Starbucks holiday drinks don’t have to be fat and sugar laden

Arlene Ocana, Staff Writer

Peter Ha

The holiday season is here and with it comes seasonal favorites. For coffee lovers the holidays are special for one important reason: the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

All companies work hard around the holidays to bring in shoppers during the holiday season. Starbucks has almost a cult following when it come to special coffee drinks.

Pumpkin Spice Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte and Caramel Brulee Latte are Starbucks’ specialties during the holiday season. These “sure-to-love” drinks are quite a hit with Starbucks’ buyers.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the latte and the company said it has sold over 200 million so far. Setting an average of $4 per the medium size, starbucks has made at least $80 million this fall.

“I like them because they remind me of the holidays and taste amazing!” senior Madison Miller said.

Although these Starbucks drinks are often high in calories, there are ways to reduce the calorie intake. For example, taking out the whipped cream decreases the number of calories and amount of sugar in a drink. Taking both out of a grande Caramel Brulee Latte can decrease the drink from 440 calories to 360 calories according to the nutritional facts on the Starbucks website.

“I usually just ask for the drinks they have on display” senior Yasmeen Lazkani said. “It’s easier that way to not make my order complicated.”

People can also reduce the amount of calorie intake by choosing the right kind of milk. A grande Peppermint Mocha goes from 410 calories to 290 calories without whipped cream and a substitute of nonfat milk.

While Starbucks posts how many calories are in each drink by the coffee name on the ordering board, it does not specify the ingredients in the drinks. As a result, many Starbucks consumers do not know what they are consuming and most will not ask themselves what is in a drink.

Daily News released an article on blogger Vani Hari, better known as “Food Babe,” who went into Starbucks herself to find out what the Pumpkin spice latte contains. Starbucks headquarters allowed Hari to go in and look.

“I started to write down the ingredients of the Frappuccino syrup,” Hari said. “I got a sense of, ‘woah, these flavored drinks are full of processed food chemicals — I can’t believe they’re adding all this and charging a premium.’”

The most concerning chemical in the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the caramel color level IV, a possible carcinogen.

With all the artificial flavors, consumers still think they are tasting real pumpkin, although the drink contains no real pumpkin in its ingredients. Regardless of the ingredients, consumers love the flavored drinks.

“It gets me in the mood for the holidays,” senior Sarah Salinas said.