Get Behind Me, Starbucks

Here’s why I make no sense, even to myself sometimes — I will drive past a whole street of gas stations, searching for that one that’s still charging $3.99 a gallon. But I think nothing of shelling out 5 bucks for my beloved Starbucks Green Tea Frappucino. How could a frosty beverage be so deliciously evil? Cool Matcha Japanese green tea blended with melon syrup, milk and ice. Mmmm. Would I like whipped cream? Yes, of course.

On a summer day, few drinks are more soothing. I’m not a coffee drinker, so tea’s my vice. And this minty green dessert masquerading as a healthy beverage is the kind of refreshment I crave more and more as summer blazes hotter.

Here’s the rub. Like everything else at Starbucks, this drink is expensive and laden with calories. Oh, did you think this green tea beverage offers the traditional health benefits of green tea? Only a little bit. The rest is drowned out with whipped cream and syrup, resulting in a concoction that’s laden with 510 calories in a grande size. FYI, 510 calories also makes up a Burger king Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich, or a Mickey D’s quarter pounder with cheese. That’s more calories than a Wendy’s Frosty. And they just opened up a fancy new Starbucks within walking distance of my office. Lord give me strength.

Some of Starbucks’ drinks really deserve to be on the list of America’s Unhealthiest Drinks alongside Vitamin Water, Jamba Juice, and those monster Arizona juice cans they sell for 99 cents.

In the vein of my DIY fast food resolution, in addition to making my own fast food, Jamba Juice and Vitamin Water, I decided that I’m gonna make my own Starbucks, too. Having read this simple and delicious recipe for matcha latte on Nyam, one of the loveliest food blogs I’ve ever had the pleasure to browse, I am inspired. Honey, vanilla soy milk, and that’s all it takes? I won’t be visiting Starbucks anytime soon!

Now off to Whole Foods to buy me some matcha powder (and here’s hoping that someday soon we get a Trader Joe’s in Miami). I might even splurge on some Torani sugar free syrup to up my Starbucks-at-home experience (not bad at $6.50 a bottle).

If you’re a venti latte addict looking to break your Starbucks complusion, check out the recipe swaps on Hungry Girl, and click here to learn more about what your favorite drink serves up in calories. Be informed! Shoot, if I’m gonna consume over 500 calories, at least let it be something that will fill me up and offer real nutritional value.

Do you have any healthy and affordable recipe swap ideas? I’m always looking to try something new!

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Comments

  1. Patrick Jnr. says:

    Lil Bella! Let me know when you find a substitute for Sour-sop drink! They occasionally have it in work, I don’t know if I told you before, we get free catered lunch everyday here. I practice portioning, but I get weak when I see that sour-sop! I won’t be surprised if it contains more calories than my actual meal!

    Take care….

  2. I usually am a healthy eater but i must must have my Tall Soy Chai 180 degrees extra hot, no water latte. It’s loaded with crap but taste sooooooo amazing.

  3. 510 calories?! wow.

    I used to love Jamba juice untiled I look at how many calories were in the drinks. I cut back to the smallest size and would one once in a while. The rest of the time I would make my own smoothies just using fruit, juice, ice and no sugar.

    I agree with you that DIY is def. the way to go. You save money and calories.

  4. Bebroma says:

    Yeah, I had to give up the luxury of Starbucks a LOOOONG time ago. One drink costs more than a pound of protein that can feed my family for 2-3 days? Something had to give. Anyway, I have found that you can google just about anything! For example, the sour sop drink mentioned by, I think, your brother. I googled it and got almost 20,000 site thingies, some are jamaicans.com, caribzones.com, guyanaonline.com, etc., etc., etc. Just type in “recipe for (fill in blank)” and there you go. I have long had an espresso/steamer machine. It’s the cheapie kind, but it does the job. I might invest in a more deluxe version later, we’ll see.

  5. Hey Bebroma, yup — that’s my big brother Patrick. (of my family members who comment, you’re most likely to see messages from him, my sister Petal who writes as “Pets,” and my dad. Who writes as “Dad,” LOL).

    Soursop is a distinctively flavored tropical fruit that’s also known as guanabana, and the white flesh of the fruit is creamy and sweet and a little tart… there really isn’t a fruit I can compare it to. But Patrick, you could make your own soursop drink! Just get a blender, and the fruit (I am sure they’re at Jenny’s Vegetable Mart if not at HiLo), seed it, slice it, and blend it with milk and Splenda instead of sugar to cut down on the calories! And soursop has a lot of health benefits, so once you reduce the sugar consumption this is a good occasional treat.

