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Experiences

I Try a Different Starbucks Drink Every Time and Here are my Thoughts

Considering just how indecisive I am in most areas of my life, I’m not sure why I expect my trips to Starbucks to be any different. I have been frequenting the coffee chain regularly for way too long to not have a set order, and I am still far from it. Every week I find new items, and something in me insists that I taste-test as many as possible. So far I’ve only chipped away at a tiny fraction of the vast varieties of magic energy liquids that they offer, and I will provide you with the most notable results of my experimenting so you don’t have to expend quite as much money as me doing your own adventurous tastings. 

Hot coffees

Almond milk Honey Flat White: I think I saw the word “honey” and added this to my GrubHub cart because besides that, I’m not exactly sure why I decided this was going to be a great idea. First of all, I still have no clue what a “flat white” is, and I don’t even really like almondmilk all that much. But with that being said, I thought this drink was decent. It wasn’t sugary enough for my sweet tooth, but if you like your coffee on the more bitter/bland side and you like almond milk, this could have potential for you. I can’t say I will be reordering this anytime soon though.

Cafe Americano: I still cannot believe I thought I would enjoy this. The people who can look you in the eye and say with all seriousness that they enjoy drinking a black Starbucks’ Cafe Americano frankly intimidate me. Unless you are so desperate for caffeine with essentially 0 calories, I would 0/10, not recommend. With that being said, add some sugar and milk and you might just find some way to make it drinkable.

Pumpkin Spice Latte: Big pivot from the last one, but honestly, I was kind of disappointed with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely not bad, but considering all the hype the PSL gets, I was surprisingly dissatisfied. It was very sweet and the flavors just didn’t wow me like I expected them to.

Cocoa Cloud Macchiato: This is a classic for me, and probably one of the only drinks I’ve ordered more than once. I like the hot version better than iced because it does have a hint of hot chocolate to it (it is called a mocha after all). Overall it uses fairly simple flavors but it’s still really good in my opinion.

Hazelnut Mocha Coconutmilk Macchiato: Did I order this one simply because it had a long, complicated title that sounded fancy? Yes. Was it worth it? 100%. This is like the boujee Californian older cousin of the cocoa cloud macchiato that I just mentioned. It’s essentially a creamy mocha with a little extra sweetness and a hint of nutty flavor to it. Not only will the caffeine from the espresso keep me going for hours, the added sugar high temporarily turns me into an unstoppable force of productivity. It’s spectacular.

Iced Drinks

Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso: What kind of basic teenage girl college student would I be if I didn’t order this pretty much as soon as it came out? This may win for the longest titled drink Starbucks has created so far, and it lived up to its hype. Comparatively, it is fairly low in calories which I appreciate, and it has just the right amount of sweetness and coffee flavor. Plus, oat milk is my new favorite food trend thanks to its sweet, creamy flavor and low environmental impact. 10/10 would recommend jumping on this bandwagon, and who knows, maybe I’ll even have to order this a second time…

Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso: If the Oatmilk Shaken Espresso was so good, why wouldn’t their only other shaken espresso be good too? I couldn’t have been more wrong. Boy, do I regret this one. It was almost cafe americano bad but in a whole new way. I could taste the chocolate but it just did not go with the almondmilk. The way it was made created the weirdest and most incompatible sets of flavors. I have mentioned that I don’t like almond milk, so again I’m not quite sure what made me think this was a good idea, because it was most definitely not.

Chai Tea Latte: I promise I do not live and breathe pure coffee. I wouldn’t be truly exploring everything Starbucks had to offer if I didn’t try their teas or refreshers. I got their iced chai tea latte and it did not disappoint. For those that have never had chai before, drinking it tastes like autumn is slowly seeping into your body. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are some of my favorite and the most prominent of the chai spices. If you don’t like coffee, this is a sweet and flavorful drink that’s not too high in caffeine. Makes me feel happy and cozy just thinking about it. It’s good hot but you cannot go wrong with the iced version.

Violet Drink: Lastly we have the lesser-known twist on the classic pink drink. While the pink drink uses a strawberry and coconut milk mixture to give it that light bubble-gum-pink tint, the violet drink takes its (shockingly) violet color from blackberries. I was just trying to be fancy on this one, I really have no preference over the two berries, I just thought the purple color looked cooler. I can fully endorse this one if you need a sugar kick without the mind altering drug called caffeine I pretend I’m not addicted to.

Moral of the story is I think I should stop giving my money to this overpriced multimillion dollar company. But I sure have been amusing myself experimenting with the 25+ drink variations I’ve tried and will keep testing. I know that this is not nearly an exhaustive list, and does not even begin to cover all the different categories of drinks they sell, but if you’re looking to peek out of your comfort zone to try something new, I hope this list is remotely helpful! Additionally, just because I don’t like something does not automatically mean that you will also hate it as well. So if you like to stick to your black cafe americanos or really can’t get enough of that chocolate almond milk shaken espresso, I respect that everyone’s taste is unique even if I am still silently judging. Starbucks wouldn’t have so many options if they weren’t all someone’s favorite!

Hi! I'm Phoebe, a second year from Connecticut studying economics and computer science at UVA. In what little free time I have, I enjoy puzzles, listening to podcasts, going for walks, and spending time with friends. I also love traveling, all things food related, and cats! I hope you enjoy my eclectic mix of articles :)
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