I Tried 5 Starbucks Secret Menu Drinks: Frappe Edition

I’m not a coffee drinker, so I never really go to Starbucks. And even if I do end up going, which is a rare occurrence, I always get the same two drinks: either a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino or an Iced Chai Latte. So, the other day, I decided that it was time I stepped out of my comfort zone and experimented a little bit. I mean, everyone’s always posting their Starbucks drink on Instagram Stories, and so many students walk around campus with a Starbucks drink in hand. There must be a valid reason for why everyone seems to love this iconic coffee chain so much. 

In the past, I have come across and read tons of articles and watched YouTube videos of people trying Starbucks “Secret Menu” drinks, which has always been intriguing. The Starbucks secret menu is basically a phrase used to talk about the drinks that aren't officially listed on the Starbucks menu but can be made if you order them a specific way. There are tons of these off-menu drinks that people are fans of so I figured, instead of being basic and trying out the caramel frappe or pumpkin spice latte, why not try some of these “secret menu” drinks out and see for myself what all the hype is about?

And also, this was just an excuse to get more cold drinks in these last few days of hot summer weather. 

Before deciding on my final list of the 5 frappuccinos I was going to test out, I did some intensive research. And by that I mean I browsed through Pinterest and starbuckssecretmenu.net to find the best secret menu frappuccino recipes. I even consulted with a Starbucks barista to ensure that the recipes I had found on the Internet were actually legit and that the baristas wouldn’t look at me like I was crazy. 

I discovered all the following recipes online, so I’m not taking any credit for them, but I did tweak some of them to better suit my preferences. Also, all the recipes are for a tall frappuccino, so if you get a grande or venti, you might have to alter the number of pumps of syrup accordingly. Without further ado, here is my list of the 5 Starbucks Secret Menu Frappuccinos I tried this week. 

 

Frappe Number 1: Red Velvet Frappuccino

What to Order:

  • Half White Mocha/Half Regular Mocha Frappuccino (more commonly known as a Black and White Mocha)
  • 2 pumps of Raspberry Syrup
  • Top with whipped cream

Day 1 of ordering Starbucks secret menu frappes is a particularly hot day, so I am excited to get a cold and refreshing frappe. Okay, I have a confession to make. In general, I always get very stressed when ordering food or drinks. And, the secret menu drink recipes can be a little long and complicated, so I am already freaking out as I am standing in line, waiting to order. I have the recipe pulled up on my phone because I want to make sure that I am not going to mess up and embarrass myself.  

I get to the front of the line, and I say my spiel. The barista picks up a cup and starts writing all over it. I am so nervous about getting the order correct that, as I’m reading off my phone, I somehow forget to say the word “frappuccino”. (face palm) And I don’t even notice that the cup in her hand is a hot drink cup. (face palm again) 

I get my Red Velvet Latte and that is when I realize the stupid mistake I made. Great. Day 1 and I’m already failing at this challenge. And what is even worse is that it is actually scorchingly hot outside. Really great. I’m that genius walking around campus with a hot drink in the 85 degree weather. 

Not gonna lie, I was super disappointed in myself, and I couldn’t believe I forgot to mention that I wanted a frappuccino. But one failed drink was not going to stop me. I was determined to get the Red Velvet Frappuccino. I tried ordering it again the next day. And it was a fail again. I ended up with an Iced Red Velvet Latte instead of a Frappuccino. However, the drink tasted pretty good. I could definitely taste the coffee, but I couldn’t tell there was raspberry syrup in there. Maybe the taste of the coffee was too strong and overpowering. Maybe the barista forgot to add the two pumps. Maybe it was just a confusing drink. Either way, I sort of gave up on it and decided to just move on to the next frappe. 

Rating: 2/5  If it hadn’t been a fail and was actually frappuccino, I might have rated it higher.

Would I Recommend?: Probably not It just seems like a confusing drink to order, and it didn’t really taste like Red Velvet. However, if your Starbucks ordering skills are better than mine, which they probably are, and if you really like coffee, you might end up liking it.

 

Frappe Number 2: Cotton Candy Frappuccino

What to Order:

  • Vanilla Bean Frappuccino
  • 2 pumps of Raspberry Syrup
  • Top with whipped cream

I was pretty disappointed at my two failed drinks, but I still had some hope, so I decided to try the Cotton Candy Frappuccino next. This was actually on the official Starbucks menu a few years ago but was discontinued. It was the simplest one to order out of all the five frappes and is just a fun twist to the already amazing Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. The Cotton Candy Frappe definitely tasted sweet like a Vanilla Bean Frappe, but the raspberry syrup added an extra subtle flavor to it. That underlying taste was sort of bubblegum-y as opposed to actual cotton candy, but I wasn’t mad at that. 

However, I was expecting it to be pink in color, like all the pictures and articles I found online. But, sadly, it just looked like a regular Vanilla Bean Frappe, so that was a little bit of a letdown. The original recipe called for 1 pump of raspberry syrup, but I went with 1.5 pumps. But, if you really want to be able to fully taste the raspberry and have a sweet tooth, I’d definitely recommend getting 2 pumps of raspberry syrup. 

