“The Starbucks Chain Massacre”

Two girls, three coffee shops, four recipes, is Starbucks really worth the price?


What image comes to your mind when you hear the word, “Coffee”? One might think as I do, of crisp, fall mornings, a euro style bowl of coffee, with the perfect blend of sweet and bitter wafting to my nose; I have my favorite book in hand and the day in front of me is the perfect lazy day. Or are you more like Emily, where you envision warm, fuzzy sweaters while studying her favorite subject, English, with a friend beside her and a perfect cup in the other.

The day the all the basic teen girls’ hearts stopped just happened to be the same day the Starbucks prices went up 30 cents. Not seeming like a big price jump, it wasn’t the best surprise the coffee industry had to offer, especially with having prices that were already more expensive than other chains, that to most can’t even compare to them.

Two girls, three coffee shops, four recipes, is Starbucks really worth the price?

That perfect coffee. That moment when the smell from the steam hits your face, already waking your senses, stimulating your taste buds for the perfect sip. Then you take a sip. Having the perfect experience that you can never replicate, yet you always want more.

Then, you actually take a sip, making yourself wonder if you’re drinking it for the taste or the icon.

Reviewing Starbucks first, the realization crosses our minds that most people generally drink Starbucks just to say that they have a Starbucks. Small coffee shops all over the U.S. constantly struggle to stay in business and perfect their products, but Starbucks has already built up their reputation. With that, they are able to get away with raising prices to almost ridiculous demands. $4.25 for a small, crappy cup of coffee is not what people generally who enjoy coffee go for.

After trying three different flavors, white mocha, pumpkin spice, and salted caramel mocha, here is what we came up with;  

The white mocha, being a year round drink, is one that you’d expect to be perfect. Yet, it didn’t hit the expectation of a perfect coffee, though it wasn’t the worst one on the list. Expecting a delicious mix of white chocolate and coffee, there instead was only an overly shocking flavor of sweetness, over bearing the any other flavors there may have been present.

The god of the basic drinks. Every girl who has worn Uggs with yoga pants has had this drink, the pumpkin spice latte. A mixture of pumpkin purée with steaming coffee promises to be a delight. Well we found the drink to not quite live up to the hype. The pumpkin over powered the coffee leaving the coffee lover with a feeling of just having shoved her aunt Betty’s famous pumpkin pie into a blender and served  it up as an overpriced latte. The spice was non- existent except for the lumps of seasonings we received upon first sip. Overall this iconic pumpkin spice is only good for getting Instagram likes not actually digesting.

At one point or another most people have had a caramel coffee. The latest trend Starbucks has adopted into their coffee (repatro) is a salted caramel. Like all other Starbucks drinks the exceptive very much depends on the brewista in which you receive upon order, if this drink some right can bring one to their knees. Sadly though we did not experience that where we were the drink was pure salt, personally surprised our hearts did not stop with the pure amount of sodium. The salt canceled out all other flavors, the whip cream no, coffee did not even enter the flavor pallets on the first sip, caramel where did it run off to cause obviously it was not in this drink. We wish that Starbucks would create more unity in their drinks and their staff so that the clients do not have experienced quite as bad as this.

A small town chain with a bundle of likes on yelp lead us to explore this next coffee house. The weather the day we went was extremely hot so lead us to order the iced drinks. We ordered the turtle frozen drink along with the a pumpkin drink. First off this is not a Starbucks frozen drink. We being advocates for the starbuck frozen drink were the ice is perfectly blended to prevent ice crystals from crunching in your mouth. Unlike scooters where we sucked up all the coffee flavor half way through the drink and were left with just a pile of slush. The ice was not blended well and made our teeth numb. The coffee itself was not anything to brag about with just a one note flavor. With the pumpkin drink all that was tasted was a hint of pumpkin and little to no coffee. We would not be surprised if there was even coffee in it. The turtle coffee was not better actually probably worse, there was no flavor besides ice. This small drive through not having any place to sit desperately needs to have out of this world coffee for either one of us to even consider going back. Sadly to say we will never go back and wonder why this place is even in business.

