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The Skinny on Starbucks

28th December 2007

The Skinny on Starbucks

posted in Food News, Pop Culture |

Ordering coffee at Starbucks can be challenging, what with the gazillion of choices available – a tall non-fat double-shot vanilla latte with whip, anyone?

StarbucksNow the brewing baron is making ordering easier for perplexed patrons with its new “Skinny” platform. The new lingo – the word “skinny” – saves you from having to say nonfat Latte made with sugar-free syrup. As Mo at Big Fat Deal nicely sums it up:

So if I wanted a nonfat sugar free gingerbread latte (which, yum) I could just call it a skinny gingerbread latte, therefore saving on both calories and syllables.

The company also added a new sugar-free syrup flavor – mocha – to its existing selections of vanilla, hazelnut, caramel and cinnamon dolce.

The husband and I try to eat a healthy, natural and balanced diet, so as a personal rule I tend to shun sugar as much as possible. But instead of touting this laudable aspect of its sugar-free selections, Starbucks instead is playing the popular New-Year’s-resolution-to-lose-weight card.

“We regularly hear from our partners that customers are cutting calories and seeking healthier options,” said Katie Thomson, registered dietitian, Starbucks Coffee Company.

“We understand how important overall wellness is to our customers and so we’ve made it easier for them to stick to their New Year’s goals without giving up their daily coffee routine by introducing the Skinny platform.

“In fact, customers can consider replacing that sweet snack so many of them reach for in the afternoon with a Skinny Latte. Not only will they save on calories and fat but they’ll be getting an extra shot of calcium and protein to get them through the day.”

… that sweet snack so many of them reach for in the afternoon…” Hmmm… I wonder if Thomson’s conclusions that Starbucks’ customers are uncontrollable sugar addicts is based on any kind of credible market research.

If Starbucks’ new lingo seems like wishful thinking in a cup, that’s because it is. Swapping out a tall Cinnamon Dolce Latte (made with non-fat milk and no whip) with a tall Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte is a difference of just 70 calories. And even if you indulge in a drink a day, that’s still just 490 calories per week – it would take nearly two months before those daily drinks resulted in a gain of one pound.

So, enjoy your drink du jour, whatever it may be, and ask Starbucks to hold the guilt. Or try mine: Steamed soymilk, plain, with a sprinkle of vanilla powder and a few packets of Splenda sweetener.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007 at 4:00 pm and is filed under Food News, Pop Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 15 responses to “The Skinny on Starbucks”

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  1. 1 On December 28th, 2007, Rose said:

    For a long time, and as a matter of principle, I would insist on ordering a “large” coffee instead of a “Venti” from Starbucks. Finally, I could no longer take the looks of pain and confusion on the faces of the coffee servers, so I got used to ordering my coffee in Italian.

    I wonder how you order in Italy? I’m thinking it’s probably known as a Big Gulp there.

  2. 2 On December 28th, 2007, Tari said:

    We understand how important overall wellness is to our customers

    1. What does this have to do with new year’s resolutions or calorie counting?

    2. Artifical sweeteners are somehow more in line with this than sugar?

    3. So, if I drink a full-fat, full-sugar mocha latte, can I call it a “Fat Mocha”? ‘Cause I’d kinda like that.

  3. 3 On December 28th, 2007, CynthiaC said:

    This is new? Most baristas I’ve come across know what “skinny” means. Honestly, the best to have at Starbucks is a tall, skinny latte, sans sugar, sans syrup, sans anything but espresso and milk.

  4. 4 On December 28th, 2007, Rachel said:

    And sans flavor, too, it sounds like Cynthia!

  5. 5 On December 28th, 2007, RoseCampion said:

    It has a flavor- coffee. Some of us like the flavor of coffee and don’t want it muddied with vanilla or “gingerbread” or whatnot. I also don’t like sweet drinks, except sometimes I’ll have a fruit juice.

    But I don’t like regular syrups in my coffee. And I think that artificial sweeteners are worse. Not only do they not taste good to me, I’m sure the chemicals they use are worse for you than even HFCS or actual cane sugar. I guess for me artificial sweeteners don’t fit into a healthy or natural diet.

    My drink is a decaf red eye. Brewed coffee with an extra shot of espresso. Add a splash of whole milk and I’m good. If I’m at a place that doesn’t have whole milk to add in, I do a little half and half, a bit of skim.

