I want to love you, really I do. You started in my new hometown of Seattle and are a large employer for our little piece of the Northwest. You consistently make Fortune Magazine’s “Top 100 Companies to Work For” list. You pay sustainable prices for coffee and work to be socially and environmentally responsible. But if I drink one more chai latte I’m going to scream!
Like a growing number of people, I am a tea drinker, not a coffee drinker. As a tea drinker, my options at Starbucks are slim. The only true tea lattes are chai and green tea. The green tea is sicky sweet and you can only have so many chai lattes before going mad from boredom. I was excited when the Earl Grey, Awake and Vanilla Roobios “tea lattes” were introduced. I quickly discovered, however, that they were nothing more than tea bags left steeping in the cup with some milk and syrup thrown in. The result? Mostly “latte” and no tea flavor for the first part of the drink as the tea begins to steep and bitter towards the end if you don’t drink quickly, because again, the tea continues to steep and grow stronger because the bag is left in the cup. Bad show Starbucks!
Do I expect too much? No, because I know there is a better way. You see, I hail from Orange County, California and in Orange County we have The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The Coffee Bean – which was founded 8 years before Starbucks in Los Angeles – gets it. It features no less than NINE true tea lattes, with seasonal specials like Winter Dreams, a spicy gingerbread concoction. It also offers all of it’s teas with a no sugar added option which lets you save calories without losing taste. My favorites? Pomegranate Blueberry, Apricot Ceylon, and of course, Winter Dreams. But most of all, I love that I can have a different tea latte every day of the week. Starbucks, please do a little competitive research and bring us tea drinkers some options.
For everyone else, if you happen to be in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii or Texas, do yourself a favor and seek out The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, whether you’re a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, you won’t be disappointed.