s a sweet treat that isn’t going to kill you from a “toxic” dose of sugar or an FDA-approved food coloring. Snopes has a detailed breakdown of the bullet points in the graph that should quash any doubts that the PSL is anything but a seasonal treat that you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying when it is in stores.