#10 – Is Dunkin Better Than Starbucks?!

Alex and Stef review Dunkin’ coffee and some snack items while discussing cheaper alternatives to your common coffee stop!

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#10- Is Dunkin’ better than Starbucks?! Chat, Chew, Review

Alex and Stef review Dunkin’ coffee and some snack items while discussing cheaper alternatives to your common coffee stop! — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. #10- Is Dunkin’ better than Starbucks?!
  2. #9- Chili’s Mukbang & Loving TikTok
  3. #8 – Catching Up After Quarantine
  4. #7 – Cocktails & Quarantine
  5. #6 – Getting Heated Over The Bachelor

The Chat, Chew, Review Podcast is also available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyAnchor, and more!

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REVIEW: Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew Canned Drinks

Are you a fan of the Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks? If the answer is yes you are in luck because Starbucks recently launched Nitro Cold Brew canned coffee drinks! The Nitro Cold Brew canned drinks come in three flavors: Black, Dark Caramel, and Vanilla Sweet Cream.

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I found all three flavors of Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew cans in the refrigerated case at Target. Prior to seeing posts on Instagram about these drinks, I had no idea that Starbucks planned to release cans of Nitro Cold Brew. I know that Nitro is a popular drink choice at Starbucks but I was not expecting it in cans so soon.

According to Bustle, “Each 9.6-oz can is infused with nitrogen to give it the same velvety smooth taste that you get from Starbucks’ in-store Nitro Cold Brew.” Whenever I order Nitro in stores, I always get the flavored cold foam on top, so I was curious to find out how these coffee drinks tasted. I chose to buy the Dark Caramel and Vanilla Sweet Cream varieties since I do not drink black coffee.

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Overall, I was pleased with both the Dark Caramel and Vanilla Sweet Cream flavors. Nitro Cold Brew always seems much more smooth than regular espresso drinks. I used to purchase the Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Drinks if I needed a quick pick-me-up, but I may finally convert to the Nitro cans. These premium coffee drinks offer a balanced ratio of coffee to added flavor. Not to mention, the Nitro packs a punch of caffeine to give you an extra energy boost.

KFC, Dunkin’, and Starbucks: This Week in Food News

KFC Debuts Donut Sandwich

This week, KFC’s new fried chicken and donuts launched in participating stores nationwide. The chicken and donuts come in a basket or as a sandwich if you prefer to eat on the go. From what I have heard, this is much different than KFC’s attempt at chicken and waffles. The warm, glazed donut accents the crispy chicken tenders. KFC reports that the chicken and donut combo is available for a limited time, so get yours before it’s too late!

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Matcha Lattes Now Available at Dunkin’

I will preface this by saying I’m not the biggest fan of matcha drinks. Something about the earthiness of the green tea just does not do it for me. However, matcha has become increasingly more popular at places like Starbucks and now Dunkin’ is trying to steal a portion of those profits. The new Matcha Latte at Dunkin’ is available hot, iced, or frozen. Try one today at a Dunkin’ near you.

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Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew in Cans

Bad news for my caffeine addiction; Starbucks launched their new Nitro Cold Brew coffee drinks. As @candyhunting reported, these coffee drinks come in three varieties: Vanilla Sweet Cream, Black, and Dark Caramel. If these drinks are anything like the Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks, I am worried. Nitro makes me so jittery that I can only drink small amounts, but I’m more than willing to give these a try.

#1 – Spilling the Tea on Starbucks w/ a Former Barista

Alex sits down with co-host and former Starbucks barista Stef to discuss the honest truth behind Starbucks products. Follow along as they rate the best and worst drinks, explore life as a barista, and smash or pass on popular secret menu items.

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Starbucks Secret Menu Drinks:

A Roundup of My 2020 Birthday Freebies

I recently celebrated my birthday (Shoutout to all the Aquarius people out there) and while it wasn’t necessarily a large milestone, I wanted to make the most of it. In addition to the multiple plans I made throughout the day, I decided this would be the year I would hunt down all the birthday freebies I could find. Check out all the items I received for free on my birthday:

Starbucks

I am not ashamed to say I have been a member of the Starbucks Rewards program since around 2013. Now that’s a commitment! In addition to all the rewards I receive throughout the year, I thoroughly enjoy my annual birthday reward. This year I decided to treat myself with a Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato with an extra shot of espresso to start my day off right. Pro Tip: Maximize your free drink rewards by ordering a larger size. Regardless of size and customization, the drink is always free!

