An Open Letter To A Coffee-Loving World From A Tea Fanatic

An Open Letter To A Coffee-Loving World From A Tea Fanatic

I have some news.


Throughout high school (and I guess the real world), coffee has infiltrated everyone's life at some point.

I have friends who cannot make it through the morning without a cup, and friends who cannot make it through the whole day without several of the caffeine-laced liquid. I hopped on the coffee-train around sophomore year because I honestly just wanted to bring my cute to-go mug to class because it would be cool to drink coffee as everyone else did.

What I didn't expect was to gain weight, have to go to the bathroom all day and stain my teeth. And even with all of that, it turns out that I was the kind of person that caffeine had no effect upon!

But no one wants to be exhausted going to class, especially in high school, when the first bell rang at 7:20 a.m.

My solution was to keep chugging along with the coffee because there was no way I was going to give up my habit of bringing that cute mug to class.

But it turns out I didn't have to because I found something else to fill it up in the mornings.

I grew up in a house that constantly had the kettle on the stove. There was an entire cabinet dedicated to tea in the kitchen. But the only one who drank it was my mother or when one of my sisters or myself had a sore throat. The classic Lipton yellow tea boxes were used by my father throughout the summertime for his massive batches of iced tea.

I was always around tea, but it never had the strong tastes or sweet notes that I sought for in a sugary cup of coffee. My mother had been offering me cups for years, but I never developed the same taste as she had. But all it took was a single trip to Teavanna (when it was still in business) for my whole perspective to change.

It took only a tiny holiday sample of an oolong chai tea to completely alter my perspective. Without sugar, or cream, or any flavoring syrup, the flavor was exploding in my mouth, and had even a little spice to it! It was the herbs and spices that accompanied the chai and tea leaves that made it so different.

I became an avid drinker of that spicy tea and bought so much that when Teavanna went of out business I still have a significant amount stocked up for use — even years later. The only problem with bringing it to class every day was that I was still falling asleep within first period, and it wasn't doing the trick of keeping my eyes and mind awake.

But the summer before my senior year, my mom came back from a tea-class with a strange, dense green powder. She called it matcha tea, and it was basically the "most amazing thing ever" and not even just taste-wise.

At first, I was so skeptical, it didn't taste as great the way I was making it and it wasn't something spicy or hearty. I also hated the fact I couldn't drink it with milk and couldn't have it hot. I wasn't finding anything great about it until after I stopped drinking it for a few days after trying it for a week (twice daily).

I was tired, lazy, and could barely stay awake. But I didn't feel like the matcha had made a difference because I was not vibrating with energy when I was drinking the tea. What my mom told me then was that — besides crazy health benefits — it gave an eight-hour energy high without the crash that caffeine from coffee gives (plus, it wasn't a diuretic). I could go on about matcha forever, but it might be another post for another week!

It was a habit to drink my matcha and spicy tea, but I wasn't a "tea drinker" yet. Any person can introduce a tea that you love to you, but it takes another "tea-drinker" to introduce the love of tea to another. The summer after senior year, before I left for college, I spent an incredible amount of time with my family. Summertime wasn't the best time for my hearty chai, and matcha was too expensive to drink all day. I started drinking what my mom drank (jasmine green and white tea) and exploring other types of teas when something caught my eye.

I grew more interested in physical and mental wellbeing (my major going into college was Public Health) and started exploring teas to help with skin, weight-loss, mood, and remedies for colds or allergies. It became my favorite hobby alongside herbalism and fitness and created something fun, tasty, and interesting for my mother, sisters and I to share. Now, we will sit for hours to talk at the breakfast table before the day starts, pouring cup after cup of tea, and having to refill the kettle more than a few times.

At school, eight hours away from that breakfast table with my family, tea has become more than a hobby: it has become a comfort and something to connect me to my family. Like so many college students, I am always calling or texting my family, especially my mom, every day. I know that whenever I pick up the phone and hear my mother's voice, there is always a mug of that jasmine green and white tea in her hands.

Time sometimes doesn't allow me to join her in our "tea talks" but every time I hold the warmth of some herbal tea in my hands, I always think of her, and much of the warmth I feel doesn't only come from the mug.

I write this post with a stuffy nose and a mug of steeping echinacea tea on the shelf beside me to help comfort that. To combine this newly found love of tea with reminiscence and effectiveness, I can give you a pretty good argument as to why you should really give that cup of "flavored hot water" a try.

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.

Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.

6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!

7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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10 Absolute Struggles Every Bartender Has Encountered On The Job

The keg blew again, be right back.


For my bartenders out there, every shift is unique in and of itself. I love bartending and I think it's the best job, especially considering all the amazing regular customers I get the pleasure to talk to. There are, however, several struggles I run into on a regular shift. I've had a long weekend of work and decided this article is warranted.

Here are only 10 struggles every bartender has encountered during a shift.

1. The poor tippers

You know them, the customers who demand the most but give you the least in return for your impeccable service. Even with a smile on their face the entire time, it's still never enough to receive anything over a 15% tip, if we are lucky.

2. Blowing the keg 

It'll be the busiest of hours at the bar, pouring a beer and boom - keg blows and explodes all over me. Let me go change that, be back in 5 minutes.

3. Cleaning the bar sink

At the end of a long work shift, assorted fruits and straws are stuck in the drain. Guess who gets the pleasure of cleaning it? The bartenders!

4. Random fights in the middle of a rush 

One guy is too drunk, says something rude to another drunk guy and the rest is history. The bartenders have to scrape them out of the bar and return to work.

5. Expecting us to have eight limbs 

I will carry out all the food I'm humanly able to and there's always a customer asking where the rest of the order is. I just got here with the as much of the order I could carry, be right back with the rest!

6. The drinker's check confusion

I enjoy going out to the bars just as any other college student. Sometimes people drink too much and get angry when they believe they drank less than their rather large bill suggests. As the sober bartender, I assure you the bill is a correct statement of the beverages you've consumers.

7. Questioning pours on a tall mixed beverage

Typically, a tall mixed beverage adds more of the soda/juiced used. A tall drink isn't a double shot of the liquor in the beverage unless specified.

8. Accidentally leaving self-created tab names 

Sometimes it's easier to label a tab "bald man" until you forget to change it when he asks for the bill. Always super awkward.

9. Running out of glasses

It makes me so incredibly sad.

10. Breaking a glass in the ice drain

Nothing is worse than this! For the safety of us all, draining the sinks of all ice and thoroughly clean it takes time. This also holds us up while working. I have a tendency to drop glasses so I try extra hard to be conscious and careful.

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