REVIEW: Starbucks Discoveries (Caffe Mocha, Caramel Macchiato & Vanilla Latte)

Starbucks Discoveries

I don’t go to Starbucks very often. When I do, it’s usually to buy a gift card, use their restroom, or jump on their free WiFi network and be a complete douchebag by trying to slow down everyones’ bandwidth. But when it comes to coffee, Starbucks has given me a few good reasons to not purchase any from one of their bazillion locations.

No, it’s not the taste of their coffee, which coffee snobs describe as, and I’m paraphrasing here, “blech.” No, it’s not the long lines that sometimes snake half way around a Starbucks. The reason why I don’t buy Starbucks coffee from one of their many locations is because I nervously mumble when trying to relay my order to a cute barista and I can buy ready-to-drink Starbucks coffee at my local supermarket, like their bottled iced coffee and new Starbucks Discoveries.

Starbucks Discoveries is a chilled espresso beverage that comes in three flavors — Caffe Mocha, Vanilla Latte, and Caramel Macchiato — and 50.7-ounce cartons, which is significantly smaller than the 64-ounce International Delight Iced Coffee it’s probably sitting next to in the dairy case. Also, unlike the International Delight offering, the carton doesn’t look like a milk carton. Instead, it looks like it was made by an origami master who reached that level by folding a million paper cranes.

Starbucks Discoveries are sweetened with sugar and mixed with reduced-fat milk. They’re sweet, but don’t come close to the sweetness level of International Delight’s iced coffee, which, not surprisingly, has significantly more sugar than Starbucks Discoveries (17 grams vs. 23 grams). Starbucks Discoveries are also noticeably watery, but that’s because they don’t contain the thickening agents found in the International Delight coffee — gellan gum and carrageenan. Well, actually, the Caffe Mocha has carrageenan, but it’s as watery as the others.

Starbucks Discoveries Chilled

If you do pick up a carton of Starbucks Discoveries, I highly recommend you ONLY drink it over ice. Ignore what the side of the carton says about serving it just chilled. Drinking it that way is doing a disservice to your taste buds. I can’t explain why, but for some strange reason, it tastes noticeably better when consumed over ice.

If you’re a hardcore Starbucks fanatic who will never lose your Gold Card because you accumulate 30 stars every two weeks, you may drink Starbucks Discoveries and wonder what is this swill. It’s not as sweet as a hand-crafted Frappuccino, but its coffee flavor isn’t as strong as any iced coffee Starbucks product on their menu.

Starbucks Discoveries Closeup

The Mocha Latte tastes like weak melted chocolate ice cream with a Hershey’s syrup aftertaste, the Caramel Macchiato has a slightly odd caramel butteriness that lingers several minutes after drinking it, and the Vanilla Latte has a hint of vanilla and the strongest coffee flavor of the bunch. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Vanilla Latte because I didn’t use a negative adjective when writing about it in the previous sentence.

All three flavors of Starbucks Discoveries were decent and provided approximately 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup, but I’m a bit disappointed because I expected something better from Starbucks. After all, they do sell a krazillion cups of coffee everyday from their bazillion locations.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 fl oz – Caffe Mocha – 120 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 10% calcium and 2% iron. Caramel Macchiato & Vanilla Latte – 120 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, and 10% calcium.)

Other Starbucks Discoveries reviews:
Starbucks Melody

Item: Starbucks Discoveries (Caffe Mocha, Caramel Macchiato & Vanilla Latte)
Purchased Price: $5.49 (on sale)
Size: 50.7 fl oz carton
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Caffe Mocha)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Caramel Macchiato)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Vanilla Latte)
Pros: Flavors were decent. Less sugar than International Delight’s regular iced coffee. Kind of a neat looking carton. A cup contains approximately 85 milligrams of caffeine. Starbucks’ free WiFi.
Cons: I expected something better from Starbucks. Hardcore Starbucks drinkers may consider this product to be swill. Comes in a smaller carton than competing iced coffees. Being too lazy to add the accent mark above the e in Caffe.

