REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Hazelnut Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Sometimes, I feel a little silly ordering a beverage that’s almost more of a mouthful to say than it is to actually drink, and that was the case when I decided to try the new Iced Hazelnut Oatmilk Shaken Espresso from Starbucks. Shaken espressos aren’t new to Starbucks but it was my first experience with one. I had questions such as “Do I want hazelnut in my coffee? Do I like oatmilk? Do I even know what a shaken espresso is supposed to be?” The answer to all of those was a hesitant “Possibly?” but if you find yourself wondering if you should order this the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”

The drink is made with shots of the chain’s blonde espresso and hazelnut syrup shaken with ice and topped with oatmilk. The ingredient list is simple but the result is more than the sum of its parts. I was genuinely surprised by the amount and sturdiness of the foam produced by the shaking process. It really does make for a different textural experience than just having a drink on ice. The last time I had a coffee featuring oatmilk I was underwhelmed, but here the oatmilk was creamy and complemented the hazelnut flavor perfectly.

As someone who often finds hazelnut flavored coffee creamers off-putting, I thought the syrup was pleasantly nutty, a little toasty, and sweet without being too sweet. It’s certainly more prominent than the flavor of the espresso, but it doesn’t completely overwhelm it. You still know you’re drinking coffee, which is what I want when I order…coffee. A major complaint people have about Starbucks is that a lot of its coffees taste too bitter or burnt, but the lighter roast of the blonde espresso ensures that isn’t an issue here.

From the first sip to the last this latest shaken espresso was so enjoyable and well balanced. I can’t recall the last time I was this happy trying a new coffee and I’m kicking myself for not jumping on the jostled java bandwagon sooner. Somehow all that shaking makes for a very smooth drink I’m struggling to find any fault with. My only problem is I wish I had more of it, but with three espresso shots in a grande, the size was probably just right to not leave me feeling shaky myself. This may have been my first time having one, but it definitely won’t be the last. I’m a person who orders five-words-in-the-title coffees now, and when they’re this good, I’m okay with that.

Purchased Price: $5.95
Size: Grande
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbs, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 16 grams of total sugar, and 2 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Holiday Cold Foams (Peppermint Chocolate, Chestnut Praline, Sugar Cookie, and Caramel Brulee)

The holidays are here, and it’s time to zhuzh up your Starbucks drink with a new holiday cold foam! As many Starbucks enthusiasts know, Starbs (does everyone else call it that? Just me?) likes to really expand its cold brew/cold foam line with new offerings, and these new options align with the four popular holiday beverage flavors. You’ll find Peppermint Chocolate, Chestnut Praline, Sugar Cookie, and Caramel Brulee.

When trying each of these, I chose to add them to a standard cold brew with no other flavors. You could add them to any other drink of your choosing, but for consistency in my review, cold brew it was.

I’ll run down my thoughts on each, and as you can see from my ratings below, I had quite a range of feelings. Note that I first tried a taste of each cold foam on its own to get the full flavor before taking a sip of the drink.

Peppermint Chocolate

If you gave me a spoonful of this stuff, I’d swear it was a chocolate mousse. On its own, this cold foam definitely gives a Peppermint Mocha vibe, and I felt it was more chocolate than peppermint. It distributed nicely into the cold brew as it settled, but it didn’t quite enhance the drink as much as I would have liked. But it is a nice alternative to a Peppermint Mocha if that’s too strong or chocolatey for you.

Chestnut Praline

Womp, womp. My least favorite of the four. This had barely any Chestnut Praline flavoring and tasted too much like a basic vanilla cold foam. I *did* pick up a tiny bit of nuttiness as I went along, but nowhere near as much as I would have liked to consider this a holiday delight.

Sugar Cookie

An iced Sugar Cookie Latte is one of my go-to drinks, so I was super eager for this one, and it didn’t disappoint. When I tried the foam alone, I got a nice, strong flavor from the Sugar Cookie syrup. Just like the Peppermint Chocolate, this one didn’t affect the flavor of the cold brew too much – it was still pretty strong. I would definitely try this one again, and will likely add the Sugar Cookie syrup to the cold brew for even more of the flavor.

Caramel Brulee

HOLY COW! This one was a surprise home run. The irony is I am least likely to order a Caramel Brulee drink out of any of these holiday flavors, yet this was my favorite. It had an amazing caramel taste that really made its way into the cold brew and lasted through my entire grande-sized beverage. I am 100% getting this one again and happily recommend it to others!

One other thing to note: If you’re ordering through the Starbucks app, a friendly reminder that these cold foams need to be added to your drink and are not part of a featured drink on the menu. You’ll find it if you choose “Customize” and then scroll down to the “Toppings” section.

Happy holiday sipping!

Purchased Price: Adding a cold foam to your beverage will cost you an additional $1.25 on top of your existing drink price.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Peppermint Chocolate), 4 out of 10 (Chestnut Praline), 7 out of 10 (Sugar Cookie), 9 out of 10 (Caramel Brulee)
Nutrition Facts: Not available.

REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso Cup

Despite the heat here in the Midwest, Starbucks has its jeans and hoodie on and is ready for fall. Yes, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back, but we can’t forget another fall flavor favorite: apple. A new drink on the menu is the Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso.

Does it sound a little familiar to you? Well, neither the apple crisp flavor nor pairing it with Oatmilk is new for Starbucks, as they’ve done it in years past with the Apple Crisp Macchiato in 2021 and the Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato in 2022. But this is the first time it’s been with the popular shaken espresso. And let me tell you, I’m here for it.

Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso syrup layer

This drink is smooth. This drink is subtle. This drink is cozy. If you’re not a pumpkin fan but want fall in a cup AND some caffeine, this drink is for you. One thing I’d like to note right off the bat is the apple brown sugar syrup DOES pool at the very bottom of the drink. I highly recommend you give it a quick shake or stir to evenly distribute the flavor.

Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso ice

At first sip, it was mellow – not too sweet at all and the apple flavor came in as a nice aftertaste. The flavor of the espresso shots (there are two shots in a tall) is definitely masked by the rest of the drink, so if you’re not super into a strong coffee taste, this is a good drink to try. I love oatmilk in my coffee as it gives a drink a nice creaminess, and I definitely experienced that here. I’ve mentioned before that I can be a slow sipper of iced beverages, so over the course of the two hours or so I had this, the flavor held up.

I’m always a little surprised when the price of a tall creeps up over $5, but this one is worth it. It’s a great fall drink I will be getting again.

Purchased Price: $5.45
Size: Tall
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 130 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of protein, and 170 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Java Monster Cafe Latte

Java Monster’s new Café Latte doesn’t taste new to me because the moment the liquid hit my taste buds, I felt it was a canned coffee energy drink I’d had before. Maybe from Monster or Starbucks? At first, I thought it tasted like Java Monster Mean Bean. But after purchasing a can, comparing it side-by-side with Café Latte, and spending the rest of the day being overly productive and jittery with 400 milligrams of caffeine pumping through my veins, it turns out they’re not the same.

I’ll let the can introduce itself, “Gingerbread, cinnamon dolce, peppermint white mocha…your mobile app would even laugh at you for ordering that! For those of us who love their coffee the classic way comes Java Monster Café Latte. Coffee forward with the right amount of cream and sugar, then supercharged with the Monster Energy blend. Coffee done the Monster way, wide open, with a take no prisoners attitude and the experience and know-how to back it up.”

Um, wouldn’t the “classic way” be black?

Anyhoo, think of Café Latte as Mean Bean without the vanilla flavoring. The coffee taste is much more noticeable than with other Java Monster varieties, but it’s still so sugary and heavy on the cream that I think those who like to mask the coffee in their drinks will be satisfied. (Raises hand) I’ll gladly add Café Latte to my rotation of canned coffee energy drinks because it’s as tasty as any of the other Java Monster varieties, not including the Java Monster 300 line, which I find less flavorful. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised this didn’t roll out when Java Monster debuted or sometime over the past 16 years since then.

But my well caffeinated brain still doesn’t remember what specific drink this tastes like. I found a Reddit post that says it tastes like the discontinued Java Monster Kona Blend. It could be it, but I feel I’ve had it sooner than the last time I had Kona Blend, which was a long time ago. So I’m guessing it’s probably one of the Starbucks Doubleshot or Tripleshot energy drinks. I could find out by buying them all and comparing them, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my day AND evening wired.

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 15 fl oz can
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 220 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3. grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 35 grams of sugar (including 24 grams of added sugar), 8 grams of protein, and 200 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks Chocolate Java Mint Frappuccino

Mint can be a tough flavor to nail. It’s nearly always refreshing, but too much of it tends to become reminiscent of toothpaste. This is the downfall of a lot of mint chocolate ice creams. It’s not impossible though. Wendy’s did a great job with its Peppermint Frosty during the holidays last year. It somehow managed to perfectly replicate the taste of an Andes mint, despite the fact that the Frosty contained no chocolate. I’m still wondering what foul sorcery Wendy’s used to pull THAT off.

But enough about Frosties. We are here for Starbucks’ new Chocolate Java Mint Frappuccino today. Frappuccinos are too indulgent for me to consume on a regular basis, so I was excited to have the opportunity to drink one with zero guilt…well, minimal guilt. Normally I prefer my fancy coffee drinks without whipped cream and sprinkles, but here that’s a big part of the experience, so I had the whole Megillah. I hope you appreciate the way I’m gallantly falling onto the sword for all of you here.

I had this twice. The first time I got it, the barista didn’t add the mocha to the drink, and it was an assault of pure mintiness. I didn’t realize a component had been left off, so I thought it was supposed to taste like that, totally chocolate-deficient and toothpaste flavor-adjacent. I was prepared to give it a 5 out of 10, but then we realized the drink had been made incorrectly, so I bought another one at a different Starbucks. This time, I watched the barista make it. You better believe I watched her squeeze that mocha bottle.

The result? What a difference some chocolate makes, although I think we all kinda knew that already. With the chocolate, the drink still had some of the refreshing quality of mint, but it was tempered by the earthy, indulgent flavor of the chocolate. If anything, this incarnation of the drink leaned too far in the chocolate direction, which I say with the caveat that I don’t think “too much chocolate” can be considered a downside.

The Frappuccino chips did their thing and added little pops of a different chocolate flavor, and while I only was able to eat the Chocolate Mint Cookie Sprinkles at the finish, they were delightful little bits of cookie goodness. The one drawback this drink had was that neither time did I really get the taste of coffee. I tasted it in a few sips the first time, then the second time, my palate was so overloaded with the other components that I couldn’t taste coffee at all. A lot of people may not care, but I like my Frappuccinos to taste like coffee.

Hot days are coming, and this drink will probably make a lot of Starbucks customers very happy with its ability to be both cooling and just a little bit sinful. Personally, though, I’m getting a plain Coffee Frappuccino next time: I’m just missing the “Java” that was supposed to be in the Chocolate Java Mint.

Purchased Price: $4.95
Size: Tall
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 340 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, and 75 milligrams of caffeine.