I Feel Bad About My Latte

Or: How a new Philly law took all the fun out of going to Starbucks

Short or tall? Grande or venti? Skinny or 2 percent? Hot or iced? Whip or no whip? Room for cream?

As if a trip to Starbucks weren’t complicated enough, there’s a new addition to the menu that gives me an instant caffeine headache.

I am speaking, of course, of calories.

Last month, the city of Philadelphia began enforcing a law—the strictest in the nation—that chain restaurants post nutritional information. Since then, I have been forced to confront an inconvenient truth.

Life is fattening. [SIGNUP]

Well, duh. But now it’s there, in black and white, staring me down on my daily visits. Go ahead, it says, I dare you to order me.

At a place like Starbucks, that is a tall order. (Or is it grande?) Thanks to the new law, I now know that a Venti White Chocolate Mocha Espresso with 2 percent milk has 510 calories—enough to feed three models for a week. Also, it has 10 grams of saturated fat, 35 grams of cholesterol and 76 grams of carbohydrates—the Holy Trinity of Yum.

A Venti Java Chip Frappuccino, without whipped cream: 490 calories, 8 grams saturated fat, 20 grams cholesterol, 92 grams carbohydrates.

Granted, those are among the most exotic. Usually I stick to the simpler fare, like no-frills espresso or—dare I say it?—brewed coffee. But if I want to reward myself with a special cuppa, I now stand warned. Guilt abounds.

Does this new development harsh my mellow? Hell, no. I have made one concession, however. Sometimes I just pour my Double Chocolaty Chip Blended Crème Frap directly on my thighs.

GAIL SHISTER teaches writing at Penn and is a columnist for tvnewser.com.