Starbucks‘ Unicorn Frappuccino is an instant Instagram sensation. Yet as photos of the drink make their way across the internet, the question remains — how does the beverage actually taste?
The drink, which debuted on Wednesday, is a “flavour and colour-changing creation” made with pink powder blended into a mango creme Frappuccino and layered with a sour powder topping. When you stir the drink, the colour transforms from purple to pink, and the flavour goes from sweet to tart.
Starbucks’ description of the beverage left me sceptical. Creating a beverage that changes colours and flavours is a tall order. Plus, is it possible to make a drink that is all about aesthetics taste good?
In search of answers, I purchased two Unicorn Frappuccinos on Wednesday morning, one made with whole milk and one made with almond milk.
Upon first glance, the drinks impressively live up to their unicorn image. The Unicorn Frappuccino actually looks better than the photo circulated by Starbucks. The bright purple drink, with a blue swirl, is instantly eye-catching.
The first sip, however, is overwhelming in a different way. If you take a Starbucks creme Frappuccino, add mango syrup, and top it with whipped cream and colourful sugar, you should be expecting a very sweet drink. The Unicorn Frappuccino, packed with 39 grams of sugar in a tall, tastes just as sweet as you would think — especially the creamy whole milk version. After a few sips, I was ready to call it a day.
However, instead of chucking the beverage, I still had to stir the Frappuccino and hope for a transformation.
The almond milk version had already started turning pink on its own, as the drink began melting in the 20 minutes since its purchase. The whole milk Frappuccino was slower to change colours, even with my aggressive stirring — not quite the speedy transformation that I hoped for.
Still, the colour did change. It wasn’t as stark of a transformation as the almond milk version (the colour change seems to be linked to the Frappuccino beginning to melt), but it developed into a pretty light pinkish colour.
Stirring the drink also unleashed the promised tartness. With the tangy transformation, the drink tastes like an Orange Julius or Creamsicle, with touches of a candy like Sour Patch Kids or Sour Skittles.
Even with the tart undertones, the drink remained sickeningly sweet. I only managed to finish a quarter of each Frappuccino, and immediately began spiraling into a sugar high — my hands were shaking as I wrote this article.
I believe I’ve hit my quota for Unicorn Frappuccinos in my lifetime, without fully finish even one beverage.
However, this isn’t a drink that Starbucks wants customers to add to their daily routines. It’s only on the menu for five days.
The Unicorn Frappuccino is a beverage created entirely because it’s weird and pretty to look at. It’s perfect for Instagram. And, in that way, it completely succeeds at the mission it was created to accomplish.