  6. 6 On December 28th, 2007, Phledge said:

    Amen to all dat. Rose, I still insist on using American terms for American sizes. It’s a fucking large, okay? Get over yourselves and deal. Tari, it floors me that people think artificial sweeteners are “safer” than sugar because the horror! sugar has calories and calories are clearly DANGEROUS and wouldn’t you prefer to use this chemical that sorta tastes like sugar instead? Meh. I am so going to use the “fat” phrase now. I usually order a peppermint latte and specify that I want whole milk, but I’m gonna steal your concept. I love it.

  7. 7 On December 28th, 2007, CynthiaC said:

    Actually, a tall skinny latte is my regular drink at Starbucks.

  8. 8 On December 29th, 2007, Swellanor said:

    “I wonder how you order in Italy? I’m thinking it’s probably known as a Big Gulp there.”
    LOL!

    Actually, all that “Italian” at Starbucks is totally made up. In Italy, you ask for coffee (caffe’) and you get a single shot of espresso. In a small ceramic cup. It is possible to get a double shot, but people often just order two caffe’. That’s it- no “venti” or “grande” anything.

    And don’t even get me started on the Starbucks “macchiato.”

  9. 9 On December 29th, 2007, Swellanor said:

    PS- Why do they call it the Skinny *Platform*? It makes it sound they have constructed something big and important, maybe using hammers and nails. But actually they are just adopting slang that is already in use.

  10. 10 On December 29th, 2007, Meowser said:

    It has a flavor- coffee.

    Hehe. Kinda reminds me of Denis Leary’s (or was it Bill Hicks’?) “cappucino, Frappucino, Al Pacino, what the fuck — I want coffee-flavored coffee!” routine.

    For me, Starbucks is kind of a “last resort,” living in the coffee-snob town that I do. Their coffee kinda tastes burnt to me. But Frappucinos are ok in the summer (and there are eyewitnesses to the fact that even Denis Leary has, in fact, been known to order those). I can understand ordering the sugar-free version if you have a medical reason to stay away from sugar or even if you just like it better, but other than that, you’re right, Rachel, “guilt” is not a very good reason to “order skinny.”

  11. 11 On December 29th, 2007, Rachel2 said:

    I work at a coffee shop*. We call this evil empire “Starsucks”. There’s a reason for that.

    Everything on their menu is crap. I’ve never ever found one thing that I liked even remotely on their menu. Their brew coffee is just gross. They don’t do their espressos right, and don’t get me started on their “macchiato”. It’s all gibberish. As well as their campaign to give people a “healthier” option.

    If somebody wants a healthier coffee, skip the mochas, the lattes, etc, and just plain stick with a brewed coffee with a bit of soy milk and two to three packets of splenda. That’s what I do, and my waistline thanks me for it!! :-)

    My biggest laugh is a “skinny” german chocolate mocha, no whip. Duh.

    *Even in my own dear coffeeshop, I am not able to drink everything on the menu. In fact, I am not able to drink most of the mochas and the lattes are just too much for me. Just give me the caffiene, dammit! Screw the milk part. Milk gives me digestive problems, and the mochas have WAAAAAAAY too much sugar in them for my liking! I stick to 1-2 different brews, 1 tea, and then just straight espresso if I so desire. I’m kinda boring. Heh.

  12. 12 On December 29th, 2007, musicisourhigh said:

    I guess at the end of the day, I’ve been one that never seen the lure of going to Starbucks just because it is Starbucks. I’ve found their coffee and drinks no better and sometimes worst than other establishments.

    And if I could I would still go back to the coffee house at UCLA in the mid-80′s because their coffee was the only one that is stuck in my mind and taste buds after all these years

  13. 13 On December 29th, 2007, Rachel said:

    I tried a few of Starbucks’ specialty drinks and never liked any of them, even the ones loaded with whipped cream. Of course, I’m one of those ones who love coffeehouses but generally despise coffee unless I put in 6 packs of sweetener. Starbucks uses the same soy milk I buy in the grocery store; they just heat it up. Even they can’t ruin good soymilk.

  14. 14 On December 29th, 2007, Charlotte said:

    I like to keep it simple at Starbucks; I usually just get a regular coffee or a vanilla frappacino.

  15. 15 On December 29th, 2007, JeanC said:

    The only thing Starbucks ever sold that was drinkable was the Chantico, chocolate orgasm in a cup and that was discontinued :( Their coffee is atrocious, hubby won’t drink it as he hates burnt coffee and this from a guy who doesn’t think coffee is any good unless you can stand the spoon in it and it tastes of diesel fuel LOL

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