REVIEW: Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew

Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Side

What is the Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew?

The newest drink to grace Starbucks’ cold brew lineup pairs regular cold brew coffee with vanilla syrup, and on top is a chocolate cream cold foam.

How is it?

Please don’t hate me for using the abbreviation of a high schooler, but OMG. The new chocolate cold foam is AMAZING. Before trying the drink all together, I uncapped mine to get a taste of the cold foam. This is unlike any other cold foam experience I’ve had at Starbucks. It had a light, whipped consistency like a chocolate mousse and could have easily been eaten alone with a spoon. (Hey Starbucks, can you order a whole cup of only chocolate cold foam? Asking for a friend.) When I gave it a whiff, I picked up malty notes that reminded me of a Whoppers candy, which in my opinion, is an extremely underrated chocolate.

Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew Top

Due to the thickness of the foam, it didn’t sink into the cold brew, which I personally consider a plus. Note that the cold brew itself is nothing out of the ordinary – it’s sweetened simply with some vanilla syrup.

This drink was pretty decadent, and I felt as though I was drinking a dessert rather than my usual morning java. As much as I loved drinking it, I see myself ordering this as a special treat so it remains a novelty I look forward to and enjoy.

Anything else you need to know?

The chocolate cold foam did mask some of the coffee flavor, so if you’re not looking for something super strong but still want the caffeine punch, I highly recommend this.

Conclusion:

If you like cold brew and you like chocolate, this is a no-brainer. It’s a great addition as we usher in summer and one I hope remains on the menu for a while.

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 12 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 20 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein, and 145 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks BAYA Energy

BAYA Energy Cans

I wondered why Starbucks named its new line of energy drinks, BAYA, so I went looking for possible meanings. Merriam-Webster says it’s an East Indian weaverbird that eats seeds and insects and can be destructive to grain crops. Urban Dictionary says Baya is the most amazing person you’ve ever met. Google Translate says “baya” is Spanish for berry, and that definition probably makes the most sense since these beverages get their caffeine from the berry-like coffee fruit.

Wow! Look at me being all Dora the Explorer or Sesame Street-like by teaching a Spanish word.

While BAYA is its official name, I want to call these Starbucks Refreshers 2.0. There are similarities and differences between these and the, I think, discontinued canned Refreshers line. Both are fruity drinks in slim cans that get their caffeine from coffee but without the flavor of coffee. However, while the Refreshers had around 50 milligrams of caffeine per can, BAYA Energy offers 160 milligrams and is more carbonated. On the flip side, these have just 10%-12% fruit juice, while Refreshers had 25%.

BAYA Energy is available in three flavors — Mango Guava, Raspberry Lime, and Pineapple Passionfruit.

BAYA Energy Mango Guava

Let’s start with Mango Guava. Looking at the fruit combination, I thought this would be my favorite. However, it ended up being the one I liked least, mainly because of its initial strong, slightly off-putting taste that can be best described as an overly ripe fruitiness. But when that subsides, there’s a pleasant mango flavor. However, it’s the same vicious cycle with every sip — an off-putting taste followed by nice mango-ness. Look, it’s not horrible enough to make me spit it out, but it’s not how I’d like a beverage to start. Maybe that unknown fruitiness is the guava. But if it is, it’s not pleasing and not recognizable as that.

BAYA Energy Raspberry Lime

The berry in Raspberry Lime is immediately noticeable when I take a sip, but my taste buds can’t detect the citrus. It’s described as “a spritz of lime” on the can, but I can’t taste it, and if you told me this was only raspberry flavored, I wouldn’t question it. But I don’t mind the lack of lime because the pleasant and slightly tart raspberry is enough to make this a solid variety.

BAYA Energy Pineapple Passionfruit

Pineapple Passionfruit is my favorite of the bunch. But, full disclosure, I’ve been quite positive about recent pineapple-flavored beverages. Its sweet pineapple aroma is as potent as its sweet pineapple flavor, making it a pleasure to drink. The can says it has “a hint of passionfruit,” and while I don’t notice it with the pineapple, it shows up somewhat in the aftertaste. But, like the Raspberry Lime, the secondary flavor is so mild that I wonder why Starbucks even bothered adding it.

Now, with all that said. There’s something about all three varieties that bothers me, and it’s something that, I think, I was concerned about with the canned Starbucks Refreshers. There’s a noticeable flavor flatness. The fruitiness doesn’t pop like the energy drinks from Monster or Rockstar. Granted, those probably use artificial flavors.

Starbucks BAYA Energy’s 160 milligrams of caffeine did give me a nice jolt of energy, and two-thirds of the varieties are tasty, but that’s not enough to compel me to purchase it over my usual Monster, which is more flavorful and in a larger can. But that’s if I’m at the store and had to pick between the two. If I’m at a Starbucks and want a non-coffee pick-me-up, I’d pick this up. Well, not the Mango Guava one.

Purchased Price: $31.79 (12-pack)
Size: 12 fl oz can/12-pack
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Mango Guava), 6 out of 10 (Raspberry Lime), 7 out of 10 (Pineapple Passionfruit)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) Mango Guava – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar (17 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein. Raspberry Lime – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar (16 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein. Pineapple Passionfruit – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar (17 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso  1

What is the Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso?

Another dairy-free, caffeine-packing drink has hit the Starbucks menu. The new Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso (try saying that one five times fast!) combines espresso shots with toasted vanilla syrup and oatmilk.

How is it?

