Caffiend: Starbucks' Venti Double Shot on Ice with Energy Pack

By Niki D'Andrea

Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. (Yes, despite the FDA's decree that caffeine is "safe," it is actually a drug, classified as a "psychoactive stimulant"). The New Scientist estimates that 90% of adults in North America consume caffeine on a daily basis.

I am definitely one of those people in the 90% of daily users. I am also one of the people in the 30% of users who consume what is considered "excessive" or "extreme" amounts of caffeine every day -- more than 300 mg. On average, I consume about 600 mg of caffeine per day, in the various forms of coffees, teas, energy drinks, and sodas. Quite frankly, I'm a caffeine addict. I need a large dose of caffeine to deliver the "caffeine buzz," and when I don't get enough caffeine, I get vicious, debilitating headaches and want to scoop my eyeballs out with a plastic spoon.

My caffeine addiction has lead me to try all manner of caffeinated drinks, and I'll be reviewing many of them for you here in "Caffiend" every week. And as fate would have it, the first drink I'm reviewing is a real ass-kicker that I'd never tried before: the Starbucks Venti Double Shot on ice (with added energy pack).

Starbucks Venti Double Shot on ice (with added energy pack).

Looks like: A layered dessert, with a dark chocolate-colored bottom layer beneath swirls of caramel and light cream, or a light-colored coffee that's alive and dancing in slow circles inside a clear plastic cup.

Tastes like: Creamy, rich coffee goodness. The venti size drink is 24 ounces, and every ounce bursts with a deep, heady roast coffee flavor and a creamy aftertaste (that'd be Starbucks' "classic syrup" and 2% milk).

Smells like: Watered-down coffee (a deceptively tame scent).

Caffeine content: In addition to Starbucks' new "+ Energy" packs (which contain guarana, ginseng, and B vitamins), this bad mamma jamma java contains five espresso shots, which kicks the total caffeine content up to around 375 mg. One can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, so this drink packs more than 4 1/2 times the caffeine of the energy drink that "gives you wings" -- which means this drink could give you jet propulsion.

Makes me feel like: I'm never going to blink again. Seriously, this coffee had me bouncing up and down in the hallway and making strange zing! and woo! sounds at my desk. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. My hands were shaking. This was an extreme caffeine kick, even for me. But I also chugged the entire drink in less than ten minutes. I'd recommend caffeine and coffee fans try it for the delicious flavor, but they should definitely nurse it over a few hours.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea