- Starbucks released its “Witch’s Brew” Frappuccino on Thursday.
- The Halloween-themed drink is artifically coloured purple and contains chia seeds, and is topped with whipped cream and a mysterious green powder.
- Although it’s purple, the Witch’s Brew has an orange crème base, which tasted vaguely like a watered-down Creamsicle.
- The chia seeds clumped together, giving an uneven texture.
- The taste overall disappoints but the drink is still visually striking.
Released Thursday, the Witch’s Brew Frappucino plays on Starbucks’ success in creating visually outlandish versions of the Frappuccino. The company describes the drink as containing “toad’s breath” and “bat warts,” with a powdered garnish of “lizard scale” –spooky code for an orange crème Frappuccino blend (artifically coloured purple), chia seeds, and a green ingredient that a writer at Refinery29 thought looks a bit like matcha powder, though Starbucks hasn’t officially confirmed what the powder actually is.
The Frappuccino’s theatrical description left me confused, but also fascinated. The culinary sceptic in me wondered if Starbucks had managed to balance flavour quality and Instagrammability with its latest offering.
Compelled to try it, I purchased a venti Witch’s Brew Frappucino with whole milk at a nearby Starbucks.
On first impression, the Witch’s Brew didn’t have the same ‘wow’ factor of other themed Frappuccinos
The deep purple crème blend first caught my eye – it looked a bit like ube, or purple yam – but beyond that, the whipped cream, and the heaping mound of chia nestled at the bottom of the cup, the drink didn’t seem to have much substance.
Unlike previous special-edition Frappuccinos, the Witch’s Brew didn’t live up to its appearance in the press photos circulated by Starbucks.
The drink vaguely tasted like a watered-down Creamsicle
The Frappuccino’s purple colouring juxtaposed with the orange flavour was confusing, and it felt a bit like I was drinking a stale Fanta. The cream on top was just a standard whipped cream, and the green powder was tasteless.
The drink’s sweetness didn’t help, either. A standard grande Witch’s Brew with whole milk contains approximately 53 grams of sugar, and the venti I had purchased topped out at around 67 grams. The Frappuccino’s high sugar content made it overwhelmingly sweet, and didn’t improve the drink’s already anemic flavour.
The chia seeds gave the drink a clumpy texture
After stirring the Frappuccino to get as much of its contents into each sip as possible, the chia seeds still seemed to clump together. The chia seeds – which Starbucks added to look like “bat warts” – were hard not to notice, but they added no flavour and created a grainy, chunky texture.
After dwelling on the texture long enough, I decided to toss the drink altogether. The flavour already disappointed, but the seeds added nothing to the actual drink beyond creating a rather uncomfortable texture.
The value is questionable
In some sense, the Witch’s Brew could be called a success considering its likely purpose: a lighthearted beverage to be enjoyed around a high-traffic holiday. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s anything more than that, though.
It’s clear that the Witch’s Brew Frappuccino is meant to be broadcast on Instagram, perhaps as some sort of joke or signal of a person’s Halloween spirit. It’s bright purple, features childishly “spooky” ingredients, and is sweeter than downing individual Splenda packets. It’s fun in that sense, but at six dollars, my money could be better spent elsewhere.
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