The Quest for a Sugar-free Treat

These days, I only go to two coffee shops: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Starbucks. See, I don’t go to expensive shops to drink brewed coffee or sample their pastry selections. I go to have their specialty drinks. I only have one single rule that must be met: what I drink must be sugar-free.

Ever since I discovered that CBTL gave its customers the option of using No Sugar Added vanilla and chocolate powders to flavor their drinks, I have been an avid fan of their Ice Blended drinks, particularly the Pure Chocolate and Pure Vanilla Ice Blended. Recently I added the Hot Chocolate to my repertoire for days when I’m not feeling particularly in need of a cool drink.

Starbucks came out with the Frappuccino Light series this year, and I thought the Frapp Light drinks also used sugar-free ingredients. At least, that was what I was led to believe when I first bought one. After what happened today, I’m not sure I’ll be going to Starbucks again in the near future (tampo ako).

Today was the last day of Starbucks’s Halloween treat: a free upsize on all drinks. I had decided to order a grande Caramel Frappuccino Light, which would be upsized to Venti. They handed the mixed drink to me without the whipped cream, so I requested some. Unfortunately, they also drizzled caramel syrup over the whipped cream, which led me to ask some questions.

Me: Is this caramel syrup sugar-free?
Barista: Uh, no, Ma’am.
Me: Oh. So what makes it Light?
Barista: It has 60% less calories than regular Frapps, and we usually serve them without whipped cream.
Me: But it’s not sugar-free.
Barista: No, Ma’am.
Me: (looks at the drink) I can’t drink this.

The barista offered to help me change my drink, but she kept showing me options I wasn’t familiar with–and frankly I had my heart set on a Frapp. Confused and a little bit cranky, I just asked her to give me the drink anyway. I didn’t want her to go to any more trouble when it was my fault.

As I left the Starbucks, though, I started steaming. Now that I knew my Frapp Light wasn’t sugar-free, what was I to do with the drink I held in my hand? It was Venti size, too…

I ended up giving the drink to the housekeeper when I got home. I hope she enjoyed it; I spent a third of my weekly allowance on that drink and got nary a taste of it. Oh, well. I think I’ll go make a late-night run to CBTL and get myself a nice Ice Blended. Na-udlot kasi eh.

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