Coffee Wars: Holiday Edition Part 1 – Gingerbread Latte

Just incase that it was never quite 100% clear, I have an unhealthy addiction and obsession with coffee and coffee related beverages.  To me there’s no greater place of comfort than my favourite coffee shop, with a hot drink of my choice between hands, enjoying the “mood” lighting, the familiar faces, and the warm atmosphere.  With my adoration for this fine beverage, I have become a bit of a coffee snob so-to-speak.  And with great caffeinated snobiness, comes great responsibility – responsibility to shove my views on what makes a good caffeinated beverage onto my readers.  I must bear this burden alone, for I am the chosen one.

Hmm, sounds like I’m becoming a cross between Spider-Man, Frodo Baggins, and Neo.  So an emo, short, dull person?  That’s not a good combination…

Anyways, with this great burden that I must bear alone for I am the chosen one, I will determine which place of caffeine serves the greatest beverage – and something so important can only be determined in a great battle – TO THE DEATH!

Well, not literally to the death.  I don’t really know how one would go about “killing” coffee, or how different drinks would literally fight.  That would just be weird.

This time of year, many coffee shops begin selling special holiday drinks.  It happens around different times of the year, but with Christmas coming, there is usually a large list of drinks that are only served for a short time.  In the spirit of the season, I shall judge two different holiday drinks from three different coffee shops.  Because my location, I’ve decided to choose Starbucks, Second Cup and William’s Fresh Cafe (formerly William’s Coffee Pub) for the first installment of this epic holiday battle. 

So without further delay, let us begin Coffee Wars!

For the first part of the Holiday Edition of Coffee Wars, I shall be judging three different Gingerbread Lattes, which are by far my favourite of any special holiday drink around.  I will be basing my judgements on these parameters: balance of flavour, appearance, overall enjoyment.

The first beverage I will be judging will be the first gingerbread latte I had of the season, which was from William’s Fresh Cafe.

This is a large gingerbread latte from William’s Fresh Cafe, and as you can clearly see, the mug is the size of a soup bowl.  So an avid coffee and hot beverage drinker like myself will be pleased with the serving size of this drink.  I have to say, William’s has been hit and miss with me for the past few years.  I used to come to this spot with my friends a lot more when I was in highschool, but ever since I’ve been living back in Burlington, I haven’t been as impressed with this place overall like I used to be.  With that in mind, I was skeptical to even order something that was over the $2 price range, because I didn’t think it would be worth my money.  That being said, I was very satisfied with this drink, and part of that may be because my expectations were so low to begin with.

The William’s gingerbread latte is very sweet – and it is served with an abundance of whipped cream and a crap-load of cinnamon on top.  On certain occasions, this is a good thing for me, and if you have a sweet tooth or want dessert, this is great.  However, I don’t have a large sweet tooth, so I found this drink to be a little overwhelming.  It wasn’t intolerable, but it wasn’t necessarily spectacular either.  By the time I got passed the whipped cream, the espresso and milk were luke warm, and to me, that defeats the purpose of a drink like this.  I want it to be at least somewhat warm when I drink it.  As for appearance, it was served nicely, I always love getting my caffeinated beverages in a china mug, it makes me feel like I’m on the show Friends, sitting in Central Perk.  The whipped cream was pipped nice enough, a little lazily, but I don’t expect rosettes on top of my latte either.  As I said earlier, there was a lot of whipped cream, and because of this, it kind of overflowed the drink a little – that mixed with less than careful carrying of my beverage by the server caused it to kind of spill and topple over the edge.  I’m not really picky, I just don’t like my hands sticking to the mug.  Yes, I’m one of those people who likes to hold their drink in both hands, I say “fuck you” to the handle.

Overall Score:
Appearance – 3.5/5
Flavour Balance – 3/5 
Overall Enjoyment – 3/5

Second Cup’s Gingerbread Latte

I just want to say excuse the photo quality, I was having trouble getting the camera on my phone to work, so it was a bit blurry when I took the photo.

