Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gluten Free at Starbucks

I have a confession to make, dear readers: I am a Starbucks junkie.

Now, while I know it's a bit frivolous to throw away $5 or so on a drink (and also not great for the waistline), there's no denying that a grande, nonfat vanilla chai latte helps me get through long days of work combined with a 3-4 hour class. It's not even purely the caffeine - there's something psychologically uplifting about breathing in the delicious, spicy aroma and warming my hands on the paper cup.

I also love the atmosphere of their coffeeshops - part of it might be the fact that when my husband and I had just started dating, we were just out of college, starting out in our careers and flat-broke, and the Wolf Road Starbucks became "our place" for weeknight dates. We'd meet there around 8 PM, order our drink and share an oatmeal cookie (remember, my husband doesn't eat chocolate), and talk for a few hours. We had so many of those great "getting to know you" dates there.

Now, I'll go to meet a girlfriend or four and catch up on our lives or discuss the book we're reading for book club -- again, the perfect atmosphere.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise and excitement that Starbucks is considering offering gluten-free menu items! They're currently soliciting opinions and suggestions on gluten-free menu items on their Ideas in Action blog. There are over 400 responses to the blog so far, so it looks like a promising venture. They also seem to be very aware of cross-contamination issues, soliciting ideas about individual packaging of their gluten free baked goods and/or placement in a different area than their bakery.

If you are a fan of Starbucks I'd really encourage taking the time to communicate our desire for more gluten-free goods, especially in our region. It takes a few minutes to e-mail or post a comment, and if enough people take the time we may see results!

I had heard Starbucks was testing some gluten free items in certain parts of the country, but hadn't heard anything since; I would love to see some of the Capital District Starbucks carry gluten-free goods - it would be incredibly progressive, and it would be so nice to revisit some of our first dates over chai lattes and gluten-free desserts. :-)

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