A lifer expat mummy in Kuwait blogging on things to do in Kuwait for kids and adults, places to visit, fun and cultural events, general info, shopping bargains and interesting stuff. Email: LWDLIK@gmail.com
Full disclosure: I spent over a year of my life working at Starbucks. During that time, I witnessed toddlers downing highly caffeinated caramel Frappuccinos and kids crying because the pretty passion iced tea is supposedly "only for adults." So what should have been a well-deserved coffee break for Mom turned into yet another stress-fest. If only those moms knew what I did—that are plenty of drinks on and off the menu that are OK for kids.
Kids' Hot Chocolate
The old standby comes kid-sized (8 ounces) and kid-temperature (130 degrees). The littlest ones might like it even cooler—100 degrees is lukewarm. It comes with 2 percent milk, but nonfat, whole and soy are also available. Whip cream is optional ... but yummy!
Passion Iced Tea
This fruity, decaffeinated drink is totally kid-friendly. It's hibiscus flavored, which is a fancy way of saying red and berryish. The barista will ask if you want it sweetened. This means adding three pumps (assuming you're getting a tall, which is the smallest iced size—12 ounces) of a simple sugar syrup. Adding raspberry syrup or lemonade also tastes good. Green tea and black iced tea—your other options—have caffeine, so aren't good for kids.
Also available in kid's size and temperature and with a variety of milks, a vanilla steamer is simply steamed milk with vanilla syrup. You will see sugar-free vanilla on the menu, but know it's made with sucralose—the sweetener used in Splenda.
Little known fact: Starbucks has smoothies ... and they're good! Flavors are orange mango, strawberry and chocolate. All the smoothies come with a banana (though you can't really taste it), 2 percent milk, and whey protein and fiber (is derived from cow's milk). Strawberry and orange mango smoothies are also made with fruit purees, while chocolate smoothies contain mocha syrup. Since they come in one size only—grande (medium), which is 16 ounces—you might want to share.
This is simply extra-foamy milk—like a cappuccino, but without the espresso. (Cappuccinos are about half foam and half steamed milk, while lattes have about 1/4 foam and 3/4 milk.) Little kids especially love the light, bubbly nature of foam. Ask for it bone-dry if you want the drink to be all foam.
Blended Strawberry Lemonade
You won't see this drink on the menu, but it's a winner. It's made of strawberry puree, lemonade, cream base (the syrup used to make Frappuccinos blend better) and optional sweetener. The result: A sweet, slushy treat that kids love. You can also get just plain lemonade at Starbucks—it's a little sour on its own, so you might want to have sweetener added.
Caramel apple spice
This is apple juice with cinnamon dolce syrup, heated up with caramel and whipped cream on top. If your child likes a more classic apple cider case, just ask for heated apple juice. You can also simply get the apple juice cold, in a cup—even though there are probably apple juice boxes in in the front display case, some kids find it more fun to get a bar drink of their own.
Raspberry Italian Soda
This drink isn't on the menu, but kids will love it. Grab a Pellegrino from the front display case, then ask the barista to add raspberry syrup (about four pumps) and—if you want—sweetener. The bright, bubbly, fruity drink is fun one.
Syrup Crème Frappuccino
Many Frappuccinos (the blended, milkshakey drinks) have caffeine, but a few are OK for kids. Strawberries & Crème, Vanilla Bean and Double Chocolaty Chip are all made without coffee and with a caffeine-free base (the syrup that helps the drink blend). You can also get a syrup crème Frappuccino, which is made with milk, a caffeine-free base, ice and whatever kind of syrup you'd like. If your kid wants a caramel Frappuccino, this is the way to go.
Skip - Chai Lattes (ton of caffeine) and skip most Frappuccinos except the above.
LWDLIK - I found this very handy as my precious gets fed up with ordering the same every trip to Starbucks. Even if you don't have any kids you may find yourself babysitting one day and God forbid you should give them a high sugar, caffeine drink on your watch LOL.