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.

REVIEW: Starbucks White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew

Starbucks, you’ve done it again! Another cold brew to your lineup, and another winner.

Here for spring is the White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew. New to the party are a macadamia syrup (added to the coffee) and a macadamia cream in the cold foam with a toasted cookie topping to cap it off.

The first thing I noticed when I grabbed this was how creamy it looked – I’d like to thank my barista for clearly acing the cold brew to cold foam ratio. The cold foam was already settling nicely into the drink. There was also a generous amount of the toasted cookie topping.

This might be one of the smoother-tasting cold brews I’ve had from Starbucks lately. I was delighted at first sip with its smoothness, and the macadamia brings a nice subtle sweetness. A little internet research tells me the flavor of macadamia nuts pairs well with coffee, so it’s no wonder it tasted good. For those unfamiliar with the nut, they tend to be a little buttery in taste, so there is no need to worry about a nuttiness overpowering your coffee. I was honestly surprised to see this had 20 grams of sugar in a tall, as it wasn’t very sweet at all.

I’ve mentioned this in some of my past Starbucks reviews, but I’m not the fastest cold coffee drinker. But because of that, I’m able to report that the toasted cookie topping stayed in the cold foam as I sipped my beverage. And from the time stamp on my drink to the time I finished, that was two hours! I really appreciated that it didn’t sink in, and I still got some with the cold foam at every sip. All that said, and much like I’ve felt with other Starbucks toppings, this one didn’t have much of an independent flavor to it. The toppings always seem like a nice-to-have, but they don’t enhance the drink’s flavor profile.

I’m definitely adding this new cold brew to my rotation, and I hope it hangs around for a while!

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 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 Bottled Paradise Drink and Pink Drink

Starbucks’ popular Pink Drink and Paradise Drink are the latest beverages to be bottled and sold on shelves. As a fan of both, I was excited to give them a try to find out how they stack up to those made by a barista.

Both ready-to-drink beverages have less than 5 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce bottle, which is a fraction of the 35-45 milligrams in the Tall-sized (12 ounces) versions offered at Starbucks locations. Not sure why, but it’s worth a note.

Paradise Drink is the latest addition to the Refreshers menu (June 2022). I wasn’t shocked to see it get the bottled treatment this quickly because when it hit locations last year, it was selling like crazy as it captured a “summer in a cup” flavor thanks to its use of pineapple and passion fruit. I generally enjoyed the drink when I got it in the cafes but found the pineapple overpowering. I know the freeze dried fruit chunks contributed to that, but even trying the drink without them, I sometimes found the pineapple to be a little too much. Thankfully, the bottled version offers a much more balanced experience.

Getting a taste of the passion fruit made for a more complex flavor as opposed to the cafe version that made my tongue feel like it was being slapped by a pineapple. It’s not overly sweet and has a nice tartness. The coconut milk cuts down on the drink’s acidity and makes for a smoother sipping experience. It’s enjoyable straight from a chilled bottle and certainly is “summer in a bottle.”

It was only a matter of time before Starbucks would release a ready-to-drink version of its famous Pink Drink. Hundreds of TikTok videos swear by their copycat recipes, but none have ever really scratched the itch. Thankfully, this bottled Pink Drink is a dead ringer for the cafe version. The taste of the sweet strawberry is very present, with the coconut milk bringing a slight nutty creaminess. I know there is supposed to be acai, but it is overshadowed by the intense strawberry flavors, just like the cafe version. Unlike the Paradise Drink, I found this much more concentrated with its taste and quite a bit sweeter.

It was fine straight from the bottle but shined when poured over ice, and doing so allowed for the more concentrated flavors to mellow. Much like the Paradise Drink, the lack of freeze dried fruit didn’t take away from the experience or taste. It will be worth keeping some on hand to bridge the gap between Starbucks visits. I enjoyed it, and I think it will be fairly popular.

