REVIEW: Starbucks Lavender Oatmilk Chill

Starbucks’ new Lavender Oatmilk Chill looks so relaxing. The top of it in the photo above makes me feel like I’m hovering above light purple clouds and I’m going to meet the Care Bears. I’m getting sleepy just by looking at it. Heck, if you attach the cup to a necklace or something, you could probably hypnotize me.

The shaken drink features oatmilk, lavender powder, ice, and a scoop of freeze-dried dragonfruit pieces. It’s caffeine-free, so this might do the trick if you want a beverage to help you chill.

My experience with lavender food extends from lavender ice cream in Japan that was totemo oishii (very delicious) to lavender-flavored teas to help me sleep. But something about the Lavender Oatmilk Chill doesn’t have me singing its praises from lavender-covered hilltops.

Its aroma smells very similar to the lavender sleep spray I use, which I’m not sure is good or bad. It’s relaxing but also concerning because it reminds me of a product I’m not supposed to consume. But I consumed this Starbucks drink anyway, and the first couple of sips tasted like fruity cereal milk, but that faded and was replaced with the expected lavender flavor. The oatmilk adds a pleasant creaminess I don’t think I’d get with other non-dairy milk options. While I couldn’t get the scent of the lavender spray entirely out of my mind, I thought the floral flavor was nice and definitely drinkable.

As for the freeze-dried dragonfruit pieces, I’m pretty sure they’re just there to make the drink look even prettier for social media, adding dark purple spots to contrast the light purple drink. Although edible, I’m not sure they’re meant to be consumed because they can’t come out from the sipping lid’s opening. While the drink was shaken vigorously, it didn’t taste like the dragonfruit’s flavor got mixed in with the lavender. But dragonfruit can taste so mild that I’m not surprised it doesn’t come through. They also didn’t do anything for me when I removed the lid and chewed on a few pieces while sipping the drink.

Overall, I like this drink, but I don’t lovender it. But if you’ve been eyeing Starbucks’ Lavender Crème Frappuccino for its lavender flavor and lack of caffeine but don’t want the calories, fat, and sugar the blended beverage has, relax, my friend. The chain’s Lavender Oatmilk Chill is here for you.

Purchased Price: $4.95
Size: Grande
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte

Floral flavoring in beverages is one of my weaknesses. When done correctly, floral drinks strike a perfect balance between the sweet and perfumey. That balance can be hard to find, and if you aren’t careful, you can end up with something that tastes like cheap body spray. My first floral-flavored beverage was a rose bubble milk tea, and it was an indescribably delicious experience. I’ve been hooked on just about any kind of botanically infused drink since, but coffee/espresso flavored with lavender is my absolute favorite. I’ve had a wide range of lavender lattes and was excited to see how Starbucks’ Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte would measure up.

It’s the chain’s first time ever using lavender as a flavor. I was surprised it’s taken Starbucks this long, as it’s been a fairly popular option in smaller coffee shops for a few years. My worry was that Starbucks would go with the overly sweet, flavored syrup option when crafting the drinks. Thankfully, it didn’t.

Instead, lavender powder is used, which gives the beverage a bright, floral taste without much added sweetness. The standard version of the drink comes with Blonde Espresso Roast and oatmilk. The former is a great drink base, as its lighter flavor works with the lavender, not against it. The creamy oatmilk is like the rug that brings the whole room together: without it, the drink would be okay but not have the same balance. Overall, this was easily one of the (if not the best) lavender lattes I’ve had in a long time.

The drink’s simplicity (lavender powder, espresso, oatmilk) seems like a departure from Starbucks’ last few seasonal drops. Multi-ingredient menu items with longer preps have become more commonplace at the coffee chain. The Starbucks Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte reminds us that a basic coffee beverage can have complex flavors. It excels in its goal of being a light Spring drink to transition customers away from the heavier winter beverages. I know it’s a limited time offering, but I’m crossing my fingers this might be a more permanent addition or at least return annually.

Purchased Price: $6.05
Size: Grande
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 170 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Starbucks Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich

Guess who’s back? Back again?

Not Slim Shady, but Starbucks’ Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich! It officially joined the permanent menu this past January after a brief week-long stint in June 2022.

I tried it when it debuted and have similar thoughts about it this time around. So basically, it’s the same sandwich – breaded white meat chicken, eggs, and maple butter spread on a toasted oat-biscuit roll – just with all the undisclosed kinks figured out.

This breakfast combo of chicken, egg, and biscuit seems so familiar, yet there’s distinctiveness. There is nothing quite like it at other quick service establishments or on Starbucks’ current food menu. Plus, a toasted oat-biscuit roll just sounds unique and fancy.

As I pulled my freshly heated sandwich bag from the hand-off counter and peered at it while making my way to a table, I was immediately hit with a sweet honey smell. My Pavlovian response to the sweet and savory breakfast was, “Oooh, McGriddle!”

Visually, though, it was pale and almost looked underbaked, which was unsurprisingly unlike the golden tones of the re-touched menu photography. The chicken looked like an oversized chicken nugget, which gave me grade school cafeteria food vibes. I noticed and appreciated that the egg layer was equal in size to the chicken patty. It was a plus to me because it seemed like it would be more filling and, thus, worth the nearly $6 price tag.

I was disappointed to find just a thin layer of maple butter on just one side of the sandwich. It was impressive that such a small amount packed such big smells but meh flavors. This, unfortunately, made me think that maybe it was just artificial flavoring. This realization detracted from my perception that it was a premium sandwich made with high quality ingredients. Boo.

All put together, it was really dry. Also, like in grade school, the chicken was a touch rubbery with no crispiness whatsoever. The oat biscuit roll didn’t do the sandwich any favors. It had the dryness of a biscuit and biscuit-ish flavors (see: butter) without actually being one. After a few bites, I ended up deconstructing it and just eating the chicken and egg together. I solved the dryness issue and still got the sweetness of the maple butter because it attached itself to the chicken breading.

The bright side to all of this was that at least it was heated thoroughly. I’ve unfortunately had many Starbucks sandos and wraps that were still cold in the middle.

Does this dethrone my latest bacon gouda sandwich kick or the chain’s outstanding Potato, Cheddar & Chive bites? (Pro tip: ask for hot sauce.) Nope. But I can understand why some folks looking for something with more protein or sweet and savory flavors might be into this.

Purchased Price: $5.45
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 sandwich – 150g) – 450 calories, 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 160 milligrams of cholesterol, 1040 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

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.