The Starbucks Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino: The Perfect Summer Send-Off

By Ellie Drabnis on August 28, 2017

With summer coming to a close and classes starting back up at the college and graduate student level, those summer flavors of everything from iced teas to coffees are disappearing right before the eyes of us higher education students.

Right when I was ready to let go of summer flavored teas, coffees, or anything in the realm of new flavors of either until the return of the fall season, Starbucks announced that they were releasing the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino.

My eyes widened in disbelief when I got the email message announcing the news. I was very excited and while I was originally nervous to try the beverage, I would never know until I tried it