Rating: 4/5  If it was pink in color, I would have rated it a 4.5/5.

Would I Recommend?: Definitely It is a simple drink to order, is nothing too crazy or experimental, but still tastes interesting and fun. It’s the kind of drink almost anyone would appreciate.

Frappe Number 3: Ferrero Rocher Frappuccino

What to Order:

  • Java Chip Frappuccino
  • 1.5 pumps of Hazelnut Syrup
  • Top with whipped cream

This one is for all the Ferrero Rocher and Nutella lovers out there. This frappe was so delicious and tasted like a heavenly, rich, chocolate-y dessert. The java chips and hazelnut syrup are what made this frappe taste so incredibly similar to the iconic Italian chocolate. And the best part is that, like the Cotton Candy Frappe, it’s not that complicated to order! Right after I tried this out, I immediately texted my mom and told her she needed to try it because she loves the classic Java Chip Frappuccino, and it’s the only drink she ever gets at Starbucks. She’s less experimental than I am, so she is never willing to try any other Starbucks drink. She did get it the next day, and she loved it, as well. 

Rating: 5/5  I mean, it has hazelnut and chocolate. Name a better duo. I’ll wait.

Would I Recommend?: Um, YES. It’s perfect for when you’re craving chocolate which, for me, is pretty much all the time. 

 

Frappe Number 4: Horchata Frappuccino

What to Order:

  • Chai Frappuccino
  • 1/2 pump of Vanilla Syrup
  • 1 pump of Cinnamon Dolce syrup
  • 2 pumps of Chai Syrup
  • Top with whipped cream

Like the Cotton Candy Frappe, the Horchata Frappe was also on the Starbucks menu but was later discontinued. But, that’s okay, because you can still order it off the “secret menu”! For those of you who may have never heard of horchata, it is a Mexican drink typically made from rice, almonds, cinnamon, sugar, and sometimes with nuts or seeds. Basically, it tastes like heaven which is why you need to go check if your nearest Mexican restaurant serves it. But, in the meantime, you can just get this in a frappe form at your nearest Starbucks!

I absolutely love horchata so I was particularly excited to try this drink out, but I was also very hesitant because I felt like it was not going to match up to the traditional horchata iced drink. Still, I wanted to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did. This drink tastes so much like horchata it’s crazy! I was not expecting the flavors to be this accurate. It had the perfect amount of cinnamon, vanilla, and chai syrup and even though it might seem strange that the base is a Chai Frappuccino when horchata doesn’t have tea in it, but trust me. Somehow, it works. And it works beautifully. 

Rating: 5/5  Honestly speaking though, it’s more of a 6/5.

Would I Recommend?: 100% Out of all these frappes, this is one you absolutely NEED to try out. It’s that good.

 

Frappe Number 5: Butterbeer Frappuccino

What to Order:

  • Vanilla Bean Frappuccino
  • 1 pump of Caramel Syrup
  • 1 pump of Toffee Nut Syrup
  • Cup lined with caramel drizzle
  • Top with whipped cream

I was definitely the most excited to try out this one, which is why I saved the best for last. In case you don’t know, Butterbeer is an iconic drink from the Harry Potter franchise that can be hot or cold. It is served at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, and trying the drink is every Potterhead’s dream. In the books, the drink is described as having a sweet, butterscotch flavor, but that’s all that is mentioned about it, so it really depends on what each person envisions it to taste as. I have always thought of Butterbeer as being a sweet and refreshing drink that makes you feel warm on the inside. I haven’t been to the Wizarding World, sadly, but I have always looked up fan recipes and tried to make it at home. It was never a success. When I came across the Butterbeer Frappuccino recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it out. And let me just say. It. Was. Incredible. 

The recipe that I found online was for a grande size for I did have to alter the number of pumps of syrup. It called for a Creme Frappuccino so I went with the Vanilla Bean Frappe as the base. I actually asked for 2 pumps of caramel syrup, but with the caramel drizzle lined in the cup, it becomes a little too sweet, but I didn’t mind it that much. In the future, though, I will probably get only one pump of caramel syrup. I can’t think of how to describe the taste of it except that it was caramel-y and very sweet. The toffee nut and caramel combination is reminiscent of a butterscotch flavor that is described in the books. But instead of a cold water-based drink, it has a milk base to it and is in a frappe form.  

Rating: 5/5  The sugar content is probably super high in this, but it’s definitely worth it.

Would I Recommend?: Duh! If you are a Potterhead, you simply have to try it!

So those were all the Starbucks "Secret Menu" Frappuccinos I tried this week, and I have to say, I was very surprised. I think I sort of do understand the hype now and will definitely be going to Starbucks a lot more now which is probably not the best thing for my wallet, but, oh well! I hope you enjoyed reading about my thoughts on all the drinks, and that I gave you some fun ideas of Starbucks Frappuccinos you can try next time you're there!