Step Aside, Pumpkin Spice: Starbucks Unveils Toasted Graham Latte (and We …

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Starbucks Unveils Toasted Graham Latte, First New Fall Espresso Flavor in Four Years.

“I thought about the back-to-school season and looked at the latest food and beverage trends,” the company’s R&D Manager Yoke Wong said in a statement. “What I found to be quite popular in the U.S. is the taste of cereal milk, the delicious leftovers in your breakfast bowl.” (Cereal ice cream, anyone?) And so, the Toasted Graham was created. The latest addition to the growing Starbucks menu starts with graham cracker-steeped milk that’s reminiscent of the cereal milk served at “Masterchef” judge Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar.

“Volkswagen needs a fresh start — also in terms of personnel,” Winterkorn said in reference to the scandal surrounding the company’s use of deceptive, EPA-cheating software. “I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.” There’s been a large number of automobile recall stories recently, in which some big automaker pulls thousands of cars over a glitch or safety malfunction. The official statement describes it as “an espresso beverage with steamed milk, flavors of graham and sweet cream and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon graham crumbles.” Upon first sip, the first thing that hit us was the toasted aspect. It was officially called the Salted Caramel Mocha, and it was the rough equivalent of starting your morning with two scoops of Cold Stone’s ice cream microwaved on high for five minutes. The resulting brew is warm and screams autumn without the cloying sweetness of the pumpkin spice latte, so the flavor of the coffee still shines through. It seems the company is essentially guilty of lying to 11 million car owners who bought diesel-fuel vehicles they thought were environmentally friendly, only to find out that they were, in fact, in huge violation of the standards set out by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The latte isn’t the only new item that Starbucks will debut today — to celebrate the start of fall, cups with colorful illustrations of leaves and pinecones are also rolling out nationwide. According to Starbucks, fans can enjoy its aesthetic offerings, too: The coffee brand has rolled out its pretty fall-pattern paper cup and matching sleeve. Java junkies can find the new sipper at a nearby shop, or use the just-launched “Mobile Pay & Order” feature in the Starbucks app to skip the lines and order the drink for pick-up.

The EPA explained in a news release that Volkswagen employed software designed to present false emissions information during testing — a so-called defeat device, which masked how environmentally harmful the cars are. “Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean-air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” Cynthia Giles, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said. It wasn’t a small difference: By shutting off the emission controls imposed on the vehicles during EPA testing, the illegal software allowed VW models to emit up to 40 times the allowed amount of nitrous oxides, according to the EPA. The CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, has apologized in an online video (in German with subtitles here), and has said he’s investigating the situation — though he has not said he’ll resign. The company has set aside $7.2 billion to deal with the recall, although costs could rise. “Forty times is startling, there’s no question about that,” J Wayne Miller, Ph.D, an emission and fuels researcher and associate director at University of California Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CERT), told Refinery29. “As laymen, you should be very much shocked and dismayed that [emissions] could be that much higher than what you were told.” Miller explained that excitement over diesel-fuel economy — what many people call “gas mileage” — is sparked much in the way that enthusiasm for hybrids such as the Prius was in the late ’90s. Prospective car buyers hear that diesel is cheaper and gets more mileage, and they see a win-win, Miller pointed out: They’ll save money as well as the environment.

In the grand scheme of things, the environmental impact of this scandal will be minor — diesel engines are a small portion of today’s street fleet, and personal cars are just a tiny part of the overall factors driving air pollution and climate change. And…it wasn’t bad! (At least as far as super-sweet Starbucks drinks go.) I’m normally a (black) cold brew guy, but I liked it, though I couldn’t finish the whole thing.

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