  6. BluTopaz says:

    If someone finds a low calorie substitute for Godiva’s (yep, the chocolate people) Milk Chocolate Caramel Decadence please let me know-lol

  7. Girl I feel you Honey !!!!! My Weakness if the White Chocolate Mocha with X-Tra White Chocolate!!! And Whipped Cream ?? YES YES YES. Now However when the dollar must be streached I do Go straight to me tea stash Green Tea is my Fav Japaneses Green Tea and Tension Tamer by Celectial Seasonings.

    Receip:

    3 Tea Bag Brew (any kind, I like lemon Zinger by Celstial Seasonings)

    Boil, Brew Let Sit for 20 mins (or till cool)

    Frozen Juice Concentrate (I Like Rasberry or Peach by Minute Maid)

    Defrost, and while still cold pour into brewed tea.

    ** You don’t have to add honey or sugar, the concentrate add the sweetness with out the guilt or SUGAR**

    ~ ENJOY~

  8. Oh girl, precious memories. That Green Tee Frap is no JOKE! You just let me know I have to experiment more because my only nutritious recipe, banana and blueberry smoothie (with vanilla protein powder). Yum:)

  9. Water. Water. Water.

    I don’t practice what I preach; but water is the only beverage you can drink and know for sure that you’re doing your body and your wallet good. I hate, hate, hate drinking water when I’m eating a meal..I love the sweet behind the salt…but when I hit the water stride my skin looks amazing, my digestive system is regular, and my body just knows I’m treating it well.

    Herbal tea; no sugar is second best.

  10. notjustfoxybrown says:

    For the eight years I lived in Miami, I kept hearing rumblings of a Trader Joe’s coming to town. I thought, “Well, another grocery store. What’s the big deal?”
    Now that I’m in Phoenix with plenty of Traders around, I understand that this place is the truth. Makes even a cooking-challenged sista like me look like a genious in the kitchen. The half-way prepared foods that you can stick in the oven and present to your guests like you slaved away for hours yourelf are perfect. And let me not start on those little green tea ice cream “bars”! You’ll be kicking Starbucks to the curb in no time (for about $3.99 for six bite-sized, diet-friendly bars.)

  11. I don’t drink jamba and have pretty much given up on Starbucs except on the weekend. I’m just a straight latte girl, no bells, whistles or extra calories. Those Fraps are murder. I LOVE Trader Joe’s! I don’t like grpcery shopping, but I LOVE Trader Joe’s. Great prices, good selection and quality.

  12. Starchild says:

    I like your title’s take on The White Stripes, Bella. :-)

    Starbucks is my vice of 10+ years…I would very well do a back flip if I was ever able to cut myself off from it.

    For anyone who likes iced coffee, here is a good substitute:

    Mix a few tablespoons of instant coffee, a dash of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, and some sugar with boiling water. If you have a 12 ounce cup, use about 3-4 ounces of water. A 16 ounce cup, about 4-5 ounces of water. You get the idea…you can use more or less water (or all of the other ingredients) depending on personal taste.

    Fill the rest of the cup with cold milk, add some ice and enjoy!

  13. It soo easy to get swept away with the flavored beverages! Right now, Im kind of stuck on an “organic” orange cream soda and the mocha frappe at Starbucks. Now, the “organic” soda doesnt use high fructrose corn syrup, it uses cane sugar instead, which might make one feel a wee bit better, but its still a crapload of added sugar!

    Ive always drunk copious amounts of water, but Im starting to wonder if Im drinking enough in this heat wave DC is having (my ac is out, so Im sweating like a dog when Im at home). So today I added Gatorade’s G2. So far, I feel pretty decent, but its important to keep the fluid level high!

    L

  14. I suspect the reason why we go for Starbucks, eat out, etc… is because of the convenience. Sometimes the high prices are worth the knock out all out drag of driving/walking to the market, finding the right ingredients, standing on line, bringing it home, making sure you’re at home to enjoy the fresh ingredients (before they rot), and then prepare your fresh viddles to suit your own taste.

    Too darn laborious. And the killer part is that you have to be consistent with it to make an overall impact on your health and your budget.

    Bella, not that I expect you to have the answer….

    But how can you create the time to do the things that are so important for your well being on a consistant basis? Like eating healthy without being chained to your refrigerator…

    Like giving yourself a good workout…everyday
    Like taking sweet care of your natural hair…
    Like spending quality time with your boo
    Like sleeping at least seven hours..

