I have always been a frequenter of the "groovy" coffee shop, complete with dark lighting, ecofriendly tables, bookcases stacked with poetry anthologies and multiple copies of "The Fountainhead," and, of course, the coffees and teas themselves, mysterious foamy concoctions with steam pirouetting off the top, and layers of flavor there to greet me, whether it be a chai latte or a green tea frothy number, or simply a chamomile or a cappucino. Since being in southern California, we have found some of these enclaves, and some super friendly chains called "The Daily Grind." We have also frequented Starbucks more then usual, mostly because, of course, they are around more and very convenient. My latest favorite Starbucks drink is an iced chai latte, and for anyone else out there feeling the same way, you should know that the calorie count is 240 a cup for the grande, the second to largest size, PLUS, a whopping 41 grams of sugar. However, there is good news. Switching to the Tall size and swopping out nonfat milk for 2% lowers the drink to 150 calories. Starbucks web site features a calorie calculator so you can enter your preferences and assess the damages. At least knowledge is power, and you can either allow yourself a splurge, or adjust accordingly. A tall Tazo passion fruit lemonade only has 85 calories, but still 22 grams of sugars, but it's a step in the right direction. On the other hand, if you absolutely can't go chai-less, I suggest treating is as a dessert and adjust your daily calories accordingly. It's better then going out for ice cream...isn't it??
Also of interest...a study from the Harvard Women's Health Watch sited in today's New York Times states that the health benefits from teas are really derived from drinking about 3 fresh brewed cups of tea daily, and not bottled or processed teas, which have fewer of the anti cancer fighting compounds. Food, or rather drink, for thought.