Starbucks’ new holiday drinks are kind of a secret

Usually, when Starbucks releases new limited-time-offer (LTO) beverages, it puts them in the “Featured” section of its app. That’s important exposure because nearly three-quarters (72%) of the chain’s sales in the United States happen over its app or at its drive-through window.

Basically, unless they have heard about a new item from a friend, a news story, or via an ad, there’s no way for customers to know what’s new at the chain. Pull up the Starbucks (SBUX) – Get Free Report app right now and you will see the top row of the “Featured” section showing off its seasonal drinks like the Caramel Brûlée Latte, the Peppermint Mocha,. and the Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, under a “Festive Flavors” heading.

Related: Starbucks is cashing in on a billion-dollar trend (some customers will be annoyed)

Right under that, the chain showcases “Icy Festivity” favorites, which are the iced versions of its holiday LTOs. This year, however, Starbucks has also added four new cold foam flavors but customers who don’t know they exist will likely struggle to find them and mobile order customers who do know about them may also not know how to order them.

Here is how you order the new Starbucks Holiday Cold Foam drinks

The four new cold foam flavors — Peppermint Chocolate Cream, Sugar Cookie Cream, Chestnut Praline and Caramel Brulée — are not considered drinks by the chain. So, to order them by mobile, you need to pick basic cold brew or iced coffee and add the new foams.

In a cafe, you can order them, but to do that you need to know they exist and, at least at the locations we visited in Manhattan and South Florida, no signs or menu boards mentioned them.

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If you can find them, however, you may be delighted at your discovery.

-Daniel Kline, The Arena Group’s Editor At Large

While walking around New York City last week, I took the chance to pop into a Starbucks on two separate occasions to try the new cold foam lattes. As I have written when Starbucks first started testing the idea of cold foam last year, I am a big fan despite never buying the drinks on which they come outside of testing them for these articles. They taste like a cloud infused with delicious things such as chocolate, caramel, and different types of nuts.

It was designed to be a rich pop of flavor on top of a regular coffee or cold brew for those who do not want to go for a full-on treat like the Frappuccino, but I would totally eat these foams with a spoon.

The first one I tried was the Peppermint Chocolate Cream Cold Brew — nothing encapsulates holiday flavors better than chocolate and peppermint and this foam lived up to my high expectations. I ordered it at a small Starbucks in New York’s NoMad district and did not run into any major difficulties. The barista knew exactly what I wanted when I asked for it but it is worth noting that there was not a single sign or menu indication that this was on the menu. At least when I went in early December, you had to ask for it yourself.

Starbucks has four new foam flavors.

Veronika Bondarenko

Chocolate or hazelnut? We tested both

Two days later, I went into a much larger Starbucks near Times Square to try another cold foam (research duty calls!) This time, there were a few minor complications — the barista was confused when I asked for the “cold brew cold foam holiday drink” and said something like “I’m not sure but I think we can make it” after scrolling through the app and checking with a colleague.

They were also out of sugar cookie syrup to make the Sugar Cookie Cream foam I wanted to try so I ended up going with the Chestnut Praline drink foam. But despite the barista’s hesitation at the beginning, the drink came out looking just like in the promotional photos — a big white cloud on top of a cold brew with a lot of cinnamon and some decorative sprinkles on top. 

The whiff of chestnut hits you hard if you like that kind of thing but, if paying for it myself, I’d probably go with the Peppermint Mocha or the Sugar Cookie Cream I didn’t get to try. Starbucks, I’m telling you: start selling those bowls of foam. 

-Veronika Bondarenko, TheStreet’s Travel Writer

The Chestnut Praline Cream Cold Foam was very pretty but not Veronika’s favorite.

Veronika Bondarenko

Caramel Brûlée beats Sugar Cookie Cream

In general, I’m a big fan of Starbucks’ Cold Foam. It adds a level of decadence to your coffee while keeping your drink under 200 calories for a grande (medium). That’s about half the calories of some of the chain’s higher-calorie offerings.

The various cold foam flavors vary when it comes to delivering the expected flavors Salted Caramel Cream Cold Foam adds a distinct salted caramel flavor to your drink while the Irish Cream Cold Foam did not have a recognizable taste if I did not know its name.

That was arguably how I felt about the new Sugar Cookie Cream flavor. It was vaguely sweet and not unpleasant, but aside from the tiny sugar pellets sprinkled on top, nothing about it really suggest “sugar cookie” as the flavor.

The Caramel Brûlée Cold Foam, however, sets a new standard for the genre. It delivered an airy take on the higher-calorie Caramel Brûlée Latte which was also a much lighter beverage to sip. 

This will be my default go-to drink for the winter season, and hopefully, the chain will make it a regular seasonal offering.

Daniel Kline

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