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.