Starbucks Caramelized Honey Frappuccino Review: Does it Taste Good?

Of all the seasons, spring is probably the one that can best identify with Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” One day you’re enjoying 75-degree sunshine in your new pair of shorts, and the next you’re digging out the hat and scarf you thought you had put away for good. It’s a blustery, uncertain time of year in terms of the weather, and Starbucks hopes to deliver a new drink that’s perfect no matter if you want it hot, iced, or in frappuccino form. After a trial run with a not-so-Hogwarts butterscotch latte earlier this year, the coffee empire is hoping to deliver a balanced Caramelized Honey Latte that will become your new go-to beverage of choice for spring.

Starbucks: Caramelized Honey Frappuccino

Starbucks Caramelized Honey Frappuccino on patio table

Starbucks Caramelized Honey Frappuccino | Nikelle Murphy/Culture Cheat Sheet

The new drink was designed to work equally well as a hot or cold beverage and was released March 22 for a limited time. (According to a Starbucks spokesperson, it will be available until May 2 or until supplies last.) A new caramelized honey sauce is the base of the drink, which is mixed with Starbucks bold espresso and topped with steamed milk. It’s finished with whipped cream and honey sugar sprinkles. “The caramel honey sauce is slowly kettle-cooked to develop a rich, caramelized flavor that stands up to our signature Starbucks espresso,” said Christal Canzler, a member of the Starbucks beverage development team.

I decided to try the frappuccino version of the drink, since I’ve got my eye on warm weather. I was also curious to see if the drink held up to being blended with ice without losing flavor. A 12-ounce (tall) Caramelized Honey Frappuccino is priced at $4.45 in California, on par with most of the chain’s specialty drinks.

If you’re ordering a frappuccino, you’re probably not purchasing it as part of your plan to cut fat or sugar from your diet. This is a good thing, since this drink has plenty of both. The 12-ounce version contains 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, and a whopping 45 grams of sugar. That’s pretty much on par with other Starbucks frappuccinos, however, so this drink isn’t breaking the mold in terms of nutritional content. But the important part is next: Was it worth the splurge?

Taste test

Starbucks Caramelized Honey Frappuccino on Starbucks patio

Starbucks Caramelized Honey Frappuccino | Nikelle Murphy/Culture Cheat Sheet

Starbucks claims this frappuccino will “truly take you to the land of milk and honey.” It might not be the Promised Land exactly, but if you prefer sweet drinks and like the taste of honey, you might get pretty close with this one.

There’s no getting around it: Frappuccinos are cloyingly sweet. I like to have coffee added to my cream and sugar versus the other way around, so I didn’t mind that part. Each creamy sip started with notes of caramel at first, which shifted to the honey and espresso flavors quickly following it. Once I finished the drink, I was left with a balanced taste of honey and espresso, which surprisingly was sweet but not overwhelming. The honey flavor is strong, but it tastes a tad less processed than most Starbucks syrups. As a result, it allowed the espresso flavors to come through. It tasted like an actual coffee drink, instead of the milkshakes some frappuccinos have a reputation for imitating.

Should you buy it?

If you don’t like honey, you probably won’t like this drink. My sister, who typically avoids honey unless it’s on her Cheerios, took a sip and decided she’d stick with her sugar-bombed Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. But if you do enjoy honey and are looking for a new cold drink to celebrate warm spring weather, this is a good option to try. The flavors didn’t get lost when they were blended with ice, which makes me believe it actually would be a solid choice no matter which version of the drink you choose.

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