Honestly, over the last year I’ve noticed a significant decline in the quality of desserts and other pastries served at Shanghai-area Starbucks stores. But that ongoing experience in disappointment was little preparation for my shock when I found this particular item in the dessert case at a Starbucks in Xujiahui this morning.
No, it’s not a picture of the July 4th hotdog bun still in the back of my refrigerator. And no, this isn’t proof that Starbucks has stopped cleaning up at the end of the evening shift.
Instead, it’s the 12 RMB (US$1.57) Green Tea Eclair, and I am here to tell you that it might be the most vile dessert ever made. As bad as it looks. Maybe even worse. Bitter as coal dust. Just. Plain. Awful.
In early April Jacob Weisberg of Slate had a marvelous piece on the recent green tea fad in the United States. He points out that – though medical science does suggest that green tea may have health benefits – mixing the tea into high-calorie deserts, soft drinks and Frappuccinos probably negates whatever benefit might have been derived from the tea itself. I suppose that goes for eclairs sprinkled with green tea fairy dust, too. For those who care to find out for themselves, there’s a sample in my kitchen trash bin, one bite missing.