Starbucks is testing a beer-flavored latte
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At Starbucks, gimmicky drinks are all the rage. For example, people like the company’s pumpkin spice latte.
But Starbucks is going beyond Halloween-themed beverages and offering lattes that taste like beer. Get ready, Ohio and Florida — you are the test market for beer-flavored drink called the “Dark Barrel Latte.” Starbucks confirmed its plans with the Associated Press.
The drink’s “savory toasty malt” flavor is meant to be reminiscent of a stout. But rather than the thick creamy head you’d get on a Guinness, the Starbucks drink comes with caramel and whipped cream on top. It also incorporates a “chocolatey stout flavored sauce,” spokesman Linda Mills told the AP. However, it doesn’t contain any alcohol.
An image posted on Reddit by a Starbucks employee offers more detail: “a blend of espresso, dark caramel and chocolaty stout flavored sauce, and freshly steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and dark caramel drizzle.” It has a “roasted malt” taste and comes hot, iced or as a Frappuccino.
A beer-flavored latte sounds strange, but its complement already exists. There are plenty of boozy beverages masquerading as coffee without the caffeine: Samuel Adams makes one of several coffee flavored stouts. Lagunitas makes one that tasted like cappuccino. Duck Rabbit makes a milk stout with a latte vibe. Kahlua is a coffee-flavored liquor. There’s even vodka that tastes like coffee.
Starbucks declined to elaborate on its future plans for the beverage. Earlier this year, the company said it would start selling beer and wine at some locations.
Ultimately, customers will decide the beer-flavored latte’s fate. Here’s some early feedback:
On Twitter, the Beer Sommelier, a craft-beer consultant, was optimistic: “Starbucks tests coffee with beer taste: The new beverage could be a savvy way to ‘bridge the gap.’”
Kai Ryssdal of NPR’s Markeplace was less enthusiastic: “No, come ON! Coffee-flavored stout is fine. Beer-flavored coffee is wrong.”
Starbucks’s new offering comes as competition for breakfast customers has gotten fierce. McDonald’s now sells pumpkin-spice lattes, and is giving away regular coffee for free this month in a bid to bring in customers.