Starbucks Launches New Cascara Cold Foam

For anyone who's ever suffered through a hot cappuccino in the middle of the summer just for the foam, listen up. Starbucks just launched its coolest add-on yet, and it's called "Cold Foam" — which is quite literally the same as hot foam except, well, cold. The fluffy white dairy is aerated in a blender without implementing any heat, which allows the foam to sit on ice without dissipating into the drink.

This new topping was made by innovators at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, the same coffee wonderland behind regular, nitro, and gin barrel-aged cold brews. Cold Foam is being offered in two varieties atop three core menu items. The kind featured with the blonde iced cappuccino is flavorless, but the version that comes with regular and nitro cold brew is slightly sweetened with "cascara"... What the heck is that?

"When coffee beans are grown, they actually grow inside of a cherry. There are two little beans inside of a red cherry," the chain's manager of global coffee and tea education, Chad Moore, told The Daily Meal. "Now, this cherry doesn't taste like the cherries you're thinking of. It's more like a sugar-snap pea or a red pepper."

The fruity pulp, called cascara, acts as a natural sweetener and tastes very similar to maple brown sugar, making each featured item a healthier alternative to syrup-laden coffees while maintaining a semi-sugary taste. On top of that, the only dairy used in Cold Foam is skim milk — unlike hot foam, which uses whole milk. Moore says this wasn't actually done for flavor or health reasons but because, "scientifically," it creates a better texture.

There's one more surprise! The Seattle-based coffee brand also created a special plastic container to give customers the most satisfying "mouth experience" drinking Cold Foam beverages. The chain's new strawless lid allows froth fiends to sip foam and coffee at the same time, whereas a straw would suck coffee only and leave the foam to die at the bottom of the cup.

Thanks to our friends over at Starbucks, I was able to sample Cold Foam before writing this article, and let me tell you this: It's so good. I definitely fan-girled over the release of blonde espresso (which I still love to this day), but Cold Foam is silky, smooth, and thick, yet light. It tastes like ice cream, which is nice because if you're worried about nutrition, it's a million times better for you than a Java Chip Frappuccino. Love those, too, though.

Iced coffee crazies who want to try this new permanent menu item can do so beginning April 17 at Starbucks stores nationwide. Cold Foam is included with cold brew — which also features a dash of vanilla syrup — iced cappuccinos, and nitro cold brews on request, but customers can also add it to any other iced beverages for 50 cents — even these secret menu items.

This product was provided by Starbucks for review at no cost to the writer.

Taylor Rock is the East Coast news editor at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @taylorlrock.