11 thoughts to “REVIEW: Starbucks Discoveries (Caffe Mocha, Caramel Macchiato & Vanilla Latte)”

  1. I think these are the coolest things ever ! I’ve been drinking a steady diet of Starbucks since college and I think the vanilla latte one is delicious and highly suggest it.

    In fact, I never could put my finger on why the International Delight ones were so weird. Now I know…they are slightly congealed. I’d be interested to see which one has more caffeine.

  2. We dont have a starbucks in our county, so when I saw the Starbucks Discoveries at my local Raleys, I bought it. What a disappointment! If you close your eyes while drinking it you cant taste any hint of the Starbucks flavor that I adore. So I buy the Starbucks K-cups, mix with 1/2 & 1/2 and ice and I have a drink that is decent. Not nearly as good as what I can get at an actual Starbucks but easier than driving 60 miles to the nearest Starbucks. I really think its a good idea not to put one here in Siskiyuou County, CA because I would need a part time job (in addition to my full time job) so I could afford my Starbucks habit. I guess you could say I am hooked on my Starbucks coffees:)

  3. the Discoveries Caramel Macchiato can you tell me where I can purchase this I’ve tried it at a meeting and really enjoyed it but can not find it any where in pa.Can it be ordered from somewhere or not..

  4. carol, if you’re in or near pittsburgh, it’s everywhere. even walmart. check out giant eagle, one of the bigger targets like east lib or waterfront and i know century 3/west mifflin super walmart has it, for sure.

  5. No one has mentioned another use for these. I’m not real big on iced coffee but I am hooked on Starbucks so when I saw this in the store, I purchased the Caramel Macchiato to try it out. Over ice and chilled it’s ok. But one morning I made a pot of regular coffee and discovered I was out of creamer. I looked in the fridge for milk and saw the Starbucks. OK so I’ll just use this as a flavored creamer. Crazy, you say? Wrong? Interfering with the natural design of things? Not at all. These products (I have now tried them all) work beautifully with expensive coffee, cheap coffee and even instant coffee. The added flavor is not as intense as you might expect but it adds enough class to a cup to make it a pleasant experience.

  6. Vanilla Latte is the only reason why I go to Starbucks … try it with whipped cream! Delicious! The only thing in the US that slightly reminds me of a cappuccino – a must for a 100% Italian like me! 😉

  7. I have to disagree with the overall review. Different from the writer of the article; I AM a regular at Starbucks and I saw this new beverage at Target. Decided to try it and LOVED IT! It tastes EXACTLY like it was just made. And note that the only drinks I usually get at Starbucks are iced drinks so I am a connoisseur of sorts. haha. I usually get a white mocha at Starbucks but this new drink doesn’t come in that flavor so I tried the caramel macchiatto for the 1st time. It actually tasted more like the white mocha I usually get when I go to a Starbucks. Didn’t notice any strong caramel flavor at all, which is fine with me.


  8. I am very sad that Starbucks has taken the Caffe’ Mocha Discoveries off the shelves. The Discoveries had not been out very long when they took them off the shelves and replace them with iced espresso caffe’ mocha which has more calories, more sugar, higher cholesterol and list goes on. “The Discoveries Mocha was not broken” why take it away?

  9. I have been taking part on a Starbucks Icecoffee test, en can just say that it’s awesome! I like it so much, and drink every morning one cup of icecoffee

  10. Never go to Starbucks…don’t drink coffee…but love coffee ice cream, mocha shakes, etc. I read that there is an element in coffee that aids in weight loss. So, I started drinking the “skinny” version of the 48oz Starbucks iced coffee and lattes. I ate very little…drank this “coffee” and…I am here to tell you…4 months and 40 lbs lost later…I LOVE this stuff. Wish I could find it in more stores. Thanks, Starbucks…it’s wonderful to feel and look and be skinny again.

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