May I Please Have a Decaf-Light Mocha Frappachino?

October 26, 2007
May I Please Have a Decaf-Light Mocha Frappachino?

Madeleine Aquilina

An average American’s day probably includes a cup of coffee. We run on it like fuel. Even I, at age 13, frequent Starbucks, ordering up lattes and Mocha Frappachinos. Starbucks is a tremendous achievement for humankind. Starbucks is convenient, hip, and offers choices. It can attract the business man, soccer mom and funky artist. I too, enjoy reaping all those benefits. But health conscious and not in need of anymore caffeine, I take my drinks decaf and light (a lower calorie option.) Baristas always refuse to make my drinks to my liking. The lame excuse is “I can’t make both.” Starbucks should be able to offer decaf and light drinks as an option.

The Starbucks menu offers complex drinks. Does a Pomegranate Frappachino tickle your fancy? Or will it be a Gingerbread Latte kind of day? Are you in an Iced Caramel Macchiato kind of mood? This is one of my personal favorites- a Mocha Frappachino with a shot of Raspberry. Trust me, the list goes on. Starbucks is able to customize drinks to a crazy extent. So, compared to all the other drink combinations, asking for decaf and light seems innocuous. One reason baristas may not make drinks decaf and light is the mixes. At Starbucks employees make coffee from mixes. Apparently, currently there is no mix for drinks that are decaf and light. I guess it’s not in the contract for them to think for themselves and make the drink. People should go the extra mile in the service business.

Honestly, if I am shelling out up to four dollars for a drink, I expect it to be specialized. In the bluntest way, I want to get what I asked for. Once I start adding shots of espresso, whipped cream, and a shot of flavor, it’s a pretty major chunk of change. Shouldn’t I the bang for my buck?

Frankly, Starbucks serves an upscale consumer. But what can you expect if four dollars is the going rate for a latte there? It is in all likelihood that a wealthier customer (a candidate for a Starbuck’s addict) would have higher expectations. Many times people with money feel more entitled. They feel as if their coffee should be fit just for them. It would benefit Starbucks if it offered more alterations. Their snobbiest customers, who order drinks as long as novels, would be pleased.

Starbucks pays their employees around nine dollars an hour for mixing up coffees. Eighteen is the minimum age for Starbuck’s employee. Eighteen is years older then what most establishments require for their workers. It seems that if a company hires older people that the employees should be able to adapt the product to the consumer’s taste. I mean the workers are not inexperienced high school kids at a summer job, where the inability to make a complicated drink would be more understandable. Making a coffee drink decaf and light is not rocket science. People do it in their homes (gasp) with a mere coffee pot. Step One: Use decaf coffee. Step 2: Add skim milk and Splenda. Many drinks contain sugary syrup. I’m sure Starbucks could make light syrups with Splenda. Why can’t some one paid to make coffee figure this one out?

Decaf and light drinks would be beneficial to health. People chug down frappachinos like water. Without realizing it they are consuming 500 calories! Obesity in America is an issue. Though Starbucks offers healthier options with the light drinks, making light also available in decaf would be a good idea. Health nuts would have more choices and be more inclined to patronize Starbucks. No, this is not going to bring an end to the epidemic proportions of obesity in America. It may be a stride towards reducing the problem.

Next time you are in a Starbucks- ask for your frappachino light and decaf. I’m not encouraging riot or protest. Coffee isn’t worth violence no matter how much we depend on it. But it is worth to ask. Maybe you will encounter an employee who is willing and able.

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