Things are definitely heating up in Metro Manila, with temperatures rising well past the 30ºC mark. While I’m missing those days of wearing long-sleeved tops and those nights of bundling up in my blanket, I’m happy to have an excuse to indulge my love for ice-cold beverages. And when I say beverages, I mean coffee, of course! If there’s one coffee shop that’s my go-to for my caffeine fix, it’s Starbucks—as you may well know from my past posts.
To usher in their summer offerings, Starbucks held a Frappuccinos with Friends bloggers’ event yesterday at one of their newest branches in Bonifacio Global City, Starbucks RCBC. My friend/editor/co-blogger Liana invited me as one of her two guests, and I was only thrilled to tag along. Prior to this, I’d been to only one of Starbucks’ events, the launch of their Reserve stores, which I covered for Hitlist. While that was rather formal, this affair was fun and relaxed, marked with bright, colorful balloons, tasty snacks, and refreshingly cool new drinks.
I’d fought through a horrible round of traffic to get to the Fort—thanks to the nth reblocking at Libis—so it was such a delight to be greeted with my pick of Starbucks’ new Frappuccinos. This summer, they’re introducing the Dark Mocha Panna Cotta (Tall: P180, Grande: P190, Venti: 200) and Summer Berry Panna Cotta (T: P170, G: P180, V: P190). You’ll be unsurprised to know that I chose the Dark Mocha, but I got to sample the Summer Berry as well.
While I’ve moved on from my former addiction to ice-blended beverages to drinks over ice, the Dark Mocha Frappuccino’s still one of my picks among Starbucks’ fraps—and it’s one of the two coffee drinks that my mom actually likes. I like how the original recipe’s rich without being too sweet, and the addition of the panna cotta pudding makes it even more decadent. I enjoyed its different textures and the creaminess of the pudding. It reminded me of the Dark Mocha White Chocolate Pudding Frappuccino that they featured a few years back. Now that I think about it, I should’ve asked if there’s a difference in the pudding recipes. I can’t remember exactly how the white chocolate tasted, but I liked this panna cotta one better.
I ‘m not a huge fan of berries, but if I were one, I’m sure I’d love the Summer Berry Panna Cotta. I often find that berry-flavored drinks taste like cough medicine, but that wasn’t the case here. It was sweet and packed with real berry flavors, almost like a nice milkshake. It’s a great pick for the season, a drink that I can imagine barkadas taking on a beach trip. Personally, I’m on team Dark Mocha, but my friend Trixie raved about the Summer Berry. That’s the awesome thing about these new offerings—there’s one for coffee lovers and one for fans of fruit slushies.
As someone with acid reflux, it’s important for me to take some food along with my caffeine, and I found a new go-to snack in the Italian Chicken and Ham on Flat Bread (P165). I like my sandwiches with meat, and the sliced turkey and ham hit the spot. Throw in the cream cheese, basil pesto, and the tender flat bread, and it made for one delicious snack that I just had to get a second serving of.
Just as tasty was the Chicken Cheese Steak Wrap (P165), which combines BBQ-flavored chicken breast fillet and corn slaw in a soft tortilla wrap. For lighter finger foods, there’s the Jalapeño Cheese Turnover (P95) and the Herb and Cheese Toast (Slice: P65, Whole: P300). I wasn’t able to try the turnover, but my friends assured me that it wasn’t as spicy as the name suggested. The toast, on the other hand, was flavorful, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me. It’s definitely the flat bread for the win.
To satisfy your craving for dessert, there’s the Triple Chocolate Cake (S: P140, W: P1,350). Think chocolate cake layered with milk chocolate mousse and chocolate paste praline. It’s not overwhelming sweet nor heavy, although between that and the Dark Mocha Panna Cotta, I’d more than had my fix of chocolate for the day.
During the event, the folks at Starbucks also had us try their new whole bean coffee, the Africa Kitamu (P495), which we got to brew for ourselves using their French Press. They reminded us that good iced coffee required three things: right proportions—in this case, double the amount of coffee than what you’d use to make hot coffee—right grind, and fresh water.
I’m not really one for black coffee, so I’ll just say that the Africa Kitamu was citrusy and potent, and leave it at that. I will try it Vietnamese style—that is, with condensed milk—when I make it at home. We’ll see how it goes.
As we’ve come to expect, they also have new Starbucks Cards! There’s the regular-sized Celebration card that you can get for a minimum initial load amount of P300, and the Summer mini card, which features an aerial view of the beach, available for a minimum initial load of P500. I’m digging the fun colors of these cards, especially the Celebration one, and I’m happy to finally add a new design to my collection.
Here are just some of their summer-themed merchandise, including the new Starbucks Via Iced Coffee Sweetened and those gorgeous tropical tumblers.
Because I loved the tumbler in the middle, I had to take a closer shot. I’ve got more than my share of to-go beverage containers at home, but this one is calling my name! Should I use my April coupon to get a free Tall drink with that tumbler? Dilemma, dilemma.
All in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon and well worth the drive. Thanks again to Liana and the generous folks at Starbucks for my caffeine high! Now, if only they would bring my all-time favorite seasonal drink, the Asian Dolce Latte, back… 🙂
Avail of Starbucks’ Sip ‘n’ Go summer drinks and food offerings from April 21st to June 8th—but if you’re excited to try your Panna Cotta Frap of choice, you can do so now using your Starbucks Card! Also, mark your calendars for the Frappuccino and Friends Happy Hour on April 28 and 29. From 2 to 4 PM only, enjoy a buy one, get one deal on the Panna Cotta Fraps for up to two purchased drinks per transaction. Now, there’s a reason to celebrate with your friends!