Saturday, December 29, 2007

My New Drug

I've been meeting weekly with a group of local friends in ministry for encouragement & accountability for over a year now at Starbucks. I'm not a coffee drinker, though. I tried a couple frappuccino's, and they were ok but didn't really blow me away. For over a year, I've been lobbying the guys to pick another place to meet because I just don't really care for the Starbucks experience.

Starbucks Logo
The charming Starbucks logo with the enchanting Siren of Greek Myth
While I don't care for coffee, I am a sweet tea connoisseur. As we all do, I keep mental notes of the pluses & minuses of local restaurants, and one of the more important factors that I keep track of is "the Sweet Tea test." Is good? Is it bad? Is it too sweet? Is it not sweet enough? Is it not fresh? Is it watered down? If I'm with a group who is deciding between two different restaurants, I'll often vote for the one that doesn't have bad sweet tea.

So while at one of our ministry gatherings at Starbucks a little over a month ago, I was thirsty, and I thought I'd search the menu one more time. Specifically, I hoped I could get a sweet tea. To my delight, I noticed that they had shaken iced teas. But there was only green tea, red tea, orange tea, and black tea. The sweet tea that I normally drink is golden brown-colored, so I asked the guy behind the counter, "Do you guys have regular sweet tea?" He told me that that was black tea, and I nearly jumped for joy. "I want one," I declared. "Large!" Amused, he replied, "That would be 'Venti.'" It was $2.24, and I handed the man a twenty-dollar bill. "$17.76 is your change, sir." Ridiculously expensive, but with that total, at least I feel strangely patriotic. And then, it was so good that while we were there for a couple hours, I indulged with two refills.

Starbucks Logo
I love me some Tea
So, since that day, my new drug is the Starbucks Venti Tazo® Black Shaken Iced Tea Sweetened. It is SO good! It may be the best sweet tea ever. Whenever an errand takes me to that part of town, I drop by & order TWO! I do that because I usually suck down the first one because I enjoy it so much. And the second tea is the one that I savor. And then I spend the next few hours going to the bathroom, but its WORTH IT! I think that there are three key elements that make this tea great. First, it is fresh tea. I can make fresh tea at home, and its almost as good, but it takes half an hour. Second, the sweetener. I don't know what it is... I don't want to know what it is... it is euphoric... its probably a narcotic. Third, the most elemental ingredient, water. The water is soft, not hard, and it hits the pallet just right.

O Starbucks, just like the logo on the side of your cups, you are a seductress.


Lloyd said...

I'm going to take you up on this challenge, cunningham. I consider myself a sweet tea connoisseur as well. like you, i rarely go to starbucks because i hate coffee in general. I will go next time I'm in the mall... and report the results!!

III said...

You won't be disappointed.

In fact, if you are disappointed, I'd give it a second try. I have had a couple cups of tea from Starbucks that I would classify as "just average." But about 80% of the time I'll receive a cup where every sip is blissful.

Mark said...

All sweet tea is definitely not created equal. In Searcy, Dixie Cafe's was always pretty sweet. One time I got the tea from the bottom of the container where all the sugar had settled, and it was pretty overwhelming. I just couldn't drink it.

Glad you found something at Starbucks you like. I've not had too much trouble sinking too much money there. :-)

III said...

Yeah, the sweet tea tab adds up.

One of the things I've always said about alcohol, or coffee, is that I'm glad I don't have those vices to sink money into. Well, I think I found one in Starbucks sweet tea.

Lloyd said...

Okay, so last week I had the occasion to stop in to starbucks and purchase a "black" sweet tea. It was quite tasty, and I thank you for the recommendation! I hate coffee, and now I have something to purchase besides my usual hot chocolate when I'm with my coffee-addicted friends.