coffee

Starbucks Secret Menu Drink of the Day: Roasted Chestnut.


I came across a fantastic website devoted to the Secret Menu at Starbucks.  I too have an interest in the Secret Menu possibilities at Starbucks and have written about it, here.

A drink that caught my eye is called the Roasted ChestnutRoasted Chestnut Starbucks

Here is the recipe:

  • Start by ordering a Hazelnut Macchiato
  • Add toffee nut syrup (1 pump for a tall drink, 1 1/2 pumps for a grande, and 2 pumps for a venti)
  • Add extra hazelnut syrup (1 pump for a tall, 1 1/2 pumps for a grande, and 2 pumps for a venti)
  • Add white chocolate mocha syrup (1/2 a pump for a tall and for a grande drink or, 1 pump for a venti drink)
  • Top with spiced whipped cream and hazelnut drizzle

Drink.

Some important notes to keep in mind when ordering a drink from the secret menu:

1.  Make sure you know the recipe of the drink you would like to order and not just the name.

2. Depending on what drink you’re ordering and what add-ins there are, be prepared for extra costs.

3.  Paying with a registered Starbucks card or with the Starbucks mobile app will earn you stars towards free rewards.

4.  Savour every sip

5.  Come back and post your thoughts here!

What are your favourite Starbucks drinks?

How my 1 hour reprieve from Parenting was Ruined at Starbucks.


There really is nothing worse than having only a few precious minutes of kid-free time – today’s was to have been spent at Starbucks Canada while the kids were in a program – and it’s ruined by someone taking their time doing something very simple… Like ordering a cup of coffee.

Crazy, eh?

I dropped the kids off at their program, then headed over for a cup of coffee and for a sanity break at the closest Starbucks.  I had 55 minutes now, and I just wanted my drink and to sit down and get to work.  I had my laptop and there was only one guy in line in front of me.  He was already ordering when I settled in behind him in line.  I figured I was a minute or two away from my coffee.  Little did I know it would be almost 15 minutes later before I had my drink…

It was so bad that once he realized he was entitled to a free drink, paused to figure out what to order and after what seemed like 2 minutes, he ordered a venti (huge) triple-quad, half-caf…. something, something, something… That drink order was as long as the wait, and of course, as barista repeated the drink back to him, she made a mistake and he went through his entire order all over again to make sure she understood.

Yawn.

Then once he was finished - 8 minutes later – and he had to pay for his drink, he decided he needed a snack, so he walked over to the window and thought about that, before ordering the food.

Now came time to pay.

Of course, he had not taken out his card to pay!!! He searched high and low for his wallet, but could not find it.  Then he decided he was going to pay through his phone, which he had to retrieve, turn on, open the app, load what ever the %^$^ he needed to load only to find out there was not enough money on his phone to pay.

So back to his backpack he went and this time he produced a debit card.

He paid (no tip) and then turned and smiled to me.

I waited 12 minutes for him to order, and pay, and he smiled and me.

So I smiled back.

Said good morning.

Walked up to the cash, ordered a grande Americano with a pump of mocha and a pump of peppermint and I knew that in a mere minute I would be enjoying a delicious drink.

It’s bad karma to be an asshole, plus it’s a lot of work.

My hour of freedom was now down to 35 minutes.

Sigh.

Have a great day everyone!!!

The Urban Daddy

Thursday Thirteen: The Urban Daddy Answers His Mail. 13 of them.


Something a little new today.

My Thursday Thirteen this week is going to cover the 13 most commonly asked emails that I have received at realurbandaddy@gmail.com.  I do get a LOT of email and if I had the time, I would love to be able to reply to all of it, and it does take me some time to reply, but I have some left over messages all along the same theme, which I am going to answer here.

Sit tight, get your pen and paper ready – or a Dictaphone if  you have one or even know what it is – and let’s get ready to learn how to reply to tough, challenging emails.  Urban Daddy style.

Thursday Thirteen Autumn

13. Why don’t you blog so much anymore?

Great and most common question.  I do blog as much as before, however, now that I have my own business, a lot of my posts are headed there.  The rest of the post for The Urban Daddy are sitting in my drafts folder.  There is something like 113 of them in there.

Another problem is that as my readership increases I feel some responsibility to actually make sense in my posts.  Gone are the days of 10 readers per day and me writing posts at 1am.  Now I write, edit, review, fact-check, edit then save to drafts.

I’m going to write more… I promise.

