Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Red Cups are Back!

I'm a Starbucks lover.

That's not a terribly surprising statement, especially when considering there are 11,000 Starbucks around the country (and 5,000 elsewhere). With that kind of popularity, there must be a lot of people loving the Seattle-born coffee chain (whether they admit it or not).

What is a little surprising, though, is that for my birthday last month, I topped out at $115 worth of Starbucks gift cards. I think that fact itself says a lot about my Starbucks infatuation.

So, what's to love? Hm. A better question would be where to begin. The coffee is fantastic, of course, but it's not just about the coffee. Starbucks is an experience, from the deep green barista aprons to the seasonal beverages to the iconic two-tailed mermaid. I love the products, too. The mugs, the tumblers, the Barista Bears. Even the logos and typography and packaging - all of it makes me swoon.

I've also got to give credit where credit is due - the staffs of the two Starbucks I frequent the most (the one near me in Somers Point and one up by John in Voorhees) are really top notch. Always a smile, always pleasant. So much so that I gave a jar of homemade candy cane reindeer to my Starbucks team last year for the holidays. (I'm also a little weird like that.)

Anyway, where was I? Ah, the coffee. I'm a skim latte girl myself, but I've ventured to try a variety of beverages at Starbucks - all delicious. My favorite? It's a tie - a true, could-never-decide tie that I don't even bother trying to break - between the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Peppermint Mocha. Both mark favorites of mine - the start of autumn (favorite season) and Christmas (favorite holiday time).

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to get my first red cup on my weekend Starbucks visit Saturday. (See? The experience - those cups make me so happy every year!) Although, Starbucks won't be in full holiday mode (with the drinks and the decor) until November 16, the red cups make me realize that Christmastime is just around the bend in all its jingling glory.

The main reason I'm a skim latte fan is that I drink far too many lattes to partake regularly in the more fattening varieties. However, next week is going to be a (huge) exception. I'm anxiously awaiting my Peppermint Mocha. I'm even considering driving up to John's neck of the woods after work and dragging him along with me. (He'd come. He loves Peppermint Mochas almost as much as I do.)

After all, it isn't just about the drink. It's about the experience - that first perfect drink of my favorite holiday season.

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