Crystal Ball Frappuccino Review

I Tried The New Starbucks Crystal Ball Frappuccino And... Eh

My inner 12-year-old loved it. My 20-year-old self, not so much.
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As a proud Starbucks gold star member, I rarely miss a special. I hopped on board the Unicorn Frappuccino trend, completed my Bingo board in 4 days (and with the least possible number of transactions), and frequently receive notifications from all my money saving apps that I'm "spending more than the average on Starbucks" like leave me alone, you don't know my life.

So when I heard about the Crystal Ball Frappuccino, I was intrigued. The promotional material didn't provide much information, relying instead on the "magical" factor of different colored sprinkles. It was an inefficient marketing technique so of course, it worked. What can I say, I was curious.

I bit the bullet and bought the drink. Like any of the frappuccinos, it cost me more than $5 and it came out looking fun, swirled white with green with sugary green sprinkles on top. Upon the first sip, I was not impressed. I wasn't surprised either, but I wasn't impressed.

It tasted like an artificial peach-flavored sugar explosion in my mouth, like the perfect frappuccino to try if you're 12-years-old and you're at the mall with your friends and you've never had coffee before. It was sugary, sweet, a hint of fruity, creamy, and brought me back to the middle school days of Vanilla Bean and Strawberries & Creme frappuccinos.

But given that I'm not 12-years-old, it reminded me of some other things. It tasted like the cheapest peach vodka we could find to mix with orange juice in the basement after junior prom. The association was almost enough to make me sick and the traumatic memory that it brought back was far from welcome.

As someone who has a paper due in a couple hours and a final exam in the morning that has not even been addressed yet, it tasted like a painful lack of caffeine and also a sugar-induced headache.

Did I finish it? Of course I did. I'm not going to pay nearly $6 for a drink I'm not going to drink (it was nonfat mom and dad, don't worry). But I feel like, again, Starbucks missed the mark with this "special" drink.

It's basically peaches and cream flavored, plus more sugar with the sprinkles, food coloring, and whipped cream. Whether or not it contains caffeine, I don't really know, but I'd be willing to bet it doesn't. What it does contain though is a lot of sugar, quite a bit of disappointment, and absolutely no intention to try it again.

It's pretty, it's cute, and it's fun. That plus the marketing technique and the target audience of preteens will probably make it do pretty well. But on behalf of sleep-deprived, caffeine-addicted college students everywhere, if the next special Starbucks drink could actually contain coffee and fewer rainbows and magic, that'd be great.

Cover Image Credit: Maria Nelson

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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A Saturday In The Life Of A Freshman

Welcome to Darty Season

epgainey
epgainey
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Have you ever had a more stereotypical freshman's Saturday than my friends Maddie, Lauren, Jocelyn, Meg, Barbara, and I? Keep reading to see a packed day in darty season from a freshman's point of view.

9:00 am

My alarm that I meant to set for the day before goes off. I begrudgingly roll over, and turn it off, falling back asleep.

10:00 am

I finally wake up, roll, or jump, out of my lofted bed, grab my laptop, and do a little studying for my exam on Monday -- there's no time for that later today, so I've gotta get some of it done then.

10:30 am

Shower. Pick an outfit. Brush teeth. Makeup. Pack a bag of extra clothes.

12:00 pm

I walked downstairs to the lobby to meet two of my friends who were gonna walk with me to Tutweiler Hall.

12:30 pm

My friends and I at the fundraising event

Elizabeth Gainey

We arrived at Tut, met our friends, then left to go to a philantropy event at Sig Tau sponsored by B+, an organization that assists the families of children diagnosed with cancer. Their burgers and fries were top notch.

2:30 pm

The Hackberrys, a band comprised of UA students, played the event. We left to go back to Tut after a few songs.

3:00 pm

We finally got back at Tut, changed clothes, listened to music, hung out.

3:45 pm

We *finally* left for Pike (sorry mom!). You know how long it takes five girls to get ready, so don't act so shocked.

4:10 pm

Myself, super escstatic about having to wait in a mob of people to get in

Elizabeth Gainey

Have you ever arrived to a frat when it's at capacity? Yeah, around 100 screaming girls were shoving to get into the darty. It was an experience like no other, but eventually, we made our way in. It may have been in groups of two, and we definitely lost a girl to the crowd (she's fine!), but we made it.

6:30 pm

After dancing on an elevated surface or two, walking in circles around their courtyard, watching an active climb into a basketball goal, and waiting in a way-too-long line for the restroom, we decided to go back to Tut.

6:45 pm

We definitely made a stop to grab a snack or two on our way back to Tut.

7:15 pm

After realizing that none of the parties at night were gonna start until around 10 pm, we decided to watch some random YouTube videos and Netflix to pass the time. There was also another stop for snacks at the infamous Julia's on the first floor of Tut.

9:30 pm

My third outfit change of the day. We decided to leave Tut for frat row for the third time that day, too. I wanna say my total steps for the day was around 17,000? It was a lot.

10:00 pm

Best view in the house (Myself on the left, Maddie on the right)

Elizabeth Gainey

We got to Sigma Pi as the party was just starting to build up. Their band room was filled within the hour, and they had a pretty good DJ. Although the active yelling at me and my friend to get off the stage was no fun.

11:00 pm

Have you ever faked out a frat boy with a soccer ball? Well, now I can say I have.

12:00 am

After someone pulled the fire alarm on Sigma Pi, we decided to walk back to Tut.

12:45 am

My two Ragecrest friends and I decided to take the bus back because, after the stretch to and from frat row three times, we had no more walking left in us.

1:00 am

Canes chicken tenders. Enough said. It's the way to end a night.

It was a very packed, but very fun and eventful day. We pretty much hit all the spring semester stereotypes: walking along and to frat row, going to a darty, going to a frat party, going to a philanthropy event, and more. As crazy as the day was, I highly recommend trying a day like this once because you won't forget it!

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