You can also find some of my thoughts when I’m too lazy to blog them over at my Facebook page; www.facebook.com/TheUrbanDaddy or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/realurbandaddy.  I’m on Tumblr, Google Plus, Pinterest… Everywhere, but those are the main 3.  Please “like” me and add me where possible.  I always add back.

12. Are you affiliated with that big Urban Daddy website in the US?

Nope.  They did ask me, however, to kindly hand over my social media sites which are in the name “Urban Daddy”.  I politely declined since I was blogging as Urban Daddy before they came to be.  So I asked them kindly to hand over ownership of all their social media sites to me.  I never heard back, lol, but soon thereafter all the URLs which were close to mine were scooped up.

Point taken.

I also get a LOT of pitches and product-testing requests but I politely turn them down if they are not something I would not use, or if they are not going to directly benefit you guys – my readership – but I love to get them from local (Canadian) companies because it’s easy for me to toss something onto my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheUrbanDaddy) if you have not gone there, go there now and like me.  Please.

11. Why do blog about coffee?

Ohhh.  I love coffee.  But I’m more than just a medium roast kind of guy.  I like adventure, and something different so I’m big into the flavours.  I actually used to test the new flavours at Java Joe’s near my office – a treat for me – which is where I fell in love with Blueberry coffee.  Blueberry coffee, if you didn’t know is huge on the East coast of Canada and in the US, but for some reason has not hit the mainstream here in TO as of yet.

Blueberry is way better than, for example, Raspberry Chocolate coffee, and light-years better than Irish Cream or boring Vanilla Hazelnut.

So now where can you buy this coffee you ask…

Well since you all cannot come over to my house, you will be thrilled to learn that there is an amazing Canadian company called Java Works Coffee(http://www.javaworkscoffee.ca/) , out of Mississauga, Ontario, and they sell coffee and teas to restaurants, offices and – yay – customers through their factory outlet.  So on Friday I dropped in to this store and was blown away with the selection, the staff and the smell when you first walk into the door.  WOW.

I left with some teas and 1lb bags of the following coffees;

  • Blueberry Bliss
  • French Toast
  • Cinnamon Apple Spice
  • Mint Chocolate Chip

After testing them all I can say that each one is better than the next.

10. Do you really like Wrestling?

Yes.  Like it a lot.  And yes, I know it is fake.  I’ve been watching this male soap opera since I was a boy (which is a really long time ago!)  If you gotta problem with that, come see my and I’ll put you in a headlock, then powerbomb you.  :)

9. The best Daddy blogs usually are written by Stay at Home Dads (SAHD). Why?

Funny.  I’ve always felt that the SAHM (Stay at home Mom) blogs are the best, and clearly the Dads are right up there now because they are there with the kids and doing the things that many of us do on a daily basis.  I have always said that I felt no one wants to read a blog about kids from a parent who works full-time unless they are able to spend enough time with the kids, or capture a moment, which will make good print.  I just wish I had more time to read these great blogs…

8. Would you consider yourself a parent expert? Why or why not?

I would and only because I have 3 children and after changing many diapers, and being there for feedings, changings, programs, school, school events, I can honestly say that I sacrificed my career to spend time with my kids and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

7. Where in the world are you?

I’m everywhere!  LOL.  No really.  I’m in Toronto, Ontario. Canada.  A very large, beautiful city in the best country in the world.

6. How Conservative are your views?

Fiscally conservative – Very.

A lot of my other views tend to learn more towards the centre from the left side.  So I feel people should work for their money, and if they use that money to buy things for themselves, others do not have the right to steal from them, however if people are unable to work – really unable to work, that they should be a social network to allow them to live above the poverty line and be able to contribute to society in whatever ways they can,

5. I see you post a lot about IVF. Is it because you used it?

Actually no.  We were fortunate enough to not need IVF, however from a moral and financial perspective, I feel that governments should fund IVF treatments for those families who want it.  The savings to our tax system would be huge and it’s a really nice thing for governments to do while trying to figure out why infertility is on the rise.

4.  What are some other great blogs you can recommend?

I have actually been meaning to prepare a Friday blog post called the “Friday Follow Five” and use that to go to a favourite blog I follow, then read the first post, and use either the comments on that post or the blogroll on the side to go to another blog, then do the same until I have read and summarized 5 posts and provided details in the post.  In the meantime, please visit the blogs in my blogroll.  They’re amazing.

3.  How long have you been blogging and how long will it take me to get readers?

Well, I’ve been blogging since 2004 and to be honest, make sure you do it for love and not for getting famous because it takes a LOT of TLC to get a blog off the ground.  Essentially, you need to not use my blog as the model, because you need to post frequently, read and comment on other blogs often, build relationships with your readers, and write things others want to read.  Having a pretty blog, and nice title, and the proper length articles is also important…

Good luck!

