Every year, as part of its Christmas Traditions, coffee giant Starbucks launches a new set of highly anticipated limited edition planners. Obtainable only by completing a collection of 18 stickers given upon purchase of handcrafted beverages, it has become a must-have for many, coffee fans or not.
This year, Starbucks did a few things differently with its planner promo:
- When you’ve completed your stickers, you can choose to redeem either a Starbucks Planner or a Starbucks Travel Organizer. This new variant is probably because travel ranks high in the bucket list of many coffee aficionados. In fact, I prefer it myself as I think it will be more flexible to use.
- Your planner or travel organizer comes with a Christmas Traditions Starbucks card. Activating this card with at least Php500 and registering it to a new or existing Starbucks Rewards account will entitle you to join a raffle that could win you free Starbucks beverages for a year.
- No more prescribed number of Christmas Blend drinks. You get stickers for every purchase of tall, grande or venti handcrafted beverage. This includes any brewed, espresso, Frapuccino or Teavana drinks purchased during the promo period.
- You can collect virtual stickers using the Starbucks mobile app. No need to scour through your wallets looking for the card that houses the planner stickers. When you purchase your Starbucks drinks using the mobile app, e-stickers are automatically credited to your Starbucks account. (The downside of this is that you can no longer accept stickers from other Starbucks diners who are not collecting, unless they course the payment for their drinks through the app on your phone.)
More details on the promo can be found here.
With these changes to its mechanics and planner offer (and being an avid Starbucks fan myself), I decided to try to get a planner by going to different Starbucks outlets and trying out different drinks. I will pay for the drinks using the Starbucks mobile app on my phone so I can earn the required e-stickers for the planner.
Plus, I’ll also document the journey on my Instagram page, using the hashtag #JourneyToStarbucks2019Planner.
And now, allow me to share my Journey to the Starbucks 2019 Planner with you.
e-Stickers #1 and #2: Signature Hot Choco at Starbucks, Pearl Plaza
My absolute fave among Starbucks drinks has always been the Signature Hot Choco. I find it rich, chocolatey and quite comforting especially when I’m dealing with work or blogging tasks.
Oh, and since I registered and used the mobile app to earn planner e-stickers on the first day of the promo, I get an extra e-sticker.
e-Stickers #3 and #4: Peppermint Mocha and Snowy Cranberry White Mocha at Starbucks, Arcovia City
Among Starbucks’ Christmas Blends, I always go for the Peppermint Mocha. The taste of rich chocolate and the cool and fresh feel of perppermint just evokes the holiday mood for me.
My daughter, on the other hand, opted to try the new Christmas Blend Snowy White Cranberry Mocha.
e-Sticker #5: Caffe Americano at Starbucks, ABS-CBN
Since it was a back-to-work Monday and I badly needed a pick-me-up, I opted for a Caffe Americano. It’s basically espresso in hot water, which got me missing my usual 3-in-1 coffees so I added some cream and brown sugar.
e-Sticker #6: Cold Foam Iced Espresso at Starbucks, Sunnymede IT Center
I headed to a relatively nearby Starbucks outlet which I have never ventured to and got myself Cold Foam Iced Espresso. Ice-cold espresso is poured into my Starbucks tumbler through creamy cold foam made from blended non-fat milk.
e-Sticker #7: Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey, at Starbucks, Eugenio Lopez Drive
Apparently, I’ve had too much caffeine. (The things I go through for a Starbucks planner, hehehe!) After a bout of headaches the previous night, I decided to dial down on the caffeine and went for an Iced Shaken Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit and Honey. This drink is light, fruity and and refreshing, a good thirst-quencher.
e-Sticker #8: Iced Shaken Hibiscus Tea at Starbucks, ABS-CBN
As I was still on hiatus from too much caffeine, I continued my affair with tea by getting myself an Ice Shaken Hibiscus Tea to go with my packed lunch. This pretty fuchsia-colored drink is a great chaser for my burger baon.
e-Stickers #9, #10 and #11: Green Tea Cream, Dark Mocha Frappuccino and Iced Matcha Espresso Fusion at Starbucks, SM East Ortigas
I made a last-minute errand to the mall the excuse to treat my mom and my daughter #ExhibitA to post-dinner drinks. My mom got herself and Green Tea Cream, while my daughter went for a Dark Mocha Frappuccino. I, on the other hand, got an Iced Matcha Espresso Fusion which combines coffee, tea and skimmed milk in one pretty and earthy beverage. We basically were three generations of women bonding over coffee.
