New drinks: grande disappointment

By Katie Metzger and Kelsey Kloss

Starbucks introduced the Vanilla Macchiato and the Caramel Flan Latte this year, both $3.75 for a tall. Photo by Katie Metzger

Starbucks introduced the Vanilla Macchiato and the Caramel Flan Latte this year, both $3.75 for a tall. Photo by Katie Metzger

Sugar and caffeine are a potent combination. Two new drinks from your friendly neighborhood Starbucks pack an initial punch after a few sips, but result in a sucrose crash after a few hours.

Vanilla Macchiato

Getting addicted to this latest creation from the geniuses at Starbucks would be like maintaining ombre (dark to light) hair color: trendy, fun and really expensive.

The traditional macchiato from Starbucks is made with caramel syrup on top and vanilla on the bottom. Bet you can guess what the new twist is.

Its appearance actually evokes the ombre style, with light vanilla syrup at the bottom and a shot of espresso on top, all drizzled with vanilla-caramel sauce.

This drink, launched March 4, is a sweet treat, though it’s a bit too pricey (a tall is $3.75) and sugary to be a morning go-to.

It looks like a caramel macchiato and tastes like a vanilla latte. Moral of the story: just because it’s a novelty doesn’t mean it’s an improvement on the classics.

Caramel Flan Latte

Ah, flan. You’ve treated us so well at Mexican restaurants in all your wiggly splendor. Sadly, Starbucks hasn’t returned the favor.

Disclaimer: this drink is fantastic. A tall Caramel Flan Latte, introduced Jan. 7, is also $3.75. That buys a sweet, tasty drink enriched with the company’s signature coffee. I was satisfied. It was nice.

But, be warned. This drink is fantastic because all caramel drinks from Starbucks are. The only difference is that the Caramel Flan Latte is a tad less sugary than other classics. The barista says this one features (gasp) caramel flan syrup instead of caramel or caramel brulée syrup. But, but—where’s the egg taste? Where’s the hint of custard?

Your conscience will haunt the caffeine buzz. “You could have just ordered the Caramel Brulée Latte. Or a latte with a pump of caramel. You bought into this, you consumerist, you.”

You’ve created a decent, unoriginal drink, Starbucks. But you’ve destroyed the reputation of a delicious dessert in doing so. Shame on you, from all us flan-lovers.

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