April 10, 2010

ghetto lattes - fair or foul?

With the recent bout of warm weather, I have begun to wonder if it might almost be time to revive my summer morning ritual of a "latte macchiato freddo" (cold milk 'stained' with a shot of espresso).  There is nothing I love more with breakfast on a hot day and through the warm months I make extra espresso (or regular coffee) in the morning just to stash in my fridge for that very purpose.

While I've occasionally ordered iced coffee at my local Starbucks, I must say I've always felt ripped off by the premium price, particularly since the drink is made with cold coffee that might otherwise have ended up down the drain.  It really doesn't seem fair but if the market bears it then I have to accept that the principles of capitalism are at work.

Enter the "ghetto latte", an espresso shot ordered in a large cup over ice with milk added by the customer at the condiments table.   The Toronto Star is celebrating the arrival of spring in Toronto with these video instructions on how to make one.

The practice has generated a fair amount of internet chatter, including from some Starbucks baristas who clearly cry foul.  Me, I'm not so fussed - turnabout is fair play and if people have figured out a way to arbitrage the system, well that's part of capitalism too.  No one cares if I order my tall coffee in a grande cup or how much milk I pour into it when it's hot so why should it matter when it's cold?

Kudos to Starbucks for remaining above the fray and being a good sport:  "We provide condiments to our customers so they can make their drinks to their liking . . .We trust our customers to make the choices that are right for them."

In the meantime I will continue to vote with my feet and make my iced coffees in the comfort of my own kitchen.  What about you?


  1. I'm with you. Iced coffee made at home is far superior. I also prefer our glasses to those horrible soft plastics.


    (Any pretentious North American company that insists on using "short, tall, grande, venti" and refuses to even acknowledge "small, medium, large and extra-large" deserves to lose a little because of people ordering ghetto lattes.)

  2. I am completely intimidated by Starbucks, I have no idea how to order there! All I want is a coffee. Just coffee.

  3. I love having a homemade iced coffee and a few extra bucks in my pocket!