Currently hydrating with watermelon frescas
Let, it be known, I am not a coffee drinker. Never have been, and I don’t think I ever will be. I loooove the smell of coffee- that first whiff of air when you walk into a cafe is just. so. yummy. But I have never quite warmed up to the intense, bitter flavor of a cup of joe. Part of me is also terrified that if do start drinking it, I will get hooked, because, who couldn’t use a kick of caffeine every now and then… or daily.
What I am hooked on (like at least 3 cups a day, or I feel like a piece of me is missing) is tea. Coffee shops are everywhere. Tea shops? Not so much. But the tea trend is on the rise, so stay tuned. When I’m out and about, and need a cup of tea, typically, Starbucks is the most convenient option. It’s quick, and it’s on every corner. The selection for tea drinkers has historically been lacking. One of my favorite purveyors of tea has been Teavana, so when they began partnering with Starbucks a while back, I was thrilled. I thought, “Yes! Maybe this will up Starby’s tea game!”. Let’s just say I was wrong. On a recent trip to the land of the green mermaid, I went in for a nice hot cup of tea from the Teavana line, but when I read the tea tins they had on the sale, I was so disappointed. As someone who tries to live well and eat a clean, wholesome diet, it only make sense that I avoid artificial ingredients. Several of the teas by Teavana sold at Starbucks contain “artificial flavors”. WHY does my tea have to have artificial ingredients? I know how wonderful a completely natural cup of tea tastes, so any artificial flavor would be unnecessary, and quite frankly, unwanted.
Hear me out: there are some blends of tea at Starbucks that don’t contain artificial flavors (Jade Citrus Mint, Royal English Breakfast, and Oprah Chai- thanks, Oprah) but for us tea drinkers, the selection is even more narrow if we are trying to avoid consuming artificial ingredients.
Moving on to the next reason Starbucks seriously bums me out in the beverage department: their matcha. Yes, matcha is so great for your health and wellbeing. And as someone who drinks it daily and has been obsessed since the my early high school days (which was a while ago #matchahipster), I would not recommend Starbucks as the place to get a daily matcha fix. I will admit, I get it as a treat every now and then, but in terms of the health benefits their matcha holds, tummy satisfaction is about the only benefit.
The matcha that Starbucks uses comes presweetened. This means that even if you order your green tea latte unsweetened, that matcha is still packed with sugar. The matcha powder used by Starbucks contains this ingredient list: sugar, matcha. Sugar comes first!! I am bummed that sugar is even involved at all! Matcha acts as an anti-inflammatory, where sugar is inflammatory. Putting them together lessens matcha’s awesome benefits. If you are going to enjoy a cup of matcha, please look for a product line or cafe who uses a matcha that is made from only the ground tea leaves, or a beneficial add-in, like ginger pieces.
A tip for drinking tea and matcha in general: Do not drink it with dairy if you want to get the antioxidant benefits from the tea. Whether you add a splash of milk like the British, or order a matcha latte, the casein in milk binds to the catechins (an antioxidant compound found in tea), which causes them remain unabsorbed by the body. Drink your tea plain, or order your tea latte with a dairy free milk to reap all the antioxidant benefits tea has to offer!
As a tea drinker, I will not typically go to Starbucks to get my tea fix. What would it take to get me to feel better about ordering a beverage from the coffee giant, you ask? First, Teavana should remove the “artificial flavor” from each and every tea selection that contains this pesky ingredient. Second, Starbucks must find a matcha producer that does not add any sweetener to their matcha powder. That way, we can all drink to our health.
What do you think about Starbucks? Love it, hate it, or do you fall somewhere in between? Sound off below!