2.  Your posts are too long.  Some are really off-topic.  Why do you do that?

LOL.  I get this a lot.

They are not off-topic for people who come here randomly looking for specific topics.  I do, however, agree that I am long-winded and I try to fix it, but I just can’t.  I talk this way too.  I have to build up the back-story before I get to the point.

Knowing that I blog under the title “The Urban Daddy” as a Dad in urban-Toronto, would you believe that my most popular post ever has to do with the Secret Menu at Starbucks, followed closely by my evaluation of the Canadian Live-In Caregiver Program.

So as I approach 1000 posts, I can honestly say that I get a LOT of views from the Philippines after Canada and the US.  I would NEVER have expected that back on 2004 when I had 10 views a week.

1.  Why are you still blogging?

I don’t really know.  I think I would feel lost without it and when I look back and see my earlier posts I am amazed at some of the things I have gone through since I had kids.  More importantly, and the real reason to keep it going is because as my kids get older (my oldest is 8-years-old) and they start to ask questions or look for stories about when they were young, I know I can pull up a post and let them read the details.  It’s always a good laugh.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Facts About Starbucks’ Canada and Naming Starbucks’ New Blonde Roast Contest


Map of the countries with Starbucks Coffee Shops

Map of the countries with Starbucks Coffee Shops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starbucks is the world’s top coffee retailer with over 19,500 stores in 58 countries.  Canada ranks second to the US in the number of stores (over 12,800 in the United States compared to over 1,245 locations in Canada).  Japan, Great Britain, China and South Korea round out the top 6, all under 1000 locations.  But you cannot really trust these numbers because Starbucks are opening nearly 5 new stores everyday.  Starbucks recently held a contest for Canadians to help name their new Starbucks Blonde Roast coffees, which are best described as their lighter roast with a subtle, mellow, lighter-bodied, full of flavor, and delicious.  I liken it to a roast which gently awakens the senses – the more you enjoy your cup, the more flavour you detect.When they first launched the Starbucks Blonde Roast, I immediately picked up the VIA instant packets and was shocked by the lack of flavour from the first sip.  Used to strong coffee I had added way too much cream and sugar and it drowned out the mellow flavour of this mild roast and once I learned to be gentle with this Blonde, I began to notice the subtle flavours and it has become my go to roast.

So of course I wanted to enter the contest to create the name for the Blonde Roast and in doing so, I found some interesting facts about Starbucks I felt compelled to share.

So, here are the 13 Most Interesting Facts About Starbucks, then the details about the contest …

13.  Starbucks currently employs over 137,000 employees, which may not seem like a lot, however this is twice the population of Greenland.

11.  There are currently over 87,000 drink possibilities – a free drink to anyone who can name all 87,000.

10.  There is a size called the “Trenta” which is 30oz / 916 ml or slightly bigger than the capacity of your stomach which on average has a capacity of 900 ml.

9.   A Starbucks grande coffee has 320 mg of caffeine which surprisingly contains over four times more caffeine than found in a Red Bull energy drink.

8.   The Starbucks cinnamon chip scone has more calories than a McDonald’s quarter pounder with 480 calories.

7.   Starbucks uses 2.3 billion paper cups per year.

6.   They currently serve 40 million customers a week.

5.   The owners almost went with the name Pequod, the name of the boat in Moby Dick, instead of the character Starbucks’ name

4.   After tasting the Clover at a small café in New York and claiming it the best cup of brewed coffee he has ever tasted, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz decided to buy the company that made Clover in 2008 and began introducing the dream machine at select stores around the country

3.   Most Starbucks stores have been equipped Swiss-made Mastrena, which was created to make “the highest-quality, consistent shot of espresso”. The machine also allows baristas to interact with customers due to it’s size and shape.

2.   My first choices for the new name were “Mellow Yellow”, “Platinum Blonde” named after the great Canadian band, “Ambition”, “Natural Blonde” and the “Have More Fun” Roast.  These have all been entered in the contest.

1.   The first Starbucks location to open in Canada was at the Seabus Skytrain Station in Vancouver on March 1, 1987. This humble store was Starbucks Coffee’s first international location.  My last suggestion was to honour that location with the “Seabus Light Roast Blend.”

On February 20th, Starbucks Canada will announce the 3 finalists and open up the voting.  What was your name for the Blonde Roast?