Starbucks’ new drink already hacked? or not?

There’s a relatively large number of people who are proud of starbucks-tea-lattehacking Starbucks. Not its Web site but its drinks. Slate wrote the definitive piece on these hacks; they basically all revolve around ordering a cheap drink and then fixing it into a more expensive drink through the copious amounts of free cream and sugar available at the straw counter.

Starbucks’ new drink push is towards its tea lattes, such as the London Fog Tea latte. It’s been an underground drink at Starbucks for years but is now officially on the menu.

Starbucks describes it as a full leaf black tea with citrusy Italian Bergamot and a hint of lavender. Sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with steamed milk and velvety foam.”

Sounds pretty good but at $4 a cup it should be. Serious Eats noticed that you can get nearly the same thing at Starbucks for around $2.50, provided you’re fine with tinkering at the straw counter for a couple of moments and switching to a normal Earl Grey tea bag instead of the loose-leaf mesh one. They’re not calling it a Starbucks hack but it’s the same thing.

Here’s the recipe for a Ghetto London Fog Tea Latte:

1 medium (grande or whatever the 16 oz is) hot cup Earl Grey tea
3 packs sugar
3-6 ounces two-percent milk.

Order a cup of Earl Grey tea. Tell the barista you’ll steep it yourself. Drink or pour out the top fourth of the drink. Add the sugar and two-percent milk and presto! a London Fog.

The only thing the ghetto London Fog is missing is that the milk is not steamed but if you can live without the foam, they should taste the same. Making it yourself also gives you control over the sweetness. As our sister blog in Denver points out, the regular London Fog can be very sweet.

source: The Pitch Kansas City

My reply to this post:

GAStarbucksGirl says: I’m sorry, but in my opinion the full-leaf Earl Grey Tazo Tea, in it’s elegant silk bag, doesn’t hold a candle to the regular Earl Grey Taso tea. That’s why a Grande London Fog Tea Latte only requires 1 tea bag to develop the full, rich tea flavor as opposed to a Grande Misto which would require 2 regular tea bags and still would not reach the full potential of flavors you will experience and enjoy with the London Fog. Saying this though, I think I will perform a taste test on some of my fellow baristas and see if they too can tell the distinct difference.

Posted On: Tuesday, Jan. 2009 @ 3:28PM

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