I'm not a big coffee drinker. I go back and forth with it - sometimes I love it, sometimes I can't stand it. When I do drink it, it has to have almost as much sugar (or syrup of some flavour) and milk as it has coffee. I do like tea, but I'm pretty particular about it. I either have something like rooibos or chai with (again) loads of sugar and milk, or I drink Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice or Cinnamon Apple straight up. I rarely drink herbal or fruit teas, and I never buy them at a coffee shop. This is why, when people suggest going out for coffee, I'm usually not best pleased.
I've had my ups and downs with coffee shops in Edinburgh. I do have a favourite - Kilimanjaro on Nicholson Street - that very rarely lets me down in the chai department, and another - Artisan Roast on Broughton Street - that has quite a few amazing vegan hot chocolates (they make them with flaked chocolate and soy milk). On the whole, though, people tend to want to go to places with which I'm unfamiliar, or they want to go to Starbucks.
Ah, yes, Starbucks - the evil empire. There are probably more Starbucks coffee shops in Edinburgh (and most cities, I would imagine) than all the independent coffee shops combined. Well, rather than argue the merits of their existence, I'll just help out those UK vegans who have friends who don't know any better and insist they go there.
Out of curiosity, I decided to email Starbucks to find out what they had on offer for my people. I received the following email today:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Starbucks Coffee Company regarding the nutritional details of our current product range. The products which are suitable for Vegans are as follows.
Café Misto with Soy
Steamed Soy with or without syrups
Espresso Macchiato with Soy
Café Americano black or with Soy
Soy Lattes with or without syrups
Soy Cappuccinos with or without syrups
Mocha with Soy
Classic Hot chocolate with Soy
Tea based Frappuccinos
Perfect Porridge with Soy Milk and Dried Fruit
Fresh Fruit Salad
Hoummous with Vegetable sticks
Fairtrade Chocolate bar - dark
Sea Salt Potato Chips
Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar Potato Chips
We appreciate you contacting us and look forward to welcoming you back to your local Starbucks soon.
Seasonal apple! Fairtrade banana! I had no idea those were vegan! /sarcasm
It's a pretty decent list, to be fair, though I feel the need to point out that when they refer to Tazo tea, they're talking bags, not the chai mix (which contains honey). But we can get hot chocolate at Starbucks! Yes! So next time you're forced into a Starbucks (or go of your own free will - I'm not judging), you know that you'll have something to drink other than the bagged tea that you could make at home yourself for a fraction of the cost.