[Tom Boon | Contributing Writer]
Once again I’m sitting in Star Reserve, Starbucks’ attempt at an upmarket coffee shop (you can read more about my last visit here). Coming here always make me question the best way to have your coffee. My standard order (which we’ll go into later) is, of course, my absolute favourite. But this store always challenges me to try something new. However, let’s start with the basics and work our way up.
First, there is the issue of which drink you are ordering. You can choose from a range of drinks such as a Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Flat White, and more, but which should you pick? Cappuccinos are a dying species, in fact, Starbucks have removed the drink from menus in some stores. A Flat White is similar to a Latte, but made with a lot less milk and therefore a lot stronger, whilst a Macchiato is an upside down Latte with syrup which costs way more. I’d personally go for the Latte.
A Latte is constructed of a number of factors, the main ones being the number of shots, type of milk, and syrup (if you’re into that.)
The number of shots is the intensity of the coffee in your drink. Typically, a Tall and a Grande have two shots, and a Venti has three. If you want your coffee to be stronger or if you’re looking for more of a pick-me-up, this is the number you’ve got to increase. You can also go for decaf, or the lesser known ‘half-caf’ version of espresso if you’re looking for the great taste, minus the caffeine hit.
Next up is the syrup, arguably the factor that can define a coffee. I typically go for the sweet and simple caramel syrup; it adds undertones of sweetness which perfectly complements the bitterness of the coffee. Of course, you could always go for the sugar-free syrups if you’re looking to feel slightly less guilty about your daily dose.
The Christmas of 2013 saw Starbucks host the best syrup of all time: the sweet orange syrup. It was a dream when paired with a hot chocolate, essentially creating a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in a cup. If it ever comes back, make sure you try it!
Now let’s get to the serious stuff… milk. If you don’t provide any specifications, you’ll likely end up with semi-skimmed milk at Starbucks. There’s also the option of skimmed milk, and the weird and wonderful coconut milk and soya milk. Here’s a little secret: whole milk. Those two words will change your coffee lifestyle forever. It may not be healthy, but whole milk gives your coffee that taste that you just won’t find with any other milk, and it’s ten times easier for the barista to get it at just the right consistency.
You can also choose what temperature milk you’d like the barista to serve. A standard Latte is 120ºF; that’s about 49ºC. You can ask for an extra hot Latte, or a kid’s temperature latte at 100ºF, which is easy to drink straight away as it’s cooler.
Of course, you have all of the other little things such as dry or wet milk, whipped cream or caramel drizzle. Just avoid these. They’re pointless, and some will end up costing you an arm and a leg unless you have a gold card. All you need is the recipe for the perfect coffee, and it goes something like this:
Grande Three Shot of Origin Espresso Caramel Latte with Kid’s Temperature Whole Milk to go.
Images: Tom Boon