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I don’t think I’m a coffee snob, I would consider myself more of a coffee explorer/beginner. I never drank coffee until about three years ago. As a matter of fact, I swore that I didn’t like coffee. I didn’t like hot drinks, e.g., hot chocolate, hot tea, coffee, warm milk – yuck. Until …. Starbucks!! I was in Florida visiting my parents for my Dad’s 100th birthday celebration (story for another post) and my son, Andrew, and I went to Starbucks for a drive-thru order. I always get either a Trenta Shaken Black Iced Tea with no syrup and no water or a Trenta Shaken Green Iced Tea with no syrup and no water. I placed my usual order and Andrew ordered a Carmel Macchiato Frappuccino. I know what you’re thinking – that’s a frozen drink and it’s delicious. Who wouldn’t love that? Well, I did love it, but I ordered it a few weeks later and didn’t order right and received the Carmel Macchiato.  What?? A hot drink – well, I paid about $5 for it so I will drink it. It was delicious and it has been a Starbucks exploration love affair ever since.

I will admit, however, to small depression when they took away the toffee latte in the Fall and cherry mocha latte at Valentine’s Day. It nearly broke my heart on Valentine’s Day.

The next turn of events happened when my husband and I bought a Ninja Coffeemaker. It brews specialty drinks hot or cold and has a built-in frother.  This changed everything. I started experimenting with different coffees, flavor syrups, creamers to froth into foam and iced coffee.  Below is a list of my favorite combinations.

  • 3 scoops Dark Roast coffee/1 scoop Expresso with Coffee Mate Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream froth and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top
  • 3 scoops Dark Roast coffee/1 scoop Expresso with Sugar Free Salted Caramel Syrup and Coffee Mate Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream froth and a sprinkle of ground Sea Salt on top
  • 3 scoops Dark Roast coffee/1 scoop Expresso with a scoop of Chocolate Coconut Collagen powder and Coffee Mate Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream froth
  • 3 scoops Maple flavor coffee with Coffee Mate Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream froth
  • Iced Coffee with Coffee Mate Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream froth and plenty of ice
  • Hint: it helps if you warm up the cream for about 20 seconds before frothing into a foam.
  • Coffee Mate Sugar Free Peppermint Mocha during winter is also delicious
  • And…why don’t they make more Sugar Free flavors??? It’s annoying to pass up Red Velvet and Pumpkin Spice


I try to watch calories, so I am cautious when ordering at Starbucks, but here are some of my favorites.

Grande Cold Brew with Salted Honey Cold Foam and two pumps Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce

Grande Cole Brew with Salted Cream Cold Foam and two pumps of Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce, no caramel syrup

Grande Cappuccino Almond Milk with two pumps of Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce or Sugar Free Vanilla

And, of course, the Black or Green Tea shaken with no syrup and no water

By the way, I cannot wait to go to the Chicago Starbucks Roastery on Michigan Avenue the next time I am in Chicago. I had plans to go there and meet friends in April and then the Corona Virus hit, and my plans got cancelled. Disappointment is not a big enough word to express my sadness.  But I will get there, don’t you worry. You can see I’m still not a coffee snob and I’m just exploring the options. I have yet to venture into pour over coffees or plain straight coffee. But I am enjoying the pleasures of my experiments into coffee-tasting and feeling so adultlike.

Here are the links to some of the syrups, coffee, collagen powder

Chocolate Coconut Collagen Powder. *You can also find it at Sprouts

Sugar Free Syrup on Amazon

Maple Nut Coffee whole bean

Beans Coffee Sample Pack

Experiment, Enjoy and relish in your caffeine zing as you start your day. In the meantime, go out and spread some zing! 


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