I go to Starbucks pretty often, but not for anything besides a hot coffee or, in the blistering dry heat of the California summer, an iced one. Caffeinated drinks with whipped cream, sugar, and syrup don’t appeal to me. That said, maybe once a year, sure, give me a 500-calorie, sugar-packed whatever-the-fuck with all the tooth-decaying accoutrements. The body needs it once in a while, and having an inordinate amount of sugar and fat first thing in the morning can be quite beautiful. It’s the type of decadent jolt that gets your morning started on the right foot. So when I heard that Starbucks has a new Pistachio Cream Cold Brew available through the winter, I jumped at the opportunity to try it.
I am regularly getting ribbed by food friends for going to Starbucks. How can a man who values good food so much lower himself to getting coffee from Starbucks? Let me answer that by saying that if I devoted any more time to learning about coffee and wine (in addition to the many, many annoying opinions I have about food), I would be straight up insufferable. Can’t be a wine, coffee, and food guy. I’d have no friends left. Instead, let me log off and enjoy my shitty American coffee at Starbucks.
I just really like going to a Starbucks, and that has everything to do with the employees. Most of them are hardworking college or high school students confused about who they are, and I like tipping those people. One extremely earnest kid, every time I order a tap water with my coffee, puts his hands up in the air and says, “Hey, can’t go wrong with hydration!” I’m worried he gets bullied, so I give him a few extra bucks. At the now shuttered Starbucks on Hollywood and Western, a stranger brought a knife into the place, brandished it, and circled a customer who was thankfully not me around a table. The high school kids working the counter handled the situation with total composure, didn’t antagonize this person, and eventually she left. What’s important about that story? I’d rather get my coffee from a place where there’s a chance I could get stabbed than go to Maru.
I am also, quite hypocritically, writing this from my neighborhood coffee shop, Obet & Dele, in an effort to pry myself away from the comforting, buzzy grip of the largest coffee chain in the world. Everyone here is lovely, and I think this is my new regular spot. That said, I’ll be back into Starbucks soon to bask in the glory of a sweet, sugary Pistachio Cream Cold Brew. It’s damn good.
This is dessert for breakfast, plain and simple, and it rocks. I love the salty, nutty, creamy, bitter flavors here. Starbucks uses a deliciously salty pistachio cream cold foam that I would, as with any other whipped cream, happily eat nozzle-to-mouth with my head tilted back like a drunkard at a bar. People love to talk shit about American coffee and all of its frivolous, gluttonous inventions, but I refuse to believe that there are people out there who don’t think this tastes good. Up front, you’re just sipping pistachio cream and salted brown butter sprinkles, but when the cream starts to dissolve into the coffee itself, you get this extra, caffeine-rich taste that suddenly feels like coffee again.
There’s also something about it that reminds me of grocery store cake. Grocery store cake, in all of its wonderful iterations, is iconic—cheaply made, but so simply sweet and straightforward that it does exactly what it’s supposed to (provide a comforting buzz). To get more specific, this Starbucks drink reminds me of grocery store tres leches cake. The Pistachio Cream Cold Brew is creamy, milky, spiced, and wet. There’s a bit of texture here, and it’s nice. Right now this is a winter-only menu item, but I would enjoy the hell out of this in the summer, too.
The circumstances that would need to arise in order for me to order a Starbucks Pistachio Cream Cold Brew again
Wouldn’t take much, just a lapse in judgement. The Starbucks Pistachio Cream Cold Brew can not be a part of my regular diet. It just can’t. I can’t wake up first thing in the morning and get my caffeine in the form of a milkshake. That said, I’m currently craving this thing again while writing about it. This is the kind of drink I’d have on a Saturday or Sunday, or when I’m celebrating something. Honestly, this coming Saturday I might smoke a bit of weed, stroll down to the Starbucks, and get this thing again.