confessions of an ex-barista
Chew Sher Mein
Chew Sher Mein

Christmas is always my favorite season when it comes to Starbucks. The merchandise is so pretty (tied closely with the sakura merch) and they have my favorite drink, toffeenut. I have it made with soy milk because I think the raw, earthy flavor of the soy milk lends itself better to the nutty, caramelly flavors of toffeenut. The best way I can describe it is a cross between a hazelnut latte and a caramel macchiato. Also I always really like the crunchy candied sprinkles on top. :)

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Had to drop by this newly-opened Starbucks Reserve. As always for the reserve coffees, I love how each coffee has its own significant history and tale.

Brewed with syphon ($6.20 for Tall), this Latin American coffee has a bright acidity with caramel and walnut flavor notes. It is paired with a piece of banana bread, I suppose to compliment the walnut flavor.

I liked the clean taste as a result of the syphon brewing. The nutty flavor was so intense! It is such an amazing tribute to the great growing region that is Colombia, showing once again why Latin American coffees are my personal favorite.

The store itself is large but cosy and comfy. I think the Reserve bar was rather overloaded on the day I visited, they took some time to serve my coffee. Still, a great Starbucks to hang out at.


This chicken pita ($6.90) was really flavorful and good! The tender chicken meat came in a generous portion (the pita was stuffed to the max and every bite had a good amount of chicken) was spicy and peppery, and I appreciate the fact that it is not dry at all. It had a bit of cranberry to add a touch of sweetness. The warm pita bread was soft yet crispy in all the right places and I liked that there was a perfect pita to chicken ratio. :) A filling and protein-filled lunch or snack!

I've paired it here with Starbucks' newest fall drink; pumpkin spice latte (served in a piccolo glass, it looks so adorable). I had it made with coconut milk and its a really bad combination. >< Having it with either soy or dairy milk would be a much better option!


Starbucks' summer season is coming to an end so I had to try this National Day exclusive before it got booted off the menu!! This whimsical take on an ice-cream sandwich ($6.90) has a layer of creamy Oreo filling with a chocolatey biscuit crust in the center, with two layers of colorful sponge cake sandwiching it.

I was surprised at the first bite because the cake felt really light overall, and Starbucks cheesecakes have a way of being very dense and rich. The mouthfeel was amazing; there was the fluffy sponge, the rich cream filling, crunchy wafer and cookies. It was certainly interesting to taste three different textures on a single fork. I also liked that it wasn't too sweet with all the elements balancing each other out perfectly. The fact that this cake combines two classical desserts (cheesecake and ice cream sandwich) in an interesting and aesthetically appealing way was definitely the cherry on the cake. (pun intended :D)


This is a really expensive cup of yogurt ($4.90) But I still really enjoyed it. Honey yogurt is mixed with chia seeds and topped with crunchy oat granola and the secret ingredient; those chocolate chunks in the granola which add that much needed touch of decadence.

I also like the texture of the yogurt; creamy and tangy. Perfect contrast with the toothsome granola and choc chips, which balance the yogurt out with their sweetness taste-wise. Granted, the granola is well sugared to achieve that incredible crunch, but given the delicious result, I'm not going to nitpick about the health factor this time.

Great for a protein boost or morning pick-me-up with black coffee. :D


This item on the breakfast menu always sells out so I had to try it and see what the hype is all about. I snagged the last roll at 10am. It costs $5.90 ala carte but as part of the breakfast set you can get it with brewed coffee for $7.50.

By Starbucks standards this was honestly delicious. The slight spicy kick from the red pepper and the earthiness of the mushrooms balance each other out and the pillowy soft egg whites provide delightful contrast texture-wise. The wrap was stuffed with a generous amount of cheese (there was even a slight cheese pull!!) which added some saltiness to the wrap. The wrap itself is nicely toasted, crispy at the edges and soft, chewy and bread-like in the center.

The only complaint I'd have is that the mushrooms released water that made the wrap a little soggy and sometimes the wrap isn't toasted consistently all the way through.

Nutritionally, this packs a punch with 22g of protein for only 390kcal. Also, its the largest item by weight on the breakfast menu. Not bad, Starbucks. Not bad at all :)


Yet another of Starbucks' $7.90 healthy salad bowls. This one clocks in at roughly 250kcal without dressing.

An assortment of toppings lie snug atop a bed of quinoa. There were roast chicken slices, carrot slices, sundried tomato, zucchini cubes, sweet corn, golden raisins and shimeiji mushrooms. I didn't dress this (I normally minimize the dressing on my salads), but I felt that one of Starbucks' spicier sauces like their spicy miso would be perfect to pair with this bowl.

I liked the addition of the sundried tomato the most as it provided a sweetness to the bowl. The chicken was dry and the slices were literally paper thin but honestly I wasn't really expecting anything else as the bowls are stored in the fridge. Still the quinoa, which made up the largest part of the dish tasted good, so I definitely wouldn't mind getting this again.

I did prefer the prawn couscous bowl though, the addition of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower added much needed crunch to the bowl.


This bowl ($7.90) is one of the healthiest meals on the Starbucks menu, clocking in at 180kcal without dressing. And I surprisingly enjoyed it! :) Sitting on a bed of lightly flavored couscous are three crunchy poached prawns, broccoli, cherry tomato, cauliflower and mushroom slices.

The elements are simple and the entire bowl feels very light and clean, but filling at the same time. The cherry tomatoes are juicy, prawns taste fresh and crunchy and with every bite the couscous adds a rather playful yet complex mouthfeel with its grainy texture. It would go well with any of four dressings Starbucks provides with its salad bowls, but I think roasted sesame would be a good pairing for this bowl ^^

The simplicity of the food means that it pairs well with just about any of Starbucks' drinks, although my personal preference will always be their cold brew :)


Part of Starbucks' National Day menu, this cost an eye-watering $9.90 (ironically you could buy 2 chicken rice packets at that price point). Cauliflower rice and quinoa forms the base of this bowl, with shreds of garlic-flavored chicken, tomato, corn and achar. There are seperate toppings of creamy ginger chilli dressing and fried chicken skin.

I didn't really know what to expect but was disappointed anyway. If you were to remove the label and ask me to guess what this was inspired by I'd be guessing for hours. The quinoa and cauliflower base is the best part of the dish but tastes nothing like chicken rice. The chicken had gelatinous bits stuck to it that didnt quite belong and was a miserably small portion. Also it was suspiciously discolored. The sauce was so spicy, it overwhelmed all the other relatively blander elements of the bowl rather than blending them together.

Its just not worth the price tag. I appreciate the attempt though.


The PML is from Starbucks' new menu; this matcha latte is made from microground/extra fine matcha and blended with milk to produce a frothy, rich matcha drink. It is available iced or hot and this grande size cost $7.50.

It is normally served lightly sweetened with classic syrup, but I opted to have mine unsweetened. And I didn't regret it. The milk's natural sweetness countered the bitterness of the matcha and it has less ice than a normal matcha latte so it resulted in a very satisfying drink even without sugar. I liked that I could really taste the matcha flavor without the artificial sweetness that comes with the normal green tea latte (the powder in that one is mixed with sugar and more classic syrup is added). Because of the fineness of the matcha and the fact that its blended rather than shaken, it resulted in the powder being better distributed and the drink having a smoother mouthfeel compared to a regular green tea latte.


I lift 💪🏻 I eat 🍩 I science 🤓

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