REVIEW: Starbucks Spicy Cream Cold Foam

The barista raised her eyebrow after I placed my order. “Have you….” she paused. “Have you tried the spicy stuff yet?”

I ordered my standard drink (three shots over ice) and added the new Spicy Cream Cold Foam from Starbucks. This order prompted the barista to ask me the question laced with unspoken caution. No doubt people have been trying the drinks and, I’m guessing, disliking them. “No, I’m just curious to try it,” I answered.

The “swicy” (spicy + sweet) trend started in late 2023, but the combination of sweet and spicy is not new. I’ve been enjoying swicy foods such as hot honey and Tajin-dusted fruits for a while. By having the sweet element, it cuts down on the burning aspects that come with most spicy flavors that aren’t an enjoyable sensation to everyone.

Getting the drink, I could see the chili blend (paprika, chili powder, ancho chili powder, and cayenne pepper) in the cold foam. Interestingly, I couldn’t smell it; it smelled like the standard cold foam. My curiosity got the best of me, and I tried the foam on its own. At first, the blend of sweet heat was enjoyable. The creamy sweetness of the cold foam and chili spices gave me that swicy flavor I enjoy. However, a few moments later, things took a bit of a turn.

After the initial taste, I felt an uncomfortable, dry burning in the back of my throat. Even without knowing the exact spice blend at the time, I immediately knew the culprit for my discomfort: cayenne pepper. It had to be cayenne, as the sensation was exactly the same as when I tried the Master Cleanse diet years ago, which involved mixing maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper into water.

Giving my drink a swirl, I took a sip to see if the espresso would help mellow the cayenne a bit. At the top of the sip, the addition of the espresso was wonderful. The normally somewhat bitter bean juice was smooth and had a bit of sweetness. The flavors were working so well, only to be ruined by the aftereffect of the cayenne’s dull burn in my throat.

I love seeing Starbucks taking swings with some of its newer drinks, but this wasn’t the home run I had hoped it would be. The flavor was outstanding, but the physical sensation from the cayenne was terribly uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I reached the last few sips that I tapped out. No amount of swirling could stop the settling of spice at the bottom of the drink. I imagine an iced latte might be better suited for the Spicy Cream Cold Foam, but I don’t think potentially being uncomfortable again is worth a second attempt.

Purchased Price: $4.90 (drink + cold foam)
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Cold foam nutrition facts are unavailable on Starbucks’ website.

3 thoughts to “REVIEW: Starbucks Spicy Cream Cold Foam”

  1. Ah yes my cold foam drinks look the same. Look, I love cold foam and used to wish for more… but over half of my drink is just foam these days…

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