We reported on the new Iced Coffee line from Starbucks this month, which started selling in stores in the Northeast this month. Of course, those drinks aren't available nationwide yet, but The Daily Meal got to try the range of four flavors to hit shelves: Coffee + Milk, Coffee + Milk (Low Calorie),Vanilla, and Caramel. We passed around the goodies, and here's what we found.
Now, we have some true iced coffee connoisseurs here, as well as some fans of the bottled Frappuccinos that have been on shelves for quite awhile. The positives? Unlike the bottled Frappuccinos, everyone seemed to like that the Iced Coffees were a bit less sweet, and definitely not as milky. But the problem is, as one staffer put it, "In reality it is still sweet — whether you want sugar or not." Fair enough. Even the low-calorie option still contained quite a bit of sweetness, thanks in large part to the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium. (That was a big drawback for one of our staffers — "I felt like I needed to brush my teeth immediately upon finishing (which I suppose is a rather normal feeling after coffee) but it was more severe than usual," he said.) And if you like your iced coffee closer to black than light brown, it's probably not the drink for you. Said our self-proclaimed iced coffee expert on staff, "I like that it doesn't go overboard on the milk — it's still a nice dark brown, but I'm left feeling like I'm drinking extra calories that I don't need and vaguely as though I'm drinking cereal milk."
And the reactions to the new drink line was a bit watered down — quite literally. "It's lke an iced coffee where all the ice has melted in," said one staffer. Which really, the overall conclusion was, the drink needs ice. "What Starbucks needs to do is create a bottled beverage that incorporates super-anti-freeze ice cubes," said one staffer. "With a straw attached to the side (like a juice box). Then they’d really have something on their hands." We'll be looking out for that, sure. The overall conclusion? If you're a fan of the bottled Fraps, you can safely assume that you'll like the newest line. But if you're looking for a true Starbucks iced coffee, you should stick to the VIA packets — or, as one person put it, "get your butt to a Starbucks." It shouldn't be too difficult.