Browsing articles in "Drink Reviews"
Dec 8, 2014

Starbucks Candy Cane Frappuccino, reviewed

Candy Cane Frappuccino

For the past few days, Starbucks took one of their “secret menu” items and made it a little less secret. If you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, you probably would have seen that the Candy Cane Frappuccino was just $3 after 2pm all weekend long. This Frappuccino, like the Franken Frappuccino is a drink that was created and named by some inventive Starbucks fans, then spread through word of mouth until it was common enough that most baristas had heard of it, though it wasn’t an “official” recipe. Thanks to the recent promotion, it’s a lot more standard and you should be able to easily order it any time this holiday season.

The Candy Cane Frappuccino is a vanilla bean frappuccino with peppermint syrup added to it. The drink is creamy, with a great blend of vanilla and peppermint flavors. There is just enough mint to make it refreshing, without overwhelming the vanilla base of the drink. It is really a great drink if you enjoy mint in any way. The only downside is that it doesn’t contain any caffeine. Fortunately, it’s very good with a shot of espresso added. It’s delicious if you’re looking for something minty and sweet that is an alternative to a richer chocolate drink, and it is one of my new holiday favorites.

Oct 31, 2014

Starbucks Franken Frappuccino, reviewed

Starbucks Franken Frappuccino, reviewed

A few days ago, Starbucks quietly announced the launch of a “secret” seasonal drink – the Franken Frappuccino. Also known as the Frankenstein Frappuccino at some stores, this drink did not appear on any regular menus and was said to be available for three days only leading up to Halloween. A quick survey of stores in my area found that some were promoting this secret drink on their chalk menu boards, while others had no signs of any kind posted about it. Whether there was a display or not, every single one knew exactly how to make it.

The frappuccino is made with a green tea base, to which white chocolate mocha and peppermint syrups are added, along with java chips for color and texture. A mocha drizzle on the side of the cup gives it a creepier overall color scheme and the drink is topped with whipped cream and a mocha drizzle to finish it off. The drink has an underlying matcha flavor with a generous dash of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s not as sweet as you might expect, since the matcha really reins in the sweetness of the white chocolate and peppermint. The mocha drizzle and java chips were a really nice touch and the frappuccino looked perfectly Halloween-y. Despite its swamp-thing appearance, it actually tastes very good. That said, it wasn’t my absolutely favorite, but only because I am not a huge fan of matcha frappuccinos and ice blended drinks in general. If you do like matcha, this is a Halloween treat that is worth tracking down.

If you want to give it a try when you head out to trick or treat tonight (10/31), the Franken Frappuccino will still be available through the end of the day. If you go after 2pm, all grande sized Frappuccinos will be only $3, which amounts to a savings of about $2.50 on the Halloween drink.

Sep 29, 2014

Java Monster Kona Blend, reviewed

Java Monster

If I say that I need an energy drink, that usually means that I want a cup of coffee – not a strangely flavored, slightly carbonated canned beverage. That said, I have found many canned and bottled coffee drinks that I enjoy over the years, and am always interested in giving new ones a taste to see what might provide a good, quick fix when I’m on the go. So, I was a bit torn when I first saw the new Java Monster Kona Blend, which was both an energy drink and a canned coffee drink in one! The use of Kona coffee won me over and convinced me to give it a shot – and I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised!

Java Monster Kona Blend is made with real Kona coffee, blended with milk, sugar and Monster’s energy blend, which includes taurine, ginseng and guarana seed extract, as well as some additional caffeine. It’ll definitely wake you up if you’re sensitive to caffeine, though I didn’t feel too much more of a “rush” than I would with a regular cup of black coffee. The drink is smooth, with a great blend of rich coffee and creamy milk flavors, plus just the right hint of sweetness. I didn’t intend to like it when I picked up the can, since I always prefer to get my energy from coffee or tea over an engineered “energy drink,” but this wildly exceeded my expectations and was better than many other bottled (or canned) coffee drinks I’ve had. In short, it tasted very good. The drink is offered in other flavors, which I haven’t tried, but the vanilla, mocha, toffee and irish cream flavors definitely sound interesting!

Aug 29, 2014

Coco Cafe Vanilla, reviewed

Coco Cafe Vanilla, reviewed

Coconut water has been growing in popularity over the past couple of years to the point where I see it just about everywhere. The first offerings were plain coconut water, with advertising that usually promoted how great for hydration the water was. These days, there are many more flavored options of coconut water – including coffee-flavored options, like Coco Cafe. This is a line of coconut water cafe lattes, boxed drinks that are intended to be tasty, give you a little caffeine boost and help hydrate you. I was hesitant about this combination, but I couldn’t resist giving Coco Cafe Vanilla a try to see how it tasted.

The drink is definitely refreshing and it captures the flavors of coffee, milk, vanilla and coconut water, more or less in that order. The very first sip will remind you of a canned Starbucks coffee drink, with smooth espresso and dairy flavors, combined with a nice hint of sweetness. The vanilla is a little bit more subtle, though it is present, and there is a lingering hint of coconut water flavor. It’s definitely a unique drink, and I’d have to say that it’s a pretty good one, especially if you’re a fan of coconut water in the first place. I didn’t think that I would enjoy it, but I ended up drinking one quickly and wanting another! It contains as much caffeine as one shot of espresso (120mg), which is enough to perk you up in the morning if you want to sip one of these on your commute or down one after a workout at the gym. I think that a regular iced latte would bet a better choice if you’re looking for a drink to savor and sip slowly, but the Coco Cafe is so refreshing that it is a great option when you are on the to.

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