Retail Value: $6.35


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Einstein’s

After getting my free coffee from Starbucks, I was really craving a good breakfast and Einstein’s came in clutch. Prior to my actual birthday an email came to my inbox from the Einstein’s Bros Bakery Smear Society which included a coupon for a free, one egg breakfast sandwich. Einstein’s puts together delicious breakfast sandwiches so I jumped at the opportunity for a free bagel sandwich. I ordered the Bacon, Avocado, & Tomato Egg White Sandwich on an Everything Bagel and went on my merry way.

Retail Value: $4.89


Redbox

This was my first experience with the Redbox Rewards program. I have used Redbox in the past but I generally try to stay away because I am notoriously bad at returning the movies. However, Redbox gifted me with a free DVD rental so I decided to take advantage of the offer. My boyfriend and I rented Joker and enjoyed a cozy movie night at home.

Retail Value: $1.75


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Nothing Bundt Cakes

Before moving to Texas I had no idea about Nothing Bundt Cakes. Trust me on this; there’s nothing better than a red velvet bundlet with cream cheese frosting. I received a coupon for a free bundlet through the Nothing Bundt Cakes reward program so of course I had to pay them a visit. No surprise here the cake was as delicious as ever. The creamy frosting compliments every bite of red velvet, and there are chocolate chips hidden in the cake that add extra bits of flavor.

Retail Value: $4.00


Sprinkles

Ah, Sprinkles. Who can resist? Join the Sprinkles Perks program and you can get a free cupcake on your birthday too! Sprinkles offers plenty of options to choose from including a selection of featured flavors each month. However, I went with the classic Red Velvet so I could compare with my bundtlet. Both are great in their own regard, but I think Nothing Bundt Cakes wins with their cream cheese frosting.

Retail Value: $3.99


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Ulta

Every year during my birthday month, I always head to Ulta for a freebie and other great deals. Through the Ultamate Rewards program, members receive double the points on purchases throughout their entire birthday month. Along with a $10 coupon I received the Tarte Maneater mascara during my birthday month. The real gamechanger for me was receiving an offer for five times the points on any salon, skin or brow service during the week of my birthday. I decided to get my hair done and now have $50 worth of points that I can redeem at any time.

Retail Value: $23.00


The entire retail value of the my birthday freebies totaled $43.98! These are just a few of the many rewards available on your birthday. In fact, The Penny Hoarder put together an extensive list of almost 80 birthday freebies to enjoy. I will say that redeeming six of these birthday freebies was challenging enough, but it is possible to go the entire day without spending one cent. Take the challenge for yourself and see how many free items you can redeem on your birthday!

My First Thoughts on Starbucks’ Irish Cream Cold Brew

After the wild success of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Starbucks has added the Irish Cream Cold Brew to the lineup of holiday beverages. Now, I loved the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew because it was such a great alternative to the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte. Most of the holiday drinks at Starbucks will cost you over 400 calories for a grande so I definitely appreciate that Starbucks offers other lower calorie options that I can choose instead.

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According to Starbucks, this drink features, “Irish cream syrup, topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a strike of cocoa powder.” A grande Irish Cream Cold Brew will cost you 200 calories, which amounts to about half the calories of any other holiday drink on the menu. If you need a jolt of caffeine, one grande Irish Cream Cold Brew will provide more bang for your buck. Compared to a grande Caffe Latte which contains 150 milligrams of caffeine, the Irish Cream Cold Brew contains 185 milligrams.

I never tried the original Cloud Foam Cold Brew when it debuted because I thought that the cold foam took up significant real estate in the cup, meaning you received less coffee at the end of the day. Boy, was I wrong. Since there is more caffeine in the cold brew than a regular latte, this drink makes me extra jittery. The Irish cream syrup adds rich, almost chocolaty notes of flavor to the cold brew and the vanilla cream cold foam tops it all off.

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Honestly, I could sit and eat a cup of the cream itself. The vanilla sweet cream cold foam is light, fluffy, and delicious. It compares to fresh whipped cream in my opinion, adding and extra bit of sweetness to the beverage. The sprinkle of cocoa powder on top adds a nice touch to the overall beverage and compliments the rich taste of the Irish cream syrup. Not to mention, the cream mixing with the cold brew is very aesthetically pleasing.

This marks yet another win for Starbucks in my book. The collection of cold foam cold brews are my favorite new menu items by far. I am curious to see how Starbucks will continue to innovate with this concept of cold foam. Possibly a Gingerbread Cream Cold Brew in the future? I don’t know maybe I am just missing the gingerbread latte, but I do see so many opportunities for this amazing drink. Head to your local Starbucks to try the Irish Cream Cold Brew for yourself!

