(Author’s note: I first wrote this piece around 2009 and posted this in my Multiply page. It underwent various revisions since then and had been tackled in some Creative Writing workshops. Fortunately, I managed to recover this essay before Multiply closed down last year.)
Nowadays, high-class coffee shops have started to pop up everywhere. And when high-class coffee is mentioned, Starbucks tops the list. However, it’s not the caffeine content but the price that keeps you awake. Imagine paying more than P100 for a small cup of coffee, specifically the espresso which they serve in miniature cups! It looks impossible at first glance for someone to enjoy Starbucks with a budget of P250 because the hot coffees there cost about P150-P160 – more for the iced ones. Their baked treats go very well with their coffee, but you won’t be able to buy them because you lack the cash.
Good thing I discovered a way to maximize P250 for a Starbucks trip – I’m increasing the amount since the prices in Starbucks have increased likewise due to inflation as of this writing. You might not believe me when I tell you, but I’m not joking. When I first wrote this in 2009, I used gift certificates worth P200. Before I proceed however, let me warn you that this won’t make you satisfied if you’re not a fan of hot coffee. But if you prefer a steaming cup over a tall frappe, read on! (This works with any hot drink, mind you.)
Order a venti size (the largest) hot drink to start the ball rolling – it doesn’t matter whether it’s coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Starbucks provides cup liners so you can hold it, but be careful as the drink is literally steaming hot. Head over to the condiment bar and add spices and sweeteners to your drink. The condiment bar has cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, and vanilla powders, and sweeteners such as white and brown sugar. Enjoy it for the moment, or until you consume a quarter of the venti cup. By the way, keep the sugar content of your coffee low as you don’t want to end up with diabetes.
When you have already consumed a quarter of the venti cup, go back to the condiment bar and add cold water to it. Mix it afterwards, and then drink it until 50% remains. Once you consume half, approach the barista and ask for milk – skim or full cream will do – until your glass is back to full. If you are in a Starbucks branch that has thermos pots of milk in the condiment bar, the better. Stir and indulge for the third time. You’ll be enjoying this rich, milky batch for a little longer. Finally, add water (or milk if you prefer) until it gets half full when only one-fourth remains in the cup. Stir to dissolve the sediments underneath, and then enjoy this last one.
All in all, I would have had a total of two cups despite paying for only one with the refills totaling a venti size cup. Now, since I spent about P150-P160 for that venti drink I would still have about P90 left. Back when I first tried this out, I bought two regular donuts at Starbucks costing P45 each. But nowadays, I would suggest buying breads at Bakers Fresh (with branches at SM Fairview and EDSA Shangri-La Plaza). Trust me, Bakers Fresh offers delicious and affordable offerings that will make you come back for more. Buy the breads first, and then head over to Starbucks to have coffee.
Indeed, one can enjoy Starbucks (commonly reserved for “sosyal” people) without the need to shell out a lot of money. Until the next trip, bon appetit and see you next month.