Posts Tagged ‘frappuccino’

HAPPY PLACE

Some say the coffee isn’t the real deal especially if you’re a hard core coffee drinker. Others say it’s quite expensive for just a Frappuccino or hot latte. A handful find it a convenient spot for meeting up and there are those who find it a great place to work. Case in point is my gal-pal – we go way back in high school – Melie when we caught up with each other one weekend. She was working in Starbucks Greenbelt while waiting for me. Apparently, she learnt and revealed to me that one is more productive while working in a café. Working or meeting up with someone, hard core coffee drinker or not, Starbucks is my happy place.

Starbucks drinks_resized

a smile and a friendly note awaits you at Starbucks [Starbucks, Tomas Morato]

It all goes back to when I found myself living in a new country and walloped severely by homesickness, cultural isolation, and discrimination. It was my first time to be living apart from my family and the whole routine of being on my own was both exhilarating and unnerving, to say the least. On top of homesickness, I was culturally isolated – being a self-absorbed careerist wasn’t how I was raised to be. I didn’t believe in going up the ladder of success by stepping on others which put me greatly at odds with a whole lot of people. Then there’s my nationality that triggered my first experience of discrimination. The preconceived notion that Filipinos were only meant to be domestic helpers had preceded me unknowingly as well as all the stereotypes of being a woman that I thought had been deconstructed.

Starbucks, on hindsight, was the one place that I could piece back my fragmented self together quietly. Every single day was a battle against homesickness that left me weary and which was compounded by being treated as the peculiar one in the group to put it mildly. The Starbucks near my workplace then was a serendipitous find. There were no weird glances from the baristas to make you feel that you shouldn’t be in their country or any put-upon behaviour to take my order. It was just simple human decency: a simple warm greeting of “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and what I would like to drink or eat that day. I didn’t have to constantly fear that someone was hatching a nefarious plan to make me the scape goat for their failure or put up with hypocrisy – you know when they smile at you and then stab you at the back minutes later. My visits to this Starbucks reached a point when I just showed up at the counter, exchanged pleasantries with the baristas which eventually became longer chit-chat that did wonders for my soul, and head to a table with my caramel macchiato. I didn’t need to say my name or my order anymore. A smile particularly one that goes beyond the lips and crinkles the eyes does have this energising effect on a person.

I’ve since relocated to another country where I’ve learnt to let my guard down and view humanity in a less jaded way. I still frequent Starbucks because it still remains my happy place; the baristas, store manager, and even the security guard still exude that affability which is more than welcomes. At Starbucks, I sew clumsily my tattered soul, chase away the negative thoughts gnawing on my thoughts, and glue back my shattered heart. It is also where I do most of my work, thinking of which stories to assign, new topics to write on, and new punishments for my students. Lastly, it is where I catch my breath after a tongue-on-the-floor workout with Pak Agus. I have a cup of no-sugar cappuccino or caramel macchiato with non-fat milk or soya when I remember to say it to the genial Starbucks barista.

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FRAP HAPPINESS III

It is a love affair with Starbucks that raises from eyebrows but who gives a hoot. Others go for the lattes as they chill on the sofas; some get a kick from collecting the destination mugs or tumblers which I completely understand. I did get myself a tumbler from a Starbucks outlet in Ubud, Bali and a decorative mug from Disneyland, Anaheim. An old university friend gifted me with a San Francisco mug. Right now, I am on a frappuccino trip. This month I trooped down to my favorite Starbucks outlet at Tomas Morato in the Philippines where the baristas are warm and get my name right all the time. Moreover, they engage in friendly banter about almost anything under the sun. My last conversation was about my tattoo on my inner forearm that he found cool.