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The Starbucks Reserve Experience. Was It Worth It?

It’s overrated. You will pay $10 for a cup of coffee. The drinks are exactly the same as a regular Starbucks.

These are all comments I have heard about Starbucks Reserve, and ones that kept me from going for a long time; well until now. Of course, assumptions and negative comments affect what we consume, where we go, and how we live; but I decided to give Starbucks Reserve the benefit of the doubt.

As an avid coffee drinker, I do find myself looking for local coffee rather than visiting a Starbucks. Since they are on about every corner, I often pick up a cup of coffee from Starbucks out of convenience. I will say that every time I travel to Seattle, the place where the coffee giant originated, I always look to local coffee shops for a good latte.

While Starbucks does have some tasty drinks, I think the coffee can be hit or miss. Aside from human errors that affect the drinks, one of the most common critiques of Starbucks coffee is the bitter taste. It’s almost as if the beans are roasted a little too long. Regardless, I do drink Starbucks coffee fairly often and have found a few go-to drinks that I enjoy.

What’s The Deal with Starbucks Reserve?

In 2014, the very first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opened in Seattle. Since then, Starbucks has expanded these roasteries and bars across the world. Starbucks Reserve highlights the rarest, most unique coffee that Starbucks has to offer. Here customers can understand more about where the coffee is sourced and indulge in drinks that cannot be found in traditional Starbucks locations.

Starbucks Reserve is about more than simply coffee, it’s designed to be an experience. Roasting beans, brewing coffee, and carefully crafting signature beverages; Starbucks Reserve focuses on creating an atmosphere for those who want more than just the average coffee shop experience. Think about it like a winery, where you can see the source of the grapes and truly grasp the time and dedication it takes to produce a fabulous bottle of wine. At Starbucks Reserve, customers witness the transformation from coffee beans to a premium cup of coffee.

Was It Worth It?

It was 100% worth the visit.

I’m not going to lie, you will pay a premium for a drink from Starbucks Reserve. A regular Caffe Latte at Starbucks will run you anywhere from $3 to $5 depending on the size. At Starbucks Reserve, a Caffe Latte ranges from $4 to $5.50, and that does not include any syrups or other add-ons. You will notice even higher prices on the drinks that you cannot find at a traditional location.

I went into the experience knowing that I had to try an Affogato. For those who do not know, an Affogato consists of one or two shots of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream. In addition to the Affogato, Starbucks Reserve serves several other drinks including ice cream, coffee flights, and more.

Aside from this drink combining two of my favorite things, I was thoroughly impressed. The ice cream is not overly sweet but compliments the espresso very well. As the ice cream melts, this delightful mixture of coffee and cream starts to form in the bottom of the cup. In my opinion, the espresso was more smooth and less bitter than what I have gotten from a regular Starbucks location.

The atmosphere in the Starbucks Reserve Bar differs from that of a traditional location from the menu to the coffee and more. This establishment is geared more toward those with a true appreciation for a premium cup of coffee rather than the occasional drinker. To get the full experience, I recommend finding a comfortable place to enjoy your coffee and observe the care and attention the baristas put into each drink.

In addition to the great atmosphere, our barista was also incredibly knowledgeable and explained the true differences between the traditional locations and a Starbucks Reserve. Next time, I definitely plan on trying the “Siphon Experience” which uses a siphon brewer to showcase the changes throughout the brewing process. This experience completely changed my assumptions about Starbucks Reserve and I fully intend to visit again in the future.

I Tried Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, And You Should Too

It’s the season of pumpkin spice and with that you can expect a slew of pumpkin themed products ready to hit the shelves. Just in time for the fall season, Starbucks introduced the first, new pumpkin drink since the launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003.

Say hello to the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Might I say, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew may be my favorite holiday drink in recent memory. The cold brew packs a punch of caffeine along with a light taste of pumpkin spice. On top of the cold brew rests a mixture of pumpkin sauce and cream, resulting in a decadent cold foam that compliments every sip.

Even better, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew provides all the pumpkin spice flavor without the calories of the traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte. A grande PSL is sure to cost you about 380 calories, and if you are one to count, that amounts to nearly 20% of your total daily allotment. A grande Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew amounts to 250 calories with more caffeine to help you through the day.

While this drink may not appeal to many during colder weather, it does build off the already popular line of cold brew products currently available. The rich cold brew and creamy pumpkin foam provide the taste of fall without all the calories. Overall, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is a perfect, new addition to Starbucks’ fall lineup and is sure to attract many pumpkin spice lovers.