REVIEW: Starbucks Cotton Candy Crème Frappuccino

Starbucks Cotton Candy Cre?me Frappuccino

Do you love food hacks? Do you hate baristas giving you annoyed and/or confused looks? Well, I have got big news for you! Starbucks has released six “new” flavors of its trademarked frozen treat straight from the super secret menu! From June 16th to the 30th, they are asking customers to vote for their favorite – Are you ready for the Frappuccino Flav-Off?!

The new offerings are in celebration of the Frappuccino’s 20th anniversary. Wow, 20 years! To think, in just one year’s time our little Frap will be legally able to mix itself with whiskey! Where does the time go?

At first I thought the ad said Starbucks was turning 20, and it blew my mind for a good half hour. According to Google, there is a Starbucks every 17 square feet on planet Earth. Antarctica has 46 of ‘em. There’s a Starbucks inside of the White House. Malia works there…

But we’re not here to discuss our supreme overlords at the Starbucks Corporation, or my inability to read, we’re here to review just one of the many delicious, refreshing, energizing, expensive Starbucks menu items.

Of all the new choices, the flavor that caught my eye most was Cotton Candy. Besides Lemon Bar, I felt like I could already imagine what the other flavors tasted like – Cinnamon Roll, Caramel Cocoa Cluster, Cupcake, and Red Velvet. Those are more Starbucks’ speed. I had to go with the odd ball of the bunch.

As you can see it’s probably the brightest and most flamboyant drink Starbucks currently offers. If I were them I would market it with the old saying “Pink is the new black.” Is pink still the new black or did orange steal pink’s thunder? To Google I go! … Google told me to go outside.

My first sip definitely put me in mind of classic cotton candy flavor. It reminded me of the cotton candy popsicles I used to buy from the ice cream man as a kid, sans the candy cigarette side dish. Unfortunately, as I sipped on, the cotton candy flavor faded quickly.

According to menu hackers and Starbucks alike, the flavor derives from mixing raspberry and vanilla bean syrup (I watched my barista mix those with half a cup of milk and tons of ice.) While I did definitely taste raspberry, as the ice melted and diluted the flavor, it almost tasted like melted strawberry – not raspberry – ice cream. I would say it was like a weak strawberry shake. It got worse as I went along. I’d say drink it fast, but we all know how that ends.

I did get a cotton candy-ish scent, but the stubborn whipped cream refused to really let it blast through. Actually, on that topic, as with most Frappuccinos, I found myself enjoying the whipped cream as much as the drink itself. It has always been the perfect complement to the frozen mix, and it blended well in this instance. If given the choice, always say yes to whipped cream.

Starbucks Cotton Candy Cre?me Frappuccino 2

The consistency was more Slurpee or Slush Puppy than the usual Frap… but that could be thanks to the glacier my barista added to the blender. It wasn’t as thick as the last Frap I had, and despite ordering the smallest size it still went down pretty heavy – which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. I wasn’t really anticipating a meal replacement, but I got one anyway. If you opt for a Grande, Venti, or Trenta, you may not have to eat again.

Just in case you were wondering, I felt I should inform you this Frap has no hint whatsoever of Starbucks’s famous elixir. There is no coffee mixed in. You’re not gonna get your caffeine fix, although the sugar overload will probably make up for it.

So all in all, this is a one-time try. I mentioned earlier that the pink caught my eye and I probably knew how the others tasted, but maybe there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken. Still, melted strawberry ice cream with a hint of raspberry and vanilla is a pretty good taste profile, and if you’re looking for a change of pace, I guess it can’t hurt to buy it once.

I’m going to be very curious to see how this fares in the Frappuccino Flav-Off. Something tells me it’s going to be a contender, but ultimately lose out.

Back to the secret menu with you, cotton candy.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 fluid ounces – 280 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 42 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, and 0 milligrams of caffeine.)

Item: Starbucks Cotton Candy Crème Frappuccino
Purchased Price: $3.95
Size: 12 oz.
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Cotton Candy flavor (albeit brief). Ice Cream Man memories. Whipped cream. Filling. Vibrant color.
Cons: It’s “Vin” not “Ben.” Ice overload. Maybe too filling. Menu hack confusion. Unemployed Sasha. Cigarettes marketed to kids. “_____ is the new black.”

5 thoughts to “REVIEW: Starbucks Cotton Candy Crème Frappuccino”

  1. I’ve tried all the new frappuccino flavors, and I must admit, aside from the Cupcake creme flavor, I was very disappointed with the creme based options!
    Here’s my personal ranking of them:
    1.) Cocoa Caramel Cluster (reminded me of a Salted Caramel Mocha which I’m not able to order in Summer!)
    2.) Cupcake Creme (overly sweet and reminded me of the leftover milk from Cap’n Crunch’s Sprinkled Donut Crunch cereal, definitely not something for people who prefer a milder tasting beverage)
    3.) Cinnamon Bun (I liked this because I like their Cinnamon Dolce flavor; I honestly couldn’t taste a real difference, the cinnamon overpowered the white chocolate sauce, and I tried it twice at different locations just to be sure it was made correctly)
    4.) Lemon Bar Creme (I enjoyed this, but it reminded me of a watered down, less impressive Frosted Lemonade from Chick-fil-A)
    5.) Cotton Candy (from here on down, I will never ever order them again, even if they’re free. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of raspberry, but this really brought nothing to the table; it reminded me of medicine I used to take as a child)
    6.) Red Velvet (This flavor didn’t work as well; they used raspberry to turn it red, but aside from that, it tasted nothing like red velvet)

  2. Also enjoying the Google comment about going outside!

    @Caitlin, I also thought of medicine when I saw this pic. Immediately made me think of Pepto Bismal.

  3. I’ve tried all of the flavors as well, and Cotton Candy was my favorite. (Caveat: I can’t seem to adult correctly, and I always prefer Starbucks’ sweeter drinks.) While it tasted nothing like cotton candy to me, it did taste exactly like the Nestle Strawberry Quik syrup of my childhood. (And later, of my divorce.) I loved that strawberry syrup so much I would squeeze the bottle straight into my mouth, and until the whip cream really starts to blend, this is pretty much exactly that.

    Somehow getting it from Starbucks makes me feel a little more “yuppie” and a little less “junkie” than drinking it straight out of the bottle, so I’ll take it.

    Oddly though, that same raspberry syrup in their Red Velvet concoction ends up tasting exactly like a Raspberry Tootsie Pop and doesn’t have that hint of strawberry at all. It doesn’t have a hint of Red Velvet at all either, and was the biggest disappointment of the bunch for me.

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