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Stella Chen

Is Starbucks Secret Menu Really Worth the Try?

The staff of the newspaper paid a visit to Starbucks in Lebanon with their picked secret menu drinks

Pumpkin Pie Frappuccino

Stella Chen

Pumpkin Pie Frappuccino

  • Créme based Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
  • Add Cinnamon Dolce Syrup (1 pump for tall, 2 for grande, 3 for venti)
  • Add Cinnamon Dolce Sprinkles
  • Whipped cream blended in
  • Top with more whipped cream and Cinnamon Dolce Sprinkles!

Review:

Overall, this frappuccino was relatively fluffy in texture, and enjoyable to drink. Unlike normal frappuccinos, the blended drink was light and refreshing. The light orange base reminded me of the color of and orange creamsicle, probably a result of the whipped cream being blended into the original Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino base. The drink tasted very strongly of nutmeg, with undertones of cinnamon and vanilla. My first reaction was “Oh! This tastes like Christmas!” because of the similarity in flavor to a festive eggnog. The flavor of pumpkin, although subtle, was still there. Whoever invented this drink definitely had the right idea! The simplest way to describe this autumnal masterpiece is a blended pumpkin pie, but in drink form. Topped with a thick whipped cream and cinnamon sugar, this drink is perfect for anyone getting into the fall spirit!

Rating:

Sweetness: 3/5. Although very sweet, the actual sweetness did not overpower the entire drink. I wish it had been a little less sweet, to allow the pumpkin flavor to shine through more, but overall the sweetness was well balanced.

Flavor: 5/5. The frappuccino lived up to its name, it tasted exactly like pumpkin pie! Again, I wish the pumpkin flavor had been a bit stronger, but otherwise it was perfect!

The Look: 3/5. I loved the aesthetic of the light orange cream base, but the rest of it was underwhelming. Without added drizzling, powders, or chunks it looked like any other frappuccino. I would have loved to see some type of caramel drizzle or some other flare.

Accuracy to Recipe: 4/5. Except for the actual Cinnamon Dolce Sprinkles, they stuck to the recipe completely. The barista made in work by substituting cinnamon sugar in place of the sprinkles.

 

Butterbeer Frappuccino

Stella Chen

Butterbeer Frappuccino

Recipe:

  • Line cup with caramel drizzle
  • Ask for a Creme Frappuccino base don’t skimp on the fat by asking for skim or 2% milk as whole milk is required for the right consistency
  • Add 3 pumps of caramel syrup
  • Add 3 pumps of toffee nut syrup
  • Top with caramel drizzle

Review of the Drink:

The butterbeer Frappuccino had a very sweet flavour that jumped out on my first sip. It had strong scent wafting in the air in front of me which reminded of the fresh cooked popcorn. Its sweetness was not surprising because it had caramel everywhere: on the inside of the cup, top of the whip cream, and also on the drink itself. My drink was literally a caramel volcano since there was caramel everywhere to the point of overflowing. The texture of the drink was very smooth,creamy, and a bit sticky because of the caramel. Overall, the butterbeer was enjoyable because of such uniqueness to its taste and texture, but I would also recommend people to not drink it often. Once a month is appropriate because of its ridiculous amount of sugar.

Sweetness 10/5

Flavour: 5/5

Look: 5/5

Accuracy: 3/5

 

The Coconut Pie Frappuccino

Stella Chen

Coconut Cream Pie Frappuccino:

Recipe:

  • Vanilla Bean Frappuccino made with coconut milk
  • Add hazelnut syrup (1 pump tall, 1.5 grande, 2 venti)
  • Add toffee nut syrup (1 pump tall, 1.5 grande, 2 venti)
  • Top with whipped cream and optional: caramel drizzle

Review:

