Premade coffee drinks are rarely as good as the real thing. Bottled frappuccinos are a great example of this. They’re fairly tasty (and I know people who just love them), but they don’t compare to a freshly made frappuccino in terms of flavor or consistency. Still, I was interested in the Starbucks Discoveries line when I heard about it. It is made up of Caffe Mocha, Vanilla Latte and Caramel Macchiato coffee drinks, packaged in cartons and available in the refrigerated section of the grocer store. They’re intended to be a ready-to-drink beverage that, unlike the bottled frappuccinos, is just like what you get when you order the drink in a Starbucks store.
I happen to be a fan of iced Caramel Macchiatos, so that was the first flavor I went for. I loved the look and shape of the unusual carton, which is taller and somewhat more stylish than your average milk carton. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the drink inside tastes almost exactly like the iced Caramel Macchiatos that they serve at Starbucks – albeit with the elements already mixed up, inside of layered together. You could clearly taste coffee, milk, caramel and vanilla in the drink, and it wasn’t too sweet or too rich. I really enjoyed it over ice, though the ice waters it down quickly just like the ice in the in-store version does, so it is best if you can drink it quickly.
I still like the in-store Caramel Macchiato best, of course, since I like the way I can drink it in layers and the extra drizzle of caramel sauce that finishes it off. But this is an excellent stand in for Caramel Macchiato fans – especially fans who want to save a few dollars by buying a big carton to enjoy, rather than buying drink after drink when they’re in the mood for caramel.