Milking Starbucks for all they’ve got

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So, I used my coupon today that I received for sending in a complaint to Starbucks (see here for my story). And, of course, with a coupon for ANY free drink, I decided to exploit it and go for an expensive drink. I had to balance out calories, but I did get something quite bad for me anyway. Not like I do it often.

Here is what I had:

Venti quattro Caramel Macchiato

What is this? The tallest Starbucks beverage. 4 shots of espresso. Vanilla syrup. Caramel topping.

The cost: $5.99CAD - FREE!!

I am feeling pretty good right now. Oh yes.

Just goes to show you that complaining is a good thing. a)I got something free for a valid complaint, and b)The manager of this Starbucks got a note re: priming the mugs and throwing out old coffee!

So, complaints are not just something you blog about. Companies that prize themselves on service above all (after all, Starbucks is Starbucks for its atmosphere not its coffee) will take you seriously if you talk to them. And make you happy-ish by giving you something.

Coffee Review: Starbucks

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Arieanna gives it ** (2/4 stars)

Coffee 50%
Atmosphere 55%
Service 45%

I know it’s not needed, but it was fun to write. Despite my low review, I do tend to visit Starbucks about once a week. Around my office we have 3 choices: Starbucks, Artigiano, and Moonpennies - which serves JJ Bean. I have never been lucky enough to have a good cup of coffee at Artigiano (although I hear they can happen), so I’ve always gone to Starbucks. The handiness of the card is my biggest turn on. I love being able to just put some cash onto the card and then walk there without my purse. So handy. I only today found out about JJ Bean being at Moonpennies, so may try there every once and a while, but I still depend on Starbucks for anything more fancy than a drip coffee. Unfortunately.

Now, a little story. A couple of weeks back I had the world’s worse cup of coffee at Starbucks. So bad. Worse than Tim Horton’s bad. I drank it, yes (hey, I need all the caffeine I can get with the meds I am on!), but oh my goodness. So bad. And I got fed up with them not priming my fancy mug. So I complained online. And today in the mail arrives 2 vouchers for ANY starbucks beverage. Well, we all know I will not be trying Chantico again (see here), but I am going to concoct for myself the most expensive beverage I can think of. Grande, double shot, long, soy, peppermint, Caramel Macchiato. Or something equally as complicated. Oh yes.

So my summary, mediocre coffee. But not so bad service.
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Coffee Review: Elysian Room

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Elysian Room
Arieanna gives it **** (4/4 stars)
Ianiv gives it **** (4/4 stars)

Coffee 95%
Atmosphere 89%
Service 95%

The Elysian Room is a small little spot near Fifth Avenue Cinema. Most people probably give it a try for just this reason. But it is well worth the effort to drive out there and find parking just to have the coffee. The place may be rather small and unassuming, but the coffee is fabulous. Ianiv has been a few times, but I have been only once. We made the trip there to have some cappucinos and a very decadent chocolate cookie. It was a very soothing place. I did not like so much that the barista had her friends around, but she did know her coffee.

I am told that the owner of Elysian room is a very awesome person to get to know. Really into making sure you get an excellent shot and has a wealth of knowledge to share on beans, machines, and even coffee grinders. I look forward to meeting him in the future.
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DIY PVC Espresso Machine

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Jason Striegel, editor of Hack A Day came up with this low-tech version of an espresso machine using PVC pipe and a caulk gun. In theory, if the water is the right temperature and you manage to create the right pressure with the plunger, you get an espresso.
From the pictures, the result is not pretty and probably doesn’t come anywhere near a real shot of espresso, I can’t see any crema in there. You are probably better off getting a cheap stove-top mocha maker, but Jason gets and A for effort.

What other people think of Chantico

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Ok, just for everybody who has been looking into our post on Chantico, I have decided to do some more digging to get a consens on what people think about Chantico and some other interesting Chantico facts.

Here is a synopsis of my searches on Google and Feedster for Chantico and Chantico Reviews:

quaker_pride on LiveJournal liked it
teardrops05 on LiveJournal didn’t like it “it like melted chocolate bars…but worse”
iaian on LiveJournal liked it “Even though I love my chocolate, this stuff is way beyond my tolerance levels. I could not drink anymore than 1 of these in a month, maybe once every 4 months, but not once a month.”
Laura over at Limon was disappointed: “Like most things at Starbucks, the theory is good and the execution is least common denominator…Its a single-note chocolate, a boring flat chocolate, an ordinary mediocre chocolate. It makes the Chantico all sweet and all rich and no depth.”
Alex at LiveJournal thought it didn’t quite meet comparable products
shomershabbos at LiveJournal thought it tasted like motor oil. Funny post. “I had flashes to the Pepto Bismol advertisements that show the medicine coating your esophagus and stomach lining”
kkryguy liked it
The reviews on Starbucks Gossip are mixed - there are hundreds of comments from reviewers, customers, and baristas themselves.
Aldoblog had good input on how to change the recipe - “I’d love a darker, less sweet, more bitter, intense chocolate flavor”
Jason of Jason’s Notes thinks its a good thing
This one is funny - Madame Butterfly posts it as the “new Laxative” has a few reviews - and as a side note to what they say, chili and chocolate do go well together.
There is even a Hot Chocolate blog commenting not so positively on Chantico

So, what’s the synopsis. Well, if you like really dark rich chocolate, you will probably like it. But, if you know the difference between good chocolate and bad chocolate, you probably won’t. My opinion, whether as a drink or a dessert, it sucks. It’s not like a chocolate bar (in my opinion) even if it is a dark version of hot chocolate - mine was not even that thick. Perhaps, as one person over at CoffeeGeek observed, I am on of those “chocolate purists making fun of Hershey’s like we make fun of instant coffee.”

My opinion, just buy some of your own high quality chocolate and make yourself something even better. It’s easy. Really. Here is how (vanilla bean optional).

Anyway, click through to more for tons more about Starbucks Chantico.
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