Tuesday Tip Day: (Nearly) Guiltless Frappuccino!

The other day I got an e-mail from Starbucks announcing that, for the next week and change, Frappuccinos are half-off between the hours of 3pm and 5pm.  This is their “happy hour.”  I haven’t had a Frappuccino since giving up dairy last February (my waistline is seriously thanking me, I think!), but the allure of a deal plus the new Mocha Cookie Crumble flavor had me sliding through the drive-thru at about 4:51 yesterday.  Whew!  Just in time.

Also, you can order these with soy milk.  Since 2010.  Just in case this was still news to anyone (as it was to me, on Friday).

I think part of the yummy-factor is the chocolate flavored whipped cream they swirl on top so they can avalanche a pile of cookies before they slam on the lid.  I skipped the whipped cream, too.  So, what I ended up with was a not-quite-full drink that seemed pretty.. sloshy.  Maybe someone new was making them or maybe in the last year the standard for blended coffee drinks has changed, but I prefer mine with a little more ice.  It was just.. wet.  And way too sweet for my liking.  I’ll be fair and say that yes, the soy milk has more sugar than dairy milk, but I don’t think it’s the soy milk’s fault that a Tall size of this drink, with no whipped cream (and non-fat milk plugged into the nutrition counter) has a whopping 46 grams of sugar.

For reference, one teaspoon of white, granulated sugar is about 4 grams.  That drink has roughly 11.5 teaspoons of sugar in it.  That’s very nearly a 1/4 of a cup.

And just for fun?  Pretend you got a Venti.  That’s 90 grams of sugar.  Never mind the 560 calories spent on a beverage.

I could go on and on, mostly because comparing calorie and sugar amounts is entertaining to me (in a jaw-dropping way), but this isn’t a lecture on nutrition!  This is a way for you to make your own frapp in your own home, using drastically fewer scoops of sugar.  This isn’t the cookie one, though, but a recipe for my old personal favorite, the Green Tea Frappuccino (which has the same sugar content as the one we just examined, with the soy milk sugar content included).

That flower in the background is fushia. It's my new favorite!

That flower in the background is fushia. It’s my new favorite!

I saved the cup after discarding the remainder of my sloshy, sugar-fest so I could pour my drink inside and at least pretend.

Recipe: Green Tea Frappuccino

Adapted from Food.com


  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 2 ounces hot water (not boiling)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces non-dairy milk (I used soy for the thickness)
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla-flavored syrup (optional)


  1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of green tea powder in two ounces of hot water. Whisk until completely dissolved.
  2. Stir in 3 teaspoons of sugar (or sugar substitute, your choice!) and 1/16 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Add 4 ounces of milk. Stir.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla syrup. (I happened to have Torani syrup on hand)
  5. Add ice cubes and blend in blender until smooth.

Number of servings (yield): 1

Looks pretty close to the real thing!

Looks pretty close to the real thing!

So, I suppose Tuesday’s tip is this: watch that sugar!  Sure, restaurants are now required to post calories and fat grams, but sugar content is still a big deal.  While they’re bringing their calories and fat down as to not scare off potential patrons, the sugar content is hiking.  You can drink a green tea frapp at Starbucks (the one with 47 grams of sugar) for only 230 calories and 2 grams of fat.  Doesn’t look too scary, does it?

But it is.  It is.

Meatless Monday: Kopi What?

Image from Wikipedia.

Meet the Civet.  The limited research I’ve done on this animal tells me there are many types of it’s kind.  This one in particular is the Asian Palm Civet.  Cute, right?  He looks like Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Well, this little guy is responsible for producing the most expensive coffee in the world: Kopi Luwak.  He frolics in his native home, jumping from tree to tree, and dines on his favorite meal: coffee cherries.  I don’t blame him.  That sounds delightful.  And then (though I don’t suppose this is actually how it works, but it’s how I’d like to imagine it), teams of gatherers scurry behind him and collect his.. deposits.  Once those are cleaned, roasted and ground, they’re sold as the most coveted cup of coffee in the world.  Or, at least the most expensive.

Civet Coffee

Hmm. Nothing too weird about this packaging..

My husband decided he’d surprise me with a pouch for my birthday this year.  Admittedly, I was wary.  It took me a few days to get over the idea of just how it was processed.  He’d heard people on a podcast giving it a try and the ooh’s and ahh’s that followed were advertisement enough.  So, we waited for a party where we could make a pot of it and anyone who wanted to try could have a little bit.

Civet Coffee

Everything looks fine in here..

According to the podcasters, no cream or sugar is necessary.  So, I tried it without cream first.  It has a distinct taste.  In fact, it may be funny to say this, but it actually tastes cleaner than regular coffee.  More pure.  Alas, even the most expensive coffee in the world does not defeat my tastebuds’ need for a little cream.  Once I added the cream, it was perhaps the most perfect cup of coffee I’ve ever had.

No lie.

Civet Coffee


Later, after the party, I used the rest of my grounds in a french press and had the full magical experience.  Heaven.

However, at nearly $40.00 a pouch, I’ll have to save this experience for very special occasions.

Like Mondays.  Time to order a case!

. . .

Where to Buy Kopi Luwak:

  • Think Geek – Though their write-up of the brew isn’t the most flattering.  Good for a laugh, but don’t let it steer you away!
  • Edible.com – This is the manufacturer’s website.  Filled with other things so strange that suddenly coffee beans digested by furry animals doesn’t seem so bad.
  • And, of course, Amazon.com.