Longtime readers of this blog know that I'm a big coffee guy (you wouldn't want to see me before I have my cup at breakfast) and a fan of Starbucks--not only for the beverages, but also the various purposes of the place (hanging with friends, reading, grading papers, etc.). In the summer, I tend to stop at one on the way to the college, both as a buffer between one type of teaching and the other, and as a chance to get a little reading done.
In the summer in Texas, a hot drink isn't very practical in the afternoon, so I skew towards Frappuccinos, but I'm aware of the caloric content of those things, so sometimes I'll get the shaken iced tea or the iced tea lemonade. That's cheaper, but there's not as much drink in there either, so there's a tradeoff involved.
But this afternoon, while on my usual stop, I was presented with another alternative as I prepared to order the tea lemonade. "Would you like it blended?" What's that; come again? "Yes, you can have it just over ice, or we can make it like a Frappuccino." Ooh, that sounds good; let's try that.
And I think I've found the answer to my summertime drink dilemma now. The blended tea has the substance of a Frap (and no wasted space filled with just ice) without the calories, and it's still a buck cheaper. I wondered if this was brand new, and, if not, why nobody had ever suggested this before. (A little research showed that some sort of blended tea had been offered since at least 2002, when the company pulled a controversial ad that some people accused of having 9/11 imagery.)
So thank you, anonymous female barista at Renner and North Star. You've guaranteed yourself some more sales now.
Jumpin' with java joy some more: The New York Times dispels some of the negative myths about coffee drinking.