Second Cup is definitely one of my favourite places to get a coffee, so because of that I’ll try really hard not to be biased.  This was the second gingerbread latte I got this season.  What I enjoy about this gingerbread latte is that it has a nice gingery flavour, and is just sweet enough, but I can actually taste the espresso.  I don’t put too much sugar in my coffee, so I like getting this one often because it’s “fancy” enough that it makes me feel special, but it is not too “fancy” that it tries to win me over with extreme amounts of sugar.

There isn’t any whipped cream on this latte, but for anyone who really wants it, it can be added easily enough.  What I enjoy about Second Cup’s gingerbread latte too is that there is a sugar topping that you can add-on top that is a mixture of cinnamon, sugar and ginger – but it’s a very light type of flavour, and really tastes like a gingerbread cookie.  In the image to the left I actually added my own nutmeg to the top, because I felt like it damnit.  I think one of my only complaints of this drink is that sometimes it feels a bit heavy, and that may just be the milk that is being used, because I don’t always ask for skim milk because I forget or I just don’t care.  I found it to be heavier than William’s and Starbucks’ latte, and that may be because of the foam.  I am always pleased with how this drink looks, it is always well presented and well prepared, so I have no complaints.  Sometimes they forget to add the topping, but it’s right there at the counter so I can add it if I want it myself. 

Overall Score:
Appearance – 4/5
Flavour Balance – 5/5
Overall Enjoyment – 4/5

Starbucks Gingerbread Latte

Ah Starbucks, sometimes I love you, sometimes I can’t stand you.  Again, another place that is very hit and miss with me.  I think it all really has to do with location.  The one at my work I really enjoy because I know the people very well, however, the one at the mall nearby I don’t like much because it’s always so busy and it just ruins the atmosphere.  Despite these facts, I still enjoy the occasional Starbucks drink from time to time.

As you can see the Starbucks near my work doesn’t often serve their drinks in a mug, which I suppose goes for most Starbucks, but the one at work has less space and I wouldn’t expect them to offer this type of service as much.  I don’t really hold it against them though, their paper cups are always very nicely decorated and they change them frequently, which I think is nice.  I always think that Starbucks has nice looking drinks, they really know how to prepare them in a delicious looking way.  What really surprised me when I had this drink is that I think it’s actually sweeter than the William’s gingerbread latte.  It probably has to do with the number of gingerbread sweetener pumps they add to the drink, but I found it a little overbearing.  One thing I love about drinking any type of coffee-like drink is tasting the coffee.  I could barely taste the coffee in this drink.  However, it did taste the most like a gingerbread cookie out of all the drinks.  This is definitely something I would get in the smallest size, and probably after I’ve had dinner, it’s really the most “dessert-like” of all the lattes.  I found that even though there was whipped cream on the drink, when I finally got down to the latte, it was still decently warm.  Maybe Starbucks heats their milk longer, or William’s is slow at delivering their drinks. 

Overall Score:
Appearance – 5/5
Flavour Balance – 3/5
Overall Enjoyment – 3.5/5

After looking over all my scores for these drinks, I’ve decided to make the victor of this edition of Coffee Wars to Second Cup

It had the best balance of flavours, and overall it’s the drink I find the most enjoyable out of the three.  I have to say it was a hard decision because they are all so friggen tasty, but out of all of them, Second Cup is the only one I’ll keep buying. It is just sweet enough to be special, but it is regular enough to not be off-putting.  If you enjoy disgustingly sweet beverages like some people I know *coughRyancough*, then the other ones may be more to your liking, they are tasty after all.  But if you’re looking for something a little different from your normal cup of coffee, the gingerbread latte is a nice alternative that will make you feel like you are getting a treat, without ruining your appetite for the rest of the day.

I hope you enjoyed the first rendition of Coffee Wars, check the coming soon page to see when Part Two will be going up!

Poetry Thursday #31

Good morning!  I am having a hard time believing that October went by so fast – well, at least it went by fast for me anyways.  It has been only a couple of days, and already I’m hearing Christmas music playing in stores.  My store has had some Christmas items on the floor for at least week already!  Geesh, in a few years time they’ll be selling Christmas items by September at this rate.  As much as I enjoy the holiday season, to me this isn’t really the holiday season just yet, and I know that all this extended Christmas merriment will just suck the fun out of the holidays for me.  Hopefully I can keep enough holiday cheer to last me until Christmas, or I will be a total Scrooge. 

