Discovery of the day: Surviving Starbuck's

I can't help it. I love Starbuck's. I've tried espresso stands, local shops, and other chains but I keep heading back to Big Green. I'm not far from Seattle so that's saying something; we are riddled with coffee places. Reminds me of when I lived in a small town in Wisconsin in the late 70s. There was a 'corner bar' on practically every street corner, even in residential areas. And I am not even kidding.

Some people think Sbux is 'evil corporate coffee' and that it's over-roasted or too strong but to me it is simply sweet nectar from the gods handed to me by angels in green aprons. OK, maybe that's overstating it a bit. But not much.

However, one trip per workday (sometimes two if I forget my morning travel cup from home) can add up, both in terms of cash and calories. Here's how I ensure maximum coffee goodness with minimal impact to my budget and butt.

A tall (12 oz) brewed coffee with an ounce or two of soy milk (around here they use Vanilla Silk) costs about $1.70 and, as far as I can figure, has way less than 50 calories. This time of year I get it iced, although they don't have iced decaf so I have to go full-lead. (awww, darn...) I use Splenda so no calories there.

To compare, a tall caffè latte with 2% would be 150 calories, without any fancy flavoring syrups. And a grande mocha frappuccino (my former favorite summer treat) is almost 400 calories! Not sure how much those cost but I'm pretty sure the tall latte is around $3.50. The grande frappuccino is surely in excess of $4.00.

So on average I probably spend about $10/week. Caloric impact: Minimal. I almost always bring my lunch so I figure $10 toward my mental well-being is money well spent.

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