Because the total of four pumps of two types of syrup, the whole drink tasted, using Emma’s quote, “like a candle.” My first sip was caramel drizzle, which came into my mouth in the form of a solid-liquid syrup. It did not blend with the drink at all. Can you believe the least sweet ingredient in the drink is the whip cream on top??? Even though I only had a few sips, I ended up buying a latte to balance the sweetness. It was just too much. The sweetness overwhelmed the other flavours. Even though the recipe swapped coconut milk in place of the whole milk, the taste of coconut was almost undetectable. Additionally, the two types of syrup, hazelnut and toffee nut, had barely any flavour. It was just a combination of sugary liquid drink. Every drink that is put into a Starbuck cup automatically looks fancy somehow, but this frappuccino is just a standard vanilla bean frappuccino look with caramel drizzle on the body. You could not really tell it is from the secret menu based on its look. I was expecting the flavour of coconut and maybe the taste of pie. However, looking at the ingredients of the menu, I kind of knew it was not going to happen. Nonetheless, I was still disappointed when I did not discover any trace of coconut from the drink. The whipped cream was probably the best part of the whole frappuccino.

Rating:

Sweetness: 5/5

Flavour: ⅕

The Look: ⅖

Accuracy: ⅖

 

 

The Strawberry Cheesecake Frappuccino

Stella Chen

Strawberry Cheesecake Frappuccino

Recipe:

  • White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino
  • Add Strawberry Syrup (1 pump tall, 1.5 grande, 2 venti)
  • Creme Based

Review:

Originally I was going to order Raspberry Cheesecake Frappuccino but they did not have the raspberry syrup, so I switched to strawberry sauce. It turned out to be an excellent mix with the white chocolate frappuccino base. The frappuccino was neither heavy nor light. It tasted sort of milky and a little bit watery. The white chocolate itself blended well with the sweet strawberry sauce. However, the taste of the frappuccino could have been heavier. To put it in comparison, the whip cream on top had a creamer taste than the drink itself. Nevertheless, due to the drink’s relatively light flavor, I was able to keep drinking and not be overwhelmed with excessive sweetness. Overall, I did enjoy this drink and I strongly recommend anyone who prefer not so sweet drinks. For me, I did not add mocha to my frappuccino, so when I tried this drink for the second time with mocha in it, the taste became heavier. I recommend the mocha addition to people who prefer a more caffeinated kick to their drinks.

Rating:

Sweetness: ⅗. Although the strawberry sauce adds sweetness to the frappuccino, the drink has a pretty light taste overall.

Flavor: ⅘. The overall flavor is quite simple, could have a heavier taste.

The look: ⅘. Cream color as background, drizzled with pink lines, it reminded me of marble. A simple yet elegant look, perfect for instagram post!

Accuracy to Recipe: ⅘. Lacking Raspberry syrup doesn’t mean that strawberry can’t make it up!

 

 

 

Stella Chen
The Dragon Fruit Frappuccino

Dragon Frappuccino

Recipe:

  • Green Tea Frappuccino
  • Add vanilla bean powder
  • Swirl of raspberry syrup at the bottom of the cup
  • Top with whipped cream and purple sprinkles
  • Optional: add coconut syrup

Review:

While I was disappointed that the Starbucks didn’t have raspberry syrup or coconut syrup (I substituted strawberry syrup for both), I was pleasantly surprised that they had freeze-dried dragon fruit to sprinkle on top (by the way, who would guess that the Starbucks in West Lebanon, New Hampshire would have any form of dragon fruit, particularly in September?). While purple sprinkles would have probably looked nice, the substitution was more on-theme and added a rich pop of color, making my drink decidedly more “Insta-worthy”. The drink itself was an excellent blend of lightly creamy matcha and fruity sweetness. It tasted like a strawberry milkshake with a green tea kick, and I could see this being the perfect choice in the spring or summer.

Rating:

Sweetness: 3/5. The matcha has a lighter sweetness, and this recipe was surprisingly light on the syrup compared to the others.

Flavor: 5/5. Well-balanced, refreshing, but still caffeinated. The perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

The Look: 5/5. Try NOT taking a picture of this drink before slurping it down. The stark contrast between the vibrant green and the rich red of the strawberry, topped by the mottled white of the whipped cream under the dashes of magenta dragon fruit made it almost too pretty to drink.

Accuracy to recipe: 4/5.  Luckily they had the dragon fruit, but multiple substitutions mean that recreating this exact drink may prove tricky.

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