    I’m having the darndest time balancing paying bills and living the life that I feel I’m meant to live…

  15. Girl, theres a Starbucks less than a block from my house…its not safe….Heres how I get my sweet smoothie fix AND get in mega vitamins and fiber on a regular basis…no syrup in here. (but damn if I dont love the chai tea frap and the green tea frap…whipped cream YES!)

    I drink a homeade smoothie at least 5 times a week but heres the catch, I put fresh, raw baby spinach in mine….you would never know it was in there except for the color, I swear. I do all sorts of concoctions but heres a favorite– this one doesn’t have any bananas since you said you HATE them :)
    Please use all fresh ingredients, I know they are getting expensive but try to buy local at a farmers market or something if you can…
    naturalmel smoothie #121
    2 handfuls baby spinach
    1 large or 2 small peaches
    1 cup blueberries
    3/4 cup pineapple
    1 granny smith apple
    1/2 of a water bottle (.5L size)
    3 to 4 ice cubes
    Blend until it looks nice and smooth,
    Enjoy!
    Im going to try to come up with something using green tea this evening!

  16. I am a Starcrack addict. Yes, I admit it. Starcrack (my nickname for Starbucks…hahahahaha) is nooo joke. Last year when I committed to losing weight (lost 30 lbs), I didn’t want to give up my addiction. In comes the Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte (Now called a Skinny CDL – sugar free syrup and skim milk, cinnammon sprinkled on top, no whip). Its only 160 calories for a venti! Whoo hooo! And if I want a little bit of a frosted treat I get a Cinnammon Dolce Latte Light Blended Coffee Frap for 210 calories (yes, that’s a Venti).

    Calorie problem solved. Now onto the cost. Anyone want to give an addict a Starcrack gift card??? LMAO

  17. Since living in Korea, where they sip on green tea and other herbal remedies like water, I’d have to say that chilled green tea is SOOOO good and good for you.
    I had lunch at an Italian restaurant just a week or two ago and the lady brought what I thought was a simple glass of water to our table. I tasted it and thought they added some rosemary to the water. It was delicious, very subtle. They really boiled bay leaves for a short period of time. Bay leaves! She even gave me a bag of bay leaves for me to try at home.
    Along with rosemary, bay leaves or cucumbers, you could also add pineapple to water, it really gives it great flavor.
    Water is the only thing that I can drink in this Virginia heat and another thing that I was told by my acupuncturist as well as every other Korean that I know is that when drinking water, it should be room temperature and never cold as it’s not good for the body especially in women. Tip taken as they look great and live long and healthy lives.

    The Beautiful One
    http://www.nearandfar.wordpress.com

  18. Mochasiren says:

    Green Tea, Melon syrup and milk?…Ewww. Bella…I’ll have to take your word for it ’cause it sounds gross, LOL! Give me a old fashioned Coke Slurpee when the weather hits the 100s like we’ve had in the DC area this week! :-)

  19. Good old fashioned ice cones w/ syrup. Direct, to the point and costs a $1.00

  20. I’m addicted at least 2x weekly to my specialty: Grande Vanilla-Caramel Soy Cappuchino…I used to order it at my old local coffee shop, but they closed down forcing me to rely on starbucks.

    …but a new coffee shop opened up in my town (where we have not been tainted by the effects of a starbucks), and they have my drink on the menu…which tastes so much more delectable than starbucks. However, their Tazo tea is awesome!!

  21. Hmm, I’m a guy. For me, the biggest problem the empty calories of alchohol. On some days, I consume more than 1,000 of those empty calories. So, I just try to drink water all throughout the week. In fact, I don’t drink anything aside from water and alcohol.

  22. Sabrina97 says:

    Hey! I thought I was the only one who nicknamed Starbucks…. I call it FiveBucks, for obvious reasons. I love the place, and I’m not even fooled by the markup that they charge. I once got a Caramel Apple Cider, and I saw them steaming Great Value brand apple juice! That’s the juice from Wal-Mart! I looked like WTF?!? You can get that stuff for $2 a gallon and I’m paying $4.50 for 16 oz? Therefore, I only go occasionally… It’s sad that convenience costs so much…

  23. Wow, thanks for the the sweet mention afrobella :)

  24. NicoleinKorea says:

    Bella I was just about to fret that you were pushing fraps! Sugar mixed with crap mixed with more sugar and crap! I WONDER exactly how they can call it “green tea”. Mind you I’ve never had one nor more than a handful of Starbucks drinks in my life, but I have a general distrust of most things chain, fast, super popular/gimmicky.

