What the Heck is Starbuck's 'Cold Foam'?

What the Heck is Starbuck's 'Cold Foam'?

A Frappuccino Fan Investigates

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If you haven't been living under a rock for the past few days, you know that Starbucks just introduced two new summer drinks: the Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte, and the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew. While both sound delicious--and have received rave reviews from fans--what really caught my eye was the "Cold Foam" identifier. I was abroad in South America when this new additional option was added to the Starbucks menu, and now feel like I'm missing out: what exactly is this foam, and why are people obsessed with it?

Similar to usual coffee foam, which is concocted out of steamed milk and is a staple in drinks you can get at any coffee cart, the cold foam at Starbucks is nonfat milk that is blended until it reaches a whipped, fluffy consistency, sort of like making a meringue or whipped cream, only for coffee. That foam is then poured on top of whatever drink you fancy, and while the cold foam was originally introduced with three specific drinks (the Cold Foam Cascara Cold Brew, the Cold Foam Cascara Nitro Cold Brew, and the Cold Foam Starbucks Blonde Iced Cappuccino), you can order the foam with any drink you want!

I wanted to be fully acquainted with the cold foam before writing this article, so I took a trip to Starbucks and ordered the newest member of the Starbucks drink family, the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew. The drink itself is sweet and delicious (go try it!) but it was the foam that really blew me away. It was like whipping cream, only more fun and drinkable through, not a straw, but a fancy lid. And, dear reader, I loved it. Consider me a cold foam fan from now on!

Cover Image Credit:

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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My Journey As A Vegan

I would say a vegan joke, but it's not cheesy enough.

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It has been almost a decade since I first transitioned into a vegan, beginning my journey when I was only ten years old. After three years of being a vegetarian, I decided to take the leap and completely remove animal products from my life. This was a decision that, fortunately, my family supported and eventually even joined me in, which is not the case for many people who pursue a vegan lifestyle. Although it is one of the best decisions I have made, it has not always been easy.

When I first became a vegan, one of my main goals was the same for most people: to lose weight. Although I was around 10 years old at the time, I was quite aware that I was chubby for my age. I dealt with insecurities regarding my weight for my entire life, so I hoped a new diet could help fix the issue.

Of course, I did not get the results I was looking for right away. My extended tummy did not transform overnight into a six-pack (I'm still waiting for that transition to occur, unfortunately).

A vegan diet does not mean simply eliminating all animal products but instead replacing the nutrients you once received from dairy and eggs. In other words, my diet of potato chips and coconut milk based ice cream was not going to work.

Eventually, after doing my research, I slowly found my body changing. Not only was I able to lose some baby fat, but I began physically feeling better. The heavy weight of a cheese pizza no longer nauseated me at night, the acne on my back cleared up, and I noticed my energy levels staying elevated throughout the day. Even though my journey began at a young age, these benefits still apply today (although I may need that extra latte now and then).

As I grew older and continued this diet, I began to realize that becoming vegan is not just a dietary change, but a lifestyle change. It affected every aspect of my existence, including my social life.

As a child, none of my fellow peers really knew what the term "vegan" meant. All they knew was that I didn't eat ice cream cake at birthday parties and my lunch bag didn't include Cosmic Brownies like everyone else.

By the time I entered high school, being a vegan had finally become trendy. It was the new fad, and for a month or two, I had someone to go on a lunch date with when my friends experimented with the diet. As someone from a suburban town, though, becoming vegan was not as popular as I hoped it would be. Most people immediately assumed I was a "radical vegan," screaming at the sight of a hot dog and shaming everyone who even looked at a grilled cheese sandwich. People around me were actually more accepting of my diet when I was in elementary school than when I was a junior in high school. Once I mentioned to a new friend that I was a vegan (which I started to refrain from bringing up until it was absolutely necessary), I was viewed as cruel and judgmental.

On top of this, it became harder and harder to go out with my friends to eat. As a kid, my Mom could make me and my friend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we would both be satisfied, but the local fast food places that teenagers love to go to aren't quite as accommodating and often don't have many options. Unless I was looking to order a Caesar salad without dressing every Friday night, there wasn't much out there for me.

This put me at a social disadvantage because the act of rejoicing in a savory meal is one of the main sources of human connection. People bond over food, and if I wasn't eating (or wasn't enjoying what I was eating), I didn't really feel like I was part of the group.

It was around this period in my life where my supportive family came to save the day.

At this point, both of my parents and one of my older sisters were now vegans, along with my fellow vegetarian sister. Together, we found a few vegan restaurants that the small state of Connecticut has to offer and discovered some gems in the surrounding New England area. From non-dairy soft-serve ice cream to 100% plant-based restaurants that even my carnivorous brother could enjoy, everywhere we went had something for all of us. These types of places prove that tofu isn't as bland as everyone thinks.

This brings us to the present, where I will soon be celebrating my 10-year friendaversary with my fellow plants. I hope as time progresses, less and less people exclaim with disgust when they see the tempeh sandwich I packed for lunch, while more and more people at least consider experimenting with different cruelty-free options. Perhaps the change does not have to strictly concern one's diet, but even the make-up and hair products we use in our everyday lives. Once in a while, maybe you can even consider just glancing at those meatless patties in the frozen section of the grocery store.

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