e-Sticker #12: Iced Shaken Hibiscus Tea with Pomegranate Pearls at Starbucks, Timog
On my way to work, I dropped by the Starbucks outlet at the Imperial Palace Suites and got myself an Iced Shaken Hibiscus Tea with Pomegranate Pearls to go. I drank this exotic concoction to revitalize myself while catching up on emails.
e-Sticker #13: Cold Foam Iced Espresso at Starbucks, Eugenio Lopez Drive
At this sprawling Starbucks store, I had a Cold Foam Iced Espresso together with a Chicken Salad Croissant for lunch. Being used to sweets, I had to add two packets of brown sugar to the mixture. Fortunately, I brought my Starbucks tumbler. I just did a little shake-shake-shake to adequately mix the drink and sugar.
e-Sticker #14: Snowy Cranberry White Mocha at Starbucks, ABS-CBN
I went for a well-deserved coffee break in between meetings at the office. I opted for a hot version of the Snowy Cranberry White Mocha, one of the Christmas Blends. The toasty taste of the mocha with a creamy feel and a shot of alertness-boosting espresso gave me some much needed mojo to carry myself through the rest of day.
e-Sticker #15: Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew at Starbucks, UP Town Center
On my way to a foodie meetup, I whiled away the time at this Starbucks branch in UP Town Center.
I got myself another cold brew drink I’ve been wanting to try: the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. Starbucks’ signature cold brew (coarsely ground beans steeped in room temperature or cold water for 14 hours) is topped with a house-made vanilla sweet cream float that slowly cascades down the cup, tempering the coffee with the smooth vanilla flavored cream.
e-Sticker #16: Iced Shaken Green Tea at Starbucks, Ayala Fairview Terraces
On my way to a foodie meetup at this mall which is so far from my usual haunts, I got myself an Iced Shaken Green Tea at its Starbucks outlet to tide me over and quench my thirst. What a relief it was to sip on something cold and light after braving the Commonwealth traffic!
e-Stickers #17 and #18: Dark Mocha Frappuccino and Vanilla Cream Frappucino at Starbucks, SM East Ortigas
My reward for myself and for #ExhibitA after accomplishing our weekend errands is treating ourselves to a slice of richly decadent Blueberry Cheesecake at Starbucks.
My daughter opted for her favorite Dark Mocha Frap but, in keeping with my resolution at the start of this journey to try out new drinks at every opportunity, I went for the Vanilla Cream Frappuccino. It’s an all-white concoction made from vanilla bean, milk and ice topped with whipped cream. Plus, it’s thankfully free of caffeine
so I can look forward to a good night’s rest in preparation for another busy work week.
And so… ten days after I started collecting e-stickers, here’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
Presented with the choice between a Starbucks Planner or a Travel Organizer, I opted for the latter as I think it’s more handy and suits my journaling and note-taking style better. And veering away from my usual preference for neutral colors, I chose the teal-colored option.
From this journey, I guess you can say I’m a Starbucks fan. What I like about this experience is that it encouraged me to explore more of Starbucks’ beverage offerings other than my usual orders (inspired decision to do away with the required number of Christmas blends stickers, Starbucks!). I discovered some new drinks that appealed to me like the iced shaken teas, cold foam and cold brew beverages.
As my way of thanking you for reading through this journey, here are some of the intel I gathered from being such a Starbucks coffee addict that you may find useful:
- Did you know you can save some cash when you bring your own mug or tumbler to Starbucks to hold your drink orders? The baristas will slash off Php5 off your drink bill.
- Better yet, join the Starbucks Rewards Program. You get a free grande-sized drink of your choice (with a complimentary add-on) after purchasing 12 drinks. You also get a free drink or a free dessert on your birthday.
- Did you know that you can request the baristas to give you spent coffee grounds which you can use to fertilize your garden? These are best for plants that grow well in acidic soil.
- It’s not on the menu but most hot drinks have a short size which will normally cost Php5 less than the tall-sized version of the drink. Short drinks are not eligible to get planner stickers, however.
- If you’re concerned about the amount of calories in your drink, you can either order teas or get your espresso or frappe beverages with soy milk or non-fat milk minus the whipped cream.
See you on my next foodie adventure!
Check out my other recent post about Starbucks: Tea 101 at Starbucks, SM East Ortigas