The last local coffee shop we visited to see if Starbucks could truly be replaced was Blue n’ Brews. The coffee shop is significantly cheaper and has a good reputation for an almost perfect coffee every time, beating out the Starbucks we purchased. With that, when Starbucks gives you a good cup of coffee, it beats out all other coffee, this event being rare at our local Starbucks. Here we tried yet another white mocha and pumpkin spice latte, this time adding in a drink that seemed a little unique to the shop; a caramel apple cider.

Starting with the caramel apple cider, it was simply divine (really). With the right mixture of caramel and cider, it gave an expected sugary rush that was inquisitive to the taste buds. Perfect to satisfy any fall craving that you may be having.

Next, the white chocolate mocha was much better than the one we had tasted at Starbucks. Presented in this coffee was a sufficient mix of coffee and chocolate that you would be looking for in a coffee like this one, the white chocolate flavor actually being relevant to the drink. It’s not too sweet or too bitter, creating that perfect first sip every time.

The pumpkin spice latte, having not quite the same experience as the others, was still better than the Starbucks one by a long shot. Starbucks leaving us traumatized it took a psychotic known as blue and brews to make us try the pumpkin spice once again. With a jolt of courage we tried a sip of the pumpkin spice and what meet our taste buds was heavenly. With a sweetens unfound in the starbucks. The more you drink the better it gets. Yet the experience all depends if you get a good brisita. A spice absent in the pumpkin drink from bleue and brew was cinnamon which we found to make the experience all around more pleasant. Cinnamon being a bitter spice then added with bitter coffee with little no sugar makes the drink more pleasant.

No matter what coffee you are, no matter who your are, love yourself and stay be-YOU-ti-ful.

Here lie the recipes of the coffee that brutality demolished the other coffee shops in price and flavor. Have fun creating your own delicious copycat recipes at home and having the power to create your own seasonal experience.

Starbucks Recipes to make at home:


Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Recipe


  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 3 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup hot espresso
  • 1.5 cups steamed milk


    1. Stir water and sugar in a pot until sugar dissolves and bring to a boil.
    2. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add 1.5 teaspoons peppermint extract.
    3. Allow mixture to simmer for 20 minutes
    4. Mix cocoa and water in a cup until paste forms.
    5. Add espresso and 1.5 teaspoons peppermint extract.
    6. Add milk and serve immediately.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup espresso.


    1. Combine milk, sugar and pumpkin in a pot and stir over medium heat until steamed.
    2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pumpkin spice.
    3. Transfer the mixture into a blender and process of 10 seconds (or until foamy) or whisk the mixture until foam appears.
    4. Pour into mug, add espresso and serve immediately.

Starbucks Gingerbread Latte Recipe


Gingerbread Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh espresso
  • 8 ounces milk, steamed (with a little foam)


  • whipped cream
  • ground nutmeg


    1. Make the gingerbread syrup by combining water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Make sure your pan is large enough so the mixture won’t boil over
    2. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer syrup, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat when it’s done and put a lid on it.
    3. Make a double shot of espresso (1/2 cup), using an espresso machine. Use the machine to steam 8 ounces of milk, or heat up the milk in the microwave if your machine does not foam and steam milk.
    4. Make your latte by first adding 1/2 cup espresso to a 16-ounce cup. Add 1/4 cup gingerbread syrup, followed by the steamed milk. Stir.
    5. Top off the drink with a dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Starbucks Caramel Mocha Coffee


  • 1 cup milk, steamed
  • 1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water, prepared in a French Press)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons caramel coffee syrup (I bought mine at our local superstore in the coffee aisle or you can pick them up at your wholesale club for cheap. I accidentally bought sugar-free and it worked like a charm. Feel free to use either variety and adjust to your taste)
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel Sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt


  1. Prepare your hot water in a kettle. Add four tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds to your French Press. Pour 1 cup of hot water over them and allow the coffee to steep for four minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a pot, heat up one cup of milk until it is steaming. Froth the milk with a wire whisk or an immersion blender until it is nice and foamy.
  3. In your coffee cup, mix together the prepared coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and caramel coffee syrup until the sugar and cocoa powder are dissolved and there are no lumps. Pour the milk foam over the top of the coffee/mocha mixture and stir to incorporate. Top with whipped cream, a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, and your pinch of salt.
  4. Bask in your ability to make all good things at home.
  5. Note: This is just a base recipe that can be played with to your own tastes and preferences.  It is meant to be personalized depending on how you like your latte!