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 taste?
The drink, which debuted on Wednesday, is a "flavor and color-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 color transforms from purple to pink, and the flavor goes from sweet to tart.
Starbucks' description of the beverage left me skeptical. Creating a beverage that changes color and flavor 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.
On first glance, the drinks impressively live up to their unicorn image. The Unicorn Frappuccino 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 colorful sugar, you should expect a very sweet drink. The Unicorn Frappuccino, packed with 39 grams of sugar in a tall size, 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 stirred the Frappuccino and hoped for a transformation.
The almond-milk version had started turning pink on its own, as it began melting in the 20 minutes since its purchase. The whole-milk Frappuccino was slower to change colors, even with my aggressive stirring — not quite the speedy transformation I had hoped for.
Still, the color did change. It wasn't as stark of a transformation as the almond-milk version — the color change seems to be linked to the Frappuccino melting — but it developed into a pretty light pinkish color.
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 was sickeningly sweet. I managed to finish a quarter of each Frappuccino, and I 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 even finishing one.
However, this isn't a drink that Starbucks wants customers to add to their daily routines. It's on the menu for only 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 succeeds in its mission.