Starbucks is constantly testing new products and marketing ideas for their stores, running them in just a few test markets around the country at any given time to gauge consumer reactions. They’re rolling out one of these new ideas nationwide in the next few months: the Trente size. This new drink size is a whopping 31-ounces! To put this in perspective, the Vente size currently runs 20 ounces for hot drinks and 24 ounces for cold drinks. Moving up to 31-ounces is quite a big step! Other coffee shops that offer such large sizes tend to promote them for iced tea and similar drinks, rather than hot beverages, because it’s pretty difficult to drink a hot drink of that size and actually have it remain hot.
The new drink size will be rolled out Tuesday in 14 states: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona.California residents will be able to buy them beginning Feb. 1 and the nationwide rollout should be complete by May 3.
A cafe con leche in just about any coffee shop is coffee with milk. The ratio varies from coffee shop to coffee shop, but when I think about cafe con leche, I think about Cuban cafe con leche. Cuban coffee is strong and can be made a variety of ways – stovetop espresso pots spring to mind as a classic example, but I’ve seen it brewed right in a saucepan and had the grounds strained out, too – but it ends up being much like a long shot of espresso. A Cuban cafe con leche is essentially steamed milk with a bit of Cuban coffee in it and maybe a little sugar or sweetened condensed milk to sweeten things up. It is an inexact definition because everyone makes it a different way, but it should be enough to give you the idea – and the idea that it is just a bit better than your standard latte.
This particular cafe con leche came from a Cuban food truck in Los Angeles of the same name. It’s not often that I find cuban cafe con leche and I jumped at the chance to pick one up in my neighborhood. It was delicious and perfectly sweetened, just enough to make the milk seem sweet without taking the edge off off the coffee.
I, for one, am always happy to kill some time with a cup of coffee during the day. When you work in an office, it’s a good excuse to get up, stretch your legs and spend a few minutes socializing. When you work at home, it’s just nice to have a break from your routine, whether that means getting away from working on the computer or from doing the laundry. A Trigger Mug will definitely help you kill some time. The mug handle is shaped like the trigger of the gun and, while perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee), it will also be a conversation starter in the break room! The triggers are stationary to make the mugs easy to hold onto, but they are glazed in gold (on white) and platinum (on black) to make them stand out on the ceramic mugs.
A few years ago, banana drinks hit the menu boards in many coffee shops, including Coffee Bean and Starbucks. At the time, I thought that putting banana into a coffee drink was a strange concept. Starbucks primarily limited the fruit to blended, milkshake like drinks and the banana suited them. Coffee Bean, for instance, used a banana puree syrup to add to hot coffee drinks, along with caramel and chocolate. The combination may have seemed strange, but it tasted great. The banana flavor really suited the coffee in a way I didn’t expect it to, and the drinks were a hit with me.
I didn’t try to make this combination at home until recently. Banana puree, again, isn’t the first thing that you think about adding to your coffee! But when the banana was pureed to be very smooth (not just mashed lightly with a fork) it brought a lot of sweetness and a richer flavor to my mocha. It also reminded me of the chocolate banana milkshakes my dad used to make for me during the summertime – although this hot version has a nice caffeine kick and can be enjoyed even in cold weather. It’s kind of a fun drink and one that I’ll be making again. Be sure to get that banana pureed as smoothly as possible for the best consistency in the finished drink!