Big Bucks, Bad Bucks

It’s been a bad week for Starbucks. The litigious monster of java, which has jumped into lawsuits against everyone from indie coffee roasters to snarky cartoonists in order to protect its market share and its cozy-hip image, is now getting a double shot of its own medicine.

On Friday, Starbucks was hit with a $114 million lawsuit over a free-drink coupon that the company distributed over the Internet and then refused to honor.

Then, the Center for Science in the Public Interest revealed what every ‘Bucks fan who can’t button her Seven jeans knows: If it looks like a milkshake and tastes like a milkshake, it IS a milkshake. Quoting from the watchdog group’s latest newsletter, Marion Burros reveals in The New York Times (requires registration) the oh-mi-gawd news that yes, at 650 calories and 25 grams of fat, a 20-ounce Java Chip Frappuccino will chub you up. Those jumbo ventis aren’t much better: The CSPI notes that guzzling a 490-calorie venti mocha is like sipping a Quarter Pounder through a straw.

Of course, drastic numbers make better news. The real culprit, on top of the supersizing, is the chocolatey goodness in both these drinks. A regular coffee Frap, even supersized, has 350 calories and 4.5 grams of fat—not exactly healthy, but not quite a heart attack in a cup, either.

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