Starbucks Coffee: King of Caffeinated Beverages

It would appear that even all the  talk involving  the pros and the cons of consuming caffeinated beverages; coffee is fast becoming the obsession drink of today’s America.  On Starbuck’s menu one will find the major types of serving this beverage coffee iced and hot to a growing number of trendy coffee afficionados. Coffee still remains the number one King of caffeinated drinks while tea remains its trending ally. Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee on the planet. Starbucks Coffee, an American coffee company and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington is the largest coffeehouse company in the world ahead of UK rival Costa Coffee, with 22,551 stores in 65 countries and territories, including 12,739 in the United States, 1,868 in China, 1,395 in Canada, 1,117 in Japan and 830 in the United Kingdom.

Ever wonder what the difference in various types of serving this caffeinated beverage are and why Starbucks Corporation is experiencing a healthy stock portfolio serving up this trendy beverage of mass appeal.  As it turns out caffeine is not the only thing consumers are concerned with there is also the question of the sugar caloric intakes, regular daily consumed beverage and the harmful effects of over- indulgence.. Caffeine has shown benefits to health as well as controversy of its being harmful in creating a new scenario  of medical psychological dependence which could prove fatal.

In the most recent study measuring on polysomnographic sleep variables and quantitative sleep electroencephalography (EEG) caffeine was found to reduce spectral power in delta beta frequencies in frontal and central brain areas, but not in pre-frontal and occipital regions.  The study involving twelve 20-30 years of age group and a twelve middle-aged group of 40-60 year olds all given 200 mg administration of caffeine showed increased spectral power for both age groups in beta frequencies.  The EEG results do not entirely support the hypothesis that caffeine fully mimics the effects of a reduction of homeostatic sleep propensity when following a normal sleep-wake cycle.  The American Psychiatric Association does not include the diagnosis of a caffeine addiction but does propose criteria for the disorder and proposes new guidelines. This disorder is called caffeine dependence however research does not provide support for an underlying biochemical mechanism for caffeine addiction.  Caffeine seems to have more benefits than objective concerns.

Caffeinism usually combines caffeine dependency with a wide range of unpleasant symptoms including nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, headaches and palpitations after caffeine use.  Caffeine intoxification is possible and overdose resulting in death may occur.  A death reported of a man suffering from liver cirrhosis overdosing on caffeinated mints shows the relative danger case by case of individual overconsumption.  Just as in any stimulant overdose caffeine intoxification displays signs of psychoactive drug interference such as mania, depression, increased urination, rambling of flow of thought and slurring of speech, irritability, muscle twitching, disorientation,  and irregular heartbeat.

Caffeine has shown temporary benefits in wakefulness and beneficial accolades concerning cancer treatment.  Ecologically caffeine is good because it is a natural pesticide for crops and yet falling to the soil  from the plants themselves contaminating the growth of crops in the vicinity.  Caffeine is toxic to birds and to dogs and cats.  It adversely effects mullusks, various insects and spiders as it is classified psychoactive with poor ability to metabolize certain compounds causing higher levels of a given dose per unit weight. Caffeine enhances reward memory of honey bees improving the reproductive success of the pollen producing plants.

In any event it is generally admonished to drink caffeinated products with caution and moderation.  Religious entities such as Seventh Day Adventist, Church of God, Christian Scientist and the Church of the Latter Day Saints do not consume coffee and have advised drinking any beverage containing ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.  Reluctant parents are even starting to rethink health concerns regarding allowing young children to participate in the coffee trend. While the benefits of caffeine, the only legal and sociable accepted yet psychoactive beverage with a very ancient past keep the fires of debate alive. In a world that requires our immediate attention let’s face it the public has lent its support allowing supermarkets finding a niche when catering to energy boosting alternatives promising to keep us focused and vitalized.

There are sixty plant species known to contain caffeine throughout the world.  The coffee bean taken from the coffee plant; the leaves of the tea bush and the kola nut.  Other sources are the South American holly yerba mate leaves; Amazonian maple guarana berries and Amazonian holly guayusa leaves.  In addition the history of the tea which contains caffeine has rivaled coffee in its social popularity and acceptance as a bona fide beverage not harmful to consume in moderation.  The kola nut has ancient origens.  Chewed in many West African cultures it is used to restore vitality and ease hunger pangs.  Products containing caffeine include coffee, teas, soft drinks (colas) energy drinks, other beverages , chocolate, caffeine tablets, other oral products and inhalation.

The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century in the Sufi monastaries of the Yemenin Southern Arabia.  Coffee spread to Egypt, North Africa and by the sixteenth century it reaches the Middle East eventually spreading to Italy and the rest of Europe and then coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the Indies and then to the Americas. An ancient Mayan pot dating back to 600 BCE was found to have coffee residue pointing to the history of the Xocolati often seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper and achiote, a drink still popular today. Xocolati was believed to fight fatique, a belief probably attributed to the theobromine and caffeine content.  Chocolate was an important luxury through Pre-Columbian Meso-America and the cocoa beans were often used as currency.  

Coffee has always been a go to morning routine for Americans and coffee appreciation is at an all time high thanks to the global commercial success of Starbucks.  Starbucks offers the nine ways to enjoy the coffee experience while plugging into the world of the internet onsite.  Here is a list of available methods of enjoying coffee worldwide:


  • Expresso- 1-2 oz portions of finely ground dark roast
  • Americano- simply an expresso that has been drawn out with extra water, still expressed as opposed to brewed through a filter.  In the U.S. an Americano is 2 shots of expresso topped with hot water.
  • Cafe au Lait- a strong filtered or brewed coffee with warm milk. Just scald some milk in a pot and pour over strong brewed coffee.
  • Cappuccino- this serves as a base for all coffee beverages with a 1:1 ratio of expresso, steamed milk and milk foam.  Milk is steamed through a special high pressure steam pipe to make the stiff foam on top on a expresso machine.  When pouring the foam is held back with a spoon, then scooped out on top.
  • Macchiato- typically in North America a cappuccino with frothed mik foam only sometimes called a “dry” cappuccino.
  • Latte- a wet cappuccino with the foam hold back with a spoon, pour the warm milk over the expresso.  Put a bit of foam on top for decoration.
  • Mocha- any of the above expresso and milk drinks with chocolate added. Some add hot chocolate, some add chocolate syrup.
  • Mocha Latte- not to be confused with mocha beans, which are an Ethiopian coffee bean which has a naturally occurring chocolate flavour.
  • Misto- Starbucks synonym for a cafe au lait

So is Chai Tea healthy? Spiced black tea blended with steamed milk. The warm, aromatic flavors of chai tea have their roots in the ancient Ayurvedic tradition of India, where roadside tea merchants can be found preparing black tea with traditional healing spices like cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. Cane sugar, honey and citric acid are three of the primary ingredients in the syrupy concentrate that is used to make the chai tea latte at Starbucks, which hammers you with 220-300 calories per drink.  Generally speaking it’s clear the more specialty the coffee beverage the higher the calories including the iced beverages other than pain expresso.  Starbucks boasts a “Skinny Mocha” at 180 calories, iced tend to be lower.  Expresso beverages boast 5-10 calories while a white chocolate mocha comes at a whopping 180 calories.  Some of the fancier coffee include names such as Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte and Iced Caramel Macchiato or Iced Vanilla spice Latte.

The most important advice anyone can offer to someone who needs an energetic spot of caffeine is to choose your caffeine according to the specifications that your body dictates always in moderation.  Or just ask for the Red Eye: A cup of coffee that has shots of espresso added to make it stronger.


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