Starbucks is not one to overlook a holiday. Sometimes Starbucks goes full holiday mode with a new assortment of themed drinks, food, to-go cups, and even merchandise. Other times, there is a limited-time-only holiday drink or new holiday cold foams. Now Valentine's Day 2024 is right around the corner, and Starbucks is ready. This year, Starbucks is debuting two drinks to help you feel the love ... or at least score a festive, tasty drink.
Starting on January 30, there are two new drinks on the menu, together making up the Love at First Sip duo. Both drinks, in the cold drink category, tap into traditional Valentine's Day flavors and treats like chocolate, strawberries, and cookies. One drink is coffee-based and the other is not, making it a fun treat to grab later in the day or share with a special someone who avoids caffeine. The options are different enough to appeal to a wide, varied audience.
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What Is The Love At First Sip Duo?
The Love at First Sip duo is a limited-time featured collection of two drinks released in advance of Valentine's Day to celebrate the holiday. Both drinks play into the flavors and colors of Valentine's Day. The first drink is the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew. The drink consists of Starbucks cold brew over ice, flavored and lightly sweetened with hazelnut syrup. It is topped with chocolate cream cold foam and a sprinkle of cookie crumble topping. There is only one version of the chocolate cream cold foam, which is dairy-based.
The second drink is a Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino. This blended drink is a nod to the iconic Valentine's Day treat, chocolate-covered strawberries. The drink is a creamy blend with ice, milk, strawberry puree, and java chips. It is layered over more strawberry puree and topped with a generous swirl of whipped cream. This drink does not have any espresso or coffee. The crème base and the whipped cream contain dairy.
Where Can You Find These 2 New Drinks?
This pair of new drinks will be available on the Starbucks menu beginning January 30, 2024. The drinks will initially be listed in their respective categories, with the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew under Cold Coffees and the subcategory of cold brews on the app, and the Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino listed under Frappuccino blended beverages, in the subcategory of creme Frappuccino. Starting February 1, 2024, they will be displayed together as featured drinks on the app as the Love at First Sip duo.
The drinks will be available at company-operated Starbucks stores in the U.S. for an undetermined period of time while supplies last, according to the company. While Starbucks does not have franchises, it does have licensed stores — such as locations inside Target, airports, or college campuses — and people should not expect to find the Love at First Sip offerings at those sites.
How Much Does The Love At First Sip Duo Cost?
The price of the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew and Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino will vary from market to market. You can expect to pay between $5.25 and $5.75 for a grande Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew. This pricing is comparable to a regular Chocolate Cream Cold Brew, which comes with two pumps of vanilla syrup and the chocolate cream cold foam but no cookie topping, and costs between $5.25 and $5.45 in the New York City area. In fact, it's likely cheaper to order the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew versus customizing a regular Chocolate Cream Cold Brew. While switching from vanilla to hazelnut syrup does not cost extra, adding the cookie topping will tack on an extra charge.
A grande Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino will run between $5.95 and $6.75. A regular Strawberry Crème Frappuccino costs between $5.75 and $5.95 in the New York City area, and lacks the blended chips that transform this into a chocolate and strawberry treat. While extra strawberry puree can be added at no additional cost, the chips also incur a surcharge.
Taste Test: The Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew
This drink is both familiar and unique at the same time, which makes sense because none of the elements in the drink are new to Starbucks, just the combination. The chocolate cream cold foam (one of many Starbucks cold foam flavors) is a pale creamy brown layered on top of dark cold brew. The cookie crumbles rest on top of the foam and do not dissolve or sink down on their own. As the drink sits, a small amount of the foam slowly and gently streaks into the coffee, but the coffee and chocolate cream will largely stay separate unless you stir them together.
It is not an overly sweet drink. Even though there is hazelnut syrup in the coffee, it does not add much flavor or sweetness to the bold cold brew, just a hint of nuttiness. The chocolate cold foam — which is malty, rich, and delicious — is super creamy and dense, but not intensely sweet. The cookie crumbs are a tasty final touch, adding a little texture and subtle chocolate flavor. Overall, the drink feels sophisticated but fun. It is absolutely a coffee drink, as the flavorings and chocolate cream take the edge off the intensity of plain cold brew, but just the edge. It's still a dark, intense drink that goes down easy and is perfect for a coffee lover.
Taste Test: The Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino
The look of this drink gives instant strawberry and chocolate vibes. The pink base has generous swirls of red strawberries and lots of chocolate flecks from the blended chips. The Starbucks signature crown of whipped cream makes you eager to dig in, and holds its pretty swirl well as you drink.
The first sip immediately takes you to milkshake territory, with a bold berry flavor that is both creamy and sweet. The strawberries have a bright, fresh flavor, tasting very much like real fruit and avoiding any off or artificial flavors. The blended chips are subtle, adding some texture and a gentle hint of chocolate. It is definitely a strawberry-first drink with chocolate, versus a chocolate-strawberry drink. It is quite sweet and rich, and as with any Creme Frappuccino, it does not have any coffee to help cut through the sugar (as you'll find in several of the best Starbucks Frappuccinos). But the dessert vibes of this frosty treat will certainly appeal to many looking for a different kind of pick-me-up than the caffeine hit from tea or coffee.
The Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew Vs. The Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino
Starbucks was clever to pair these drinks together as a duo, because they could not be more different. One is only lightly sweet and creamy, and centered around intense coffee. The other has no coffee and is more reminiscent of dessert than breakfast fodder. The common thread is a spike of chocolate, but beyond that, they are covering a wide audience base with these offerings.
The Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew is perfect for a coffee lover who likes their iced coffee strong, but not too fussy or sweet. It's got just the right amount of extra oomph to make it feel special but not over-the-top. The Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino, on the other hand, is for someone looking for a little something extra. Between the large swirl of strawberry puree, the blended chips, and the swirl of whipped cream, it has a lot of sugar that will be a solid pick-me-up, even without caffeine.
Is The Love At First Sip Duo Worth It?
Both drinks in the Love at First Sip duo are on par with similar drinks on the Starbucks menu already, so the pricing is nothing unexpected for a regular customer, though still on the pricey side (unlike the best-value drinks to order at Starbucks). While these combinations could be built at any time by customizing a cold brew or a creme Frappuccino, it will cost more to do it that way than to buy the drink as listed for Valentine's Day. It is the perfect opportunity to try something new without having to pay for surcharges.
Nutrition-wise, both the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Cold Brew and the Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Crème Frappuccino fall in the same caloric range of other drinks in their style, with a Frappuccino clocking in 100 to 200 calories more than a cold foam-topped cold brew of the same size. So, with the price and nutrition comparable, it all comes down to taste. Both of these drinks were delightful, creamy, and bursting with flavor. Either is a great option, depending on your mood and caffeine needs. .
Read the original article on Tasting Table.