There are two new frappuccino flavors to add a zing to that hanging out-at-Starbucks routine. First is the Banana Split and the second is the Irish Cream Coffee Pudding. The former is a reworking of the all-time ice cream dessert favorite, the banana split. As you sip through the frap, it is a smooth sensation that starts from the bottom of which is strawberry whipped cream followed by the mocha frap – caffeinated or not, your choice – whipped cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and banana syrup. The crumbled waffle gets caught up in the swirl through the straw. The Irish Cream Coffee Pudding, on the other hand, is something new on my palate particularly the coffee pudding that was velvety with every sip. Like its sister-frap, it is available in regular or decaffeinated. But unlike its sister-frap, the ground coffee is sprinkled on the whipped cream for that wee-bit of caffeine kick. 

Banana Split frappuccino


Irish Cream Coffee Pudding frappuccino


Crank up the sugar rush with the new chocolate marshmallow cake – with a caramel middle – and your Starbucks routine is complete.

Chocolate marshmallow cake

FRAP HAPPINESS II

A different country, different speciality drinks at Starbucks – this is the Starbucks rule I managed to confirm on my Starbucks-hopping. Simply put, the US market had the loved-by-the consumers and hated-by-the baristas Unicorn Frappuccino, Indonesia is now tooting its counterpart of Popcorn Caramel Frappuccino. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Starbucks is treating its loyal customers to two special flavors, one of which is the Roasted Smores Frappuccino. Apparently, this one is back due to popular demand.

Roasted Smores Frappuccino

The scorching heat – 35 degrees is normal temperature each day in Quezon City – was a strong impetus for me to get Roasted Smores Frappuccino (tall size only) and throw caution to the wind. I would worry about the calories later when I get to the gym. Truly frap happiness with each sip, which was far from my imagined saccharine taste. Nestled at the bottom of the ice-blended Frappuccino roast coffee beans were swirls of chocolate syrup reminiscent of the chocolate sauce for chocolate sundaes bonding with swathes of marshmallow. Topping the iced beverage is a whirl of whipped cream sprinkled with bits of graham crackers. It is not hard to grok that it is pure frap happiness: a sip of it is a sweet (not cloying), gooey, and chocolatey goodness that momentarily quells the searing summer heat and uplifts the sadness in one’s heart.

It is a sugar fest with the Roasted Smores Frap and sticky cinnamon bun. (Imperial Suites,Tomas Morato branch)

CARAMEL GIDDY

It is to each his, or her, own when it comes to finding a way out of the doldrums. Some, I know, sing away their despondency, which is something I can never do because my pipes are broken, in a manner of speaking. Others, I have seen, in Shakespeare’s words, “plague heaven with their bootless cries”. There are those who, tragically, turn to drugs like Sherlock Holmes to stay the boredom. Then are there are the ones that dive into a box – or boxes – of chocolates. As for me, I jump into caramel, anything caramel – caramel cupcake, chocolate bar with caramel filling, ice cream bar with caramel, you get the point – like crazy.

 

This blended beverage finally made its way to Indonesia after 10 months of waiting.

This blended beverage from the Polk Street outlet finally made its way to Indonesia after 10 months of waiting.

The one caramel variant missing was Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, which I learnt of from an old elementary classmate, which is her favourite Instagram and FB photo subject apart from her corgi named Kirin. She is now based in Chino Hills in Los Angeles and turns to a venti Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frap to get through a very trying day at work. Curious, I got myself one when I was in San Francisco last summer and was completely won over. Actually, I was very caramel-giddy.

 

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino in progress - swirls of caramel and a drizzle of caramel crunch complete the frap.

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino in progress – swirls of caramel then a drizzle of caramel crunch complete the frap.

It was a rarity in Indonesia until this month when Starbucks included it in its beverage menu. After sipping one 10 months ago at the Polk Street outlet, I was happily sipping a tall size Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frap (Rp50,000) at Metropolitan Mall in Bekasi while plodding through the remaining 40+pages of Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop. It’s not like I’ve experienced metanoia but, at least, all is copacetic in the world until the next frap.

Look, it's here! Selamat datang ke Indonesia!

Look, it’s here! Selamat datang ke Indonesia!