Before I forget, I wanted to let everyone know that sometime very soon I will be creating a new page that I will keep updated very frequently about upcoming posts – just to keep you guys updated about what my schedule will be and to give you all a heads up for when to come visit!  Hopefully it will be up by the end of the weekend *crosses fingers*.

As for poems, two as usual this week.  Let me know what you think!  And thanks for stopping by :).

Dousing the Sunrise with Caffeine
Morning: my mug full of mocha flavoured brew,
Warm beams of sunlight; frost melts to dew.
Inhale the toasted, roasted, coffee beans;
feel the cool breeze through the open screen.
A book on my lap, slippers upon my feet,
robe loosely tied, my cat on the opposite seat.
A calming silence before the day begins to wake,
a few moments of bliss so pure I almost ache.

"Coffee" by Ewa Kotowska - check out her website!

Call Cannot Be Completed As Dialed
A lifeless tone, resonating,
echoing within your ears -
the nearby street lamp shines,
sparkling with your tears.
“If you’d like to make a call
please hang up and try again” -
repeating, over and over,
caught within your brain.
You dial all the numbers,
dial all but the last.
How can you call home
after all that has passed?
Dangling lifelessly, the phone
frowns, calling you with its tone -
reminding you, that you made
the choice to be alone.

"Down Town" by Saber Hodson aka midnightreflections on Deviantart.com

Poetry Thursday #24

Hello my lovelies!  It is very dark and very rainy where I am today, but that’s all right – I’m not going to let some rain bring my mood down.  I did not get that job that I had that interview for, which was a bit of a bummer because I really wanted it, but no matter – life moves on and so will I.  So besides it being Poetry Thursday, I am spending the next few days getting my resumes ready, and mapping out where I want to go to drop off my resumes.  Busy, busy!  And besides that, I have a very large book that needs to be read…Ryan gave me the book Under the Dome by Stephen King which is rather large (a bit over 1000 pages), and I have only made a bit of a dent in it.  It’s a Stephen King book, you never know if it’ll come to life and kill you in your sleep or anything like that.  So even extra busy fighting the evil powers of a rather large book!  luckily I had already written a post for Saturday, so hurray! 

Just as a note for Saturday’s post – it’s very much an opinion piece, and I will probably say a few things that people don’t agree with it (that’s life right?), and I say clearly multiple times that it’s only my opinion.  I just wanted to give a warning, and a bit of a note that I’m not trying to start an argument, or a heated debate, and anything I find particularly offensive on my comments will probably be removed – so I’d really appreciate it if people would be civil :).  Not that I think anyone in particular won’t be civil, because everyone who comments on my blog is full of awesome-sauce.   Can you tell how super paranoid I am about offending people and people getting mad at me?  Sometimes I sing ♫Why can’t we be friends♫ and rock back-and-forth on the floor…

Nah, I don’t do that, that would be just about the saddest and creepiest thing I could do. 

I apologize for my random bursts of rambly hyperness – I haven’t even had my coffee yet.  I guess I’m like my cat Cleo – when it starts raining I start acting a little off.

Anywho, I have two poems this week, so hopefully you enjoy them, let me know what you think!

Deploring Dreams
I did not notice my despair,
or my unending internal regret.
But slowly I began to become aware
of the face I could not forget.
The smile that could melt my soul -
those eyes of a sea-like hue.
And I have yet to feel as whole
as when I spent my time with you.
Perhaps with time the wounds will heal,
and all I’ve done will be redeemed;
but maybe regret is how I’ll always feel -
and I will be left within this dream.