Purchased Price: $3.18 each
Purchased at: Walmart Neighborhood Market
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Paradise Drink), 9 out of 10 (Pink Drink)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) Paradise Drink – 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Pink Drink – 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks seems to be churning out new cold brews faster than Nick Cannon is having kids. All jokes aside, the newest cold brew to grace the Starbucks lineup is the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew. (Note that there is also a non-nitro version, as not all Starbucks locations have nitro taps. Pro tip: The Starbucks mobile app will tell you which stores do in the location info!). A refresher for those not familiar, a cold brew on nitro means it’s infused with nitrogen and has a smooth texture.

The Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew has a cold brew coffee base with a new cinnamon caramel syrup, plus vanilla sweet cream cold foam and cinnamon dolce sprinkles (a.k.a. just cinnamon) on top.

Three observations right off the bat when I got my drink:

  1. SO MUCH FOAM… and I am here for it. If you look at my photo at the beginning, nearly half of the tall size beverage had foam, and I loved it. The vanilla sweet cream and cinnamon were delightful.
  2. You can also clearly see the pool of cinnamon caramel syrup at the bottom of my cup in the photo below… more on that later.
  3. I haven’t had a nitro drink in a while, so I forgot and then realized there is no ice in this drink! No ice helps create a smoother flavor. If you don’t love watered down coffee, this one might be for you!

There’s an overwhelming cinnamon flavor right at the first sip, which I liked. I definitely got some cinnamon roll flavor vibes, which is perfect for the Midwest where I live. It’s like a hug in a drink married to a cold beverage, so whether it’s 70 degrees one day or 35 the next (this really happened last week), this one suits the weather.

My only knock on flavor was the caramel was pretty non-existent. This is likely due to the syrup at the bottom, so I’m eager to try the cinnamon caramel sauce in an iced latte to compare.

On another note, I might never go back to regular cold brew because the nitrogen makes it so smooth. It cuts the bitterness the cold brew can sometimes bring and feels like a morning indulgence. Despite no ice, it stayed cool as I sipped.

This cold brew is a winner in my book, and I’m happy it’s available year-round. After my not-so-excited review of the Pistachio Cream Cold Brew back in January, I was delighted with this one.

Purchased Price: $5.25
Size: Tall
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 180 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 22 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of protein, and 185 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks Pistachio Cream Cold Brew

New Year, New Starbucks drink. That’s the saying, right? Back in 2021, Starbucks introduced a Pistachio Latte. Two years later, the pistachio flavor is now being adapted into a cold brew with the Pistachio Cream Cold Brew. This one has the signature Starbucks cold brew coffee with pistachio cold foam and a salted brown butter topping.

A quick reference to my 2021 Pistachio Latte review reminded me that I LOVED it. But this one? It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad either. A “meh” kind of beverage, if you will.

The cold brew itself is just that: cold brew. With 145 milligrams of caffeine in a tall, you’re definitely getting a good caffeine hit for the day. (A venti boasts 275 milligrams of caffeine.) The pistachio cold foam is where the drink fell flat for me. At first sip, I liked that it was mellow and subtlety sweet. But the flavor of the pistachio syrup in the cold foam did not shine through. It was missing the nutty taste I hoped for and was masked by the coffee-ness of the cold brew. I was also surprised to see the drink had 25 grams of sugar, as it definitely didn’t taste that sweet. If something has 25 grams of sugar, I want it to tame my sweet tooth!

Also lacking, just like my one negative of the latte, was the salted brown butter topping. This had the potential to be such a scene stealer, but I barely had any on my drink and none of the flavor came through. Of course, this might depend on if the barista making your drink is heavy-handed with the topping or not. A quick recon in the Starbucks app shows that you can ask for extra topping. Let me know in the comments if you try that – it might convince me to give it a go and see if the flavor adjusts!

That all being said, the drink was still decent and totally palatable. It just didn’t knock my socks off. I did start to like it more as I kept drinking and the cold foam began to settle into the cold brew. It’s not something I’d go back to in a heartbeat, but I may have to try the Pistachio Latte iced for a comparison.

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 12 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of protein, and 145 milligrams of caffeine.