At first sip, you’ll get a strong toasted vanilla taste up front, followed by the oatmilk. Now if you’ve never had oatmilk before, I describe it as a little thicker than dairy milk with a nutty-ish taste. My colleague shared that she thinks oatmilk often overpowers other flavors in a drink, and I definitely found that here. Despite three espresso shots in a grande, I could barely detect a coffee taste. It didn’t bother me too much, but if you typically look for that, this might fall short for you. Even though the espresso wasn’t super prevalent, it still packed a good caffeine punch that lasted me throughout the day.

Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Let’s take a second to go back to the toasted vanilla syrup. In the beginning, I was really digging in. But the more I drank, the more I got a bit of the burnt aftertaste. I was originally planning on giving this an 8 rating as I was sipping, but the aftertaste was enough to bump it down to a 7. Not a deal-breaker on liking the drink, just something of note!

I will say that if you aren’t into super sweet coffee, try this syrup. There’s a notable difference in the sweetness of the toasted vanilla versus Starbucks’ standard vanilla, and I enjoyed it. I’m interested in trying it with caramel syrup mixed in as well to merge the flavors.

Anything else you need to know?

I watched as the barista prepared my beverage, and she only gave it three quick shakes in the shaker before pouring. The espresso (when you could taste it) seemed to land at the bottom even though it had been shaken, so I’d recommend shaking it up a little more for even distribution.

Conclusion:

If you were a fan of the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso or the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso that Starbucks released this time last year, give this a try. It’s smooth and a good drink to try as spring starts to roll in.

Purchased Price: $5.75
Size: Grande
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 140 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein, and 255 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte Cup

What is the Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte?

The holidays are here at Starbucks, and so is the newest addition to its seasonal lineup. A new non-dairy option, the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, combines Blonde espresso with a sugar cookie syrup and almondmilk. But the fun is not over yet – it’s also topped with festive red and green sprinkles.

How is it?

Oh. My. Gosh. I had high hopes and this lived up to the expectations. Starbucks knocked it out of the park with the new sugar cookie syrup. I picked up notes of vanilla and sugar with a very subtle sweetness. The syrup pairs well with the almondmilk, making the latte smooth and creamy. It almost didn’t feel like a holiday beverage since I tend to associate those with a heavy dose of sweet. This is one that I could definitely drink all year long. (Starbucks, this is my plea for you to keep it on the menu. Please.)

Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte Lip

Another positive to note: Between picking up my drink, a daycare drop off and settling in at the office, I (almond)milked this iced beverage for nearly three hours. And I’m happy to report that the flavor held up without it becoming too watery or diluted. Huge win!

Anything else you need to know?

Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte Top Sprinkles

I love the addition of the sprinkles, but they did sink to the bottom rather quickly. And because of that, there was a slight grittiness in the last few sips of my drink. Not a turnoff for me, just something for those who might not like texture!

I want to forewarn you, reader: As most seasonal beverages do, this came with a hefty price tag. A grande here in the Midwest cost me $5.25. Had I gotten a venti, it would have been $5.95. Worth it? Yes… but your budget might take a hit if you become addicted to this one like I have. (Sorry, husband!)

Conclusion:

Yes, yes, a million times yes. I loved this iced and am looking forward to the hot version as well. I’m so thrilled with this Starbucks release and urge anyone with even a slight desire to head to your nearest location and try this baby.

Purchased Price: $5.25
Size: Grande
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein and 170 milligrams of caffeine.

Click here to read our previous Starbucks reviews.

REVIEW: Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Cup

What is the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato?

Move over, Pumpkin Spice Latter, there’s a new fall drink in town. Recently added to the menu is the Apple Crisp Macchiato, available either hot or iced. Espresso is added to milk, with a spiced apple drizzle on top. You’ll also find the flavor of an Apple Brown Sugar Syrup.

How is it?

Let me start with a story. I’ve always understood that you do not stir a macchiato. After the espresso is layered on the milk, you let it naturally settle as you sip. A year or so ago, I mobile ordered an Iced Caramel Macchiato and sent my husband in to get it while I stayed in the car with our infant son. I gave him the explicit instructions NOT to stir the drink. Five minutes later, he walks out, and what is he doing? You guessed it. Shaking the drink around like it’s his job. Lesson learned: I go in and get the drink myself. (And he doesn’t live it down!)

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Cup

I share this story because it’s one of the reasons the Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato fell flat for me. When I got the drink, I could visibly see the Spiced Apple Drizzle and Apple Brown Sugar Syrup at the very bottom of the cup. And although that’s how macchiatos are constructed, unless I were to stir my iced beverage, there was no distribution of the flavor. I would have preferred the apple evenly distributed throughout the macchiato. I didn’t get a hint of apple until about 25% of the way through the drink. When I did get to taste the drizzle at the bottom, it was syrupy sweet. But overall, this really felt too similar in taste to the standard caramel version.

What I did like, though, was the hint of spice. It did make it feel like a fall drink that could be a nice alternative for folks who aren’t PSL fans. I’d like to try the Apple Brown Sugar Syrup in a regular iced caffe latte and see if that brings out more of the flavor.

Anything else you need to know?

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Top

Two other cons for me: The Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato has A LOT of sugar (hello, 36 grams in a tall) and was A LOT of money for a tall. Just be prepared that your waistline and wallet may not like you if you’re a fan of these.

Conclusion:

Just meh. Had higher hopes. I’m curious to see if the hot macchiato translates the same way… I’ll just have to add it to my list.

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 4 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 36 grams of total sugars, 7 grams of protein, and 75 milligrams of caffeine.