"What If.." by Sanya Khomenko on deviantart.com

Happiness is Only Small Perfect Moments
The bustle of the coffee place,
and the gentle hum of people near;
full of people – patrons and cashiers -
my worries will slowly be erased.
I sip from my mug, my favourite brew
and listen as I close my eyes;
the atmosphere melts my disguise -
all I am, you can see right through.
I drink a roast that is dark,
but who I am is not the same.
I am content, I have no shame -
and I ignore the harsh remarks.
I am attune with my darker side,
but it does not mean I cannot smile.
You pity and worry, all the while
I am happy – more than I implied.
A simple moment that comes and goes
of pure joy – a moment just to me -
fills me with warmth you cannot see;
I feel better than you suppose.
You say you see “my pain”, that you care -
but watch me smile when I’m alone
you’ll see I’m happier than I’ve shown,
and I can work through my own despair.
When I sip this coffee – my only drink -
sitting alone in my favourite spot,
and all my worries are long forgot -
you’ll see I’m happier than you think.

"Happy Coffee :D" by FrannyBunny on deviantart.com

Poetry Thursday #19

Two new poems this week, huzzah!  I somehow found the time and motivation to get out off my ass and write something.  These past few weeks I have been extremely lazy, I’m thinking I should probably go find a job soon or else my couch will have a permanent perfect ass groove that only I can fill.  Anyways, hope you enjoy!     

By the way, the last poem I wrote for my friend Ryan; lets just say we both go to Second Cup on a regular basis for the same reason.  Enjoy!    

So Long, Farewell
A mistake I cannot fix,
now I sit and wait for death.
Time itself is slowing,
more moments between each breath.    

Each gasp is harder to take,
and I find I’m barely coping.
As life begins to fade I wonder
what’s the point in hoping.    

The light begins to fade,
and darkness fills my eyes.
I stutter helplessly,
trying to say my goodbyes.    

"My Last Breath" by IwaKinga on deviantart.com

 

Simply Delicious
I come here for that thing I need –
So very tall, and quite robust;
The sight of it fills me with lust.
A delicious specimen indeed.    

I come here for that thing I adore:
Coffee, served by a man so fine -
whom are just both simply divine;
I find that I come for either or.    

"Second Cup" by Dependency on deviantart.com

Poetry Thursday #11

What a long week it’s been – but I’ve been trying to write on my down time I promise!  I know I know, like two people even read this, but I have to amuse them as well as the voices in my head!  Geeze! 

I honestly have no idea why I had an outburst like that.  The heat, the lack of sleep, and the worry of carpenter ants has invaded my mind and meddled with my already tampered-with sanity.  I’m doomed. 

Alas, some poems.  In honour of one of my favourite shows being completely finished, I’ve added an older poem which is about that particular show.  Hope you like what I have posted! 

This Poem Takes Place Between Stanza 1 and Stanza 4: Dedicated to Jack Bauer
My day begins
with you on my mind.
You are everything -
perfection of mankind. 

You are stronger
than any man alive.
Logically you should be dead,
I don’t know how you’ve survived. 

I don’t care what they say,
you are 20 times better than Chuck.
At least you don’t have an ugly
gingerkid beard – man what a schmuck. 

You are man of pure sex -
built upon wit, torture skills and power.
The man I admire with all my soul
goes by the name “Jack Bauer”. 

"Small Talk With Jack Bauer" by joshthecartoonguy on deviantart.com

 

Awkward Phone Call
A pain erupts in my chest,
heartache brews beneath my breast -
my love for you I confessed;
time apart you did suggest. 

This rejection I protest -
finding that I am obsessed
with my love – this eternal quest;
punished for what I expressed. 

A lover – no; a friend at best,
now I sit alone – depressed,
finding that I cannot rest.
Feeling more and more distressed. 

"The Breakup Call" by michyy on deviantart.com

 

Over a Cup of Coffee
Sip my coffee -
calm my soul.
Finding things
to make me whole.
Try to forget
my mistakes.
I am haunted,
and I am fake.
Concentrating
on the smell -
the darkest coffee
to forget my hell.
Drink my coffee,
awake my brain -
feel the brew
within my veins.
Give me courage
to put on my face,
be my only
warm embrace.
When I’m alone
it is there,
through the smiles
and despair.
When I seek
to find whats true,
I always turn
to my special brew. 

"Over My Cup of Coffee" by devilsmile on deviantart.com