    I live in South Korea too, (Hey, Hey The Beautiful One!) and this is the land of green tea. I drink at least 3 cups every day, no sweeteners added of course. I drank it for years back in the states too but here, well, it’s so local (I’m a stones throw away from fields) and there are so many varieties and it truly works wonders in the body.

    I’d encourage anyone to go that route, and forget about bottled teas and pre-made frappy, slurpy, slushy drinks. Spend a little bit on some loose or bagged teas, drink it straight, at home and throughout your day at work. It’s even great for the skin as a topical.

    And NaturalMe my other daily fix is a green smoothie too! Ooh I wish we could all just have a big ole’ natural girl talk/chat party!

  25. LBellatrix says:

    LOL @ “Starcrack” and “Fivebucks”…I have been a more-or-less regular consumer of “iced double-tall soy upside-down no-whip caramel macchiatos” every summer for at least the last five years. Soy milk alone cuts down on calories, and every once in a while I’d try the sugar-free caramel and vanilla syrups but they didn’t taste that good.

    I just got back from visiting my soon-to-be new home, the SF Bay area. Whenever I’ve attempted to order a half-caf coffee (half caf, half decaf), the salespeople would offer me a decaf Americano but I’d decline. How come I had to get to SF before I made the connection between Starbucks’ Americano and what they call “cafe Americano” in Spain? Needless to say, I’m off the macchiato and back on plain coffee (Americano).

    Sorry I don’t have any tea suggestions, but for those who are addicted to Starbucks coffee drinks, a combination espresso/coffee machine might not be a bad investment.

  26. Thank you Bella for the link to Nyam. I just invested a lot of money on the Kitchenaid red countertop series. And although my kitchen looks fabulous with red countertop appliances, I need to put this stuff to use. I have already found a couple of recipes that I plan to try this weekend. I love this blog!!!

  27. Great post, it is a wonder that peoople have not been doing this a lot already.

    My Question, is did it taste better than if you were in the shop? I have written a post about Coffee shops and why they charge so much.

  28. Sumatra77 says:

    Bella, you are a bad influence. My boss was going to Starbucks today and I asked him to bring me back one of these green tea thingys which I’d never tried! Sans the lactose intolerance after effects, it was heavenly. ;-)

  29. SoFrolushes says:

    i had a look at the nyam blog….nice name and the food looks gorgeous

  30. DahliaFox says:

    Thanks for the mention of the matcha latte Bella! I looked it up and got the run down on matcha powder, tea leaves that are grounded with stone. I will make my way to whole foods for a bag, or canister. It sounds like an amazing tea, that’ll do wonders. I’ve always enjoyed green tea. I already feel like this will be like no other green tea I’ve had in the past! NicoleinKorea you’ve got me excited!

  31. Glow Forever says:

    Hi Bellas, I was emailed this recipe (see below) from Dr. Weil’s health newsletter and it looked like such a healthy refreshing beverage for the summer. Let’s try to stay away from those high calorie, and expensive beverages. BTW Love your blog!

    Honey Ginger Lemonade

    Description

    Capture the essence of the summer sun and the natural goodness it brings in this invigorating beverage. I like to combine fresh honey my neighbor gives me with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a twist of ginger to add a unique kick to this old-time favorite summer refresher.

    Ingredients

    1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 cup honey
    1/4 cup peeled fresh ginger slices
    7 sprigs fresh mint
    2 cups purified water
    4 cups ice cubes

    Instructions

    1. Put the juice, honey, ginger, and 1 chopped sprig of the mint in a large pitcher and stir, pressing the mint and ginger to release flavor.

    2. Add the water and stir until the honey dissolves, then add the ice.

    3. Pour into six 10-ounce glasses and garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and a fancy straw.

  32. Hi Bella,

    I love your blog (been lurking for a while).

    Well, THANKS, because I just had to try one of these heart-attacks on ice. ;o) My fave is usually the Mint Mocha Chip frappuccino, but I think I’ve become addicted to the green tea one now. It’s so gooooood! I’ve already had two this week and must stop this before it goes any further. I even got it without whipped cream the second time to make it “more healthy.” Ha!

    You know what else is good, since I see people are offering suggestions? A Thai iced tea. They’re really good, without a whole lot of the extra stuff (well, except sugar–but I use raw, organic sugar when I make mine).

    Lastly, I’ve been a fan of Republic of Tea for years, and their Blueberry green and black teas are good, as well as the Honey Ginseng green tea, and the Ginger Peach green tea.

    So, I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you for introducing me to the GTFs…but they sure are good! ;-)

    Best.

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