Every time Starbucks releases new flavors, you can hear the collective “Squeee!” from all the Starbucks-aholics (you know the type I’m talking about) around you. So naturally when the coffee mega-chain released news of two new limited-edition flavors—Smoked Butterscotch and Citrus Green Tea—earlier this week, we headed straight for our nearest green-clad barista to test the new tastes for ourselves.
We weren’t impressed, and it seems we are alone in our finding—the Internet appears to be going nuts over the new flavors. Some folks have gone so far as to claim the Butterscotch Frapp and Latte are as close to Harry Potter’s beloved Butter Beer as we mere Muggles will ever get. Excuse me, but no. “There’s so much smoky flavor you can’t taste anything else,” wrote one taste tester here in the CL office. “Holy crap! Too. Much. Sugar!!!” wrote another.
Admittedly, we look at these taste tests through a different lens than most of our foodie brethren, but we like a sticky-sweet pseudo coffee drink as much as the next caffeine-crazed workaholic. Still, we couldn’t let a taste test alone suffice as our review of the new flavors, so we took a look at the numbers.
A Grande (16 oz.) Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino (2% milk) with whip has 430 calories, 16g fat, 10g saturated fat, 320mg sodium, and 65g sugar. That’s the same amount of sugar as a 20-ounce Coca-Cola and as much saturated fat as a Big Mac. To put that into perspective, a person eating a 2,000-calories-per-day diet should eat no more than 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat in any day. So one of these, and you’re maxed out. Say no to the whip and you shave off 120 calories, 11g fat, 6.5g sat fat, 10mg sodium, and just 4g sugar. Still not a real winner.
The Smoked Butterscotch Latte fares a bit better if you’re looking solely at the nutrition facts, but it’s still a major tally on your daily counts. A Grande (16 oz.) Smoked Butterscotch Latte (2% milk) has 350 calories, 14g fat, 9g saturated fat, 350mg sodium, and 41g of sugar. Starbucks’ classic latte has only 190 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g sat fat, 150mg sodium, and 17g sugar. That means they’ve poured in 2 tablespoons of added sugar on top of the natural sugars found in the milk used to make a latte. Two whole tablespoons, when you should be limiting your daily intake of sugar to just 38g for an entire day. That’s a lot—and the flavor certainly doesn’t make up for these nutrition facts.