By now, you’ve probably heard of Starbucks’ newest sweet summer sensation—the Tie-Dye Frappuccino. Described as a “deliciously tropical fruity drink” decorated with “vibrant…red, blue, and yellow tie-dye swirls” via dashes of red beets, turmeric, and spirulina, this colorful, vaguely banana- and vanilla-flavored drink is meant to evoke feelings of sweet summertime. Sweet, sweet, way-too-damn-short summertime.
If you’re jonesing for a taste of this hippie-inspired blended coffee beverage, you need not train it up to Woodstock (R.I.P.), but rather pop into one of the nearly 30,000 Starbucks locations (U.S. and Canada only). But do it quickly because this far-out frappuccino will only be around for the next four days or until supplies run out.
Here in New York City, there’s a “Starbs” on every corner—for better or worse—so we were able to snag one. Having already read a few, let’s call them, “mixed” reviews, we ordered it up with an ounce or two of apprehension and double-shot of excitement. Things got off to a rocky start when our request to the barista was met with “I don’t like it. It’s full of food coloring and there’s no real flavor.” Uh oh… But despite her warning, we continued—bravely, I might add—in the pursuit of our own Tie-Dye Frappuccino truth.
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Previous reviews warned us not to expect much in terms of presentation and appearance (cue “expectation versus reality” meme), so we were prepared for the worst. As we accepted our colorful concoction from the hard-working barista, it certainly didn’t look as advertised, but we all agreed it looked better than expected. The base of the drink was a pale yellow (banana?) with some streaks of blue and purple, all topped with a cloud of whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. The taste, which Starbucks describes as “deliciously fruity,” began with an overwhelming sweetness, followed by some artificial banana-esque flavor before fading out into a more familiar vanilla bean Frappuccino. Some of us liked it okay while others took a hard pass on seconds.
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The colors and texture settled pretty quickly, leaving us with nothing more than a depressingly pale yellow and milky ice mixture that was mostly unpleasant to drink through a straw. As the sprinkles on top mixed and melted into a blueish-grey sludge, the whipped cream became altogether unappetizing, too. Things were spiraling from bad to worse and after about two sips each, we’d had enough.
The takeaway: If you can get to a Starbucks within the next few days and try this funky drink before it melts away, then go for it. Why not? If you can’t, don’t sweat it. It’s probably not worth the 400 calories per 16-ounce drink anyway. Go get out there and enjoy your summer elsewhere before it inevitably melts away, too. Plus, there’s always frosé to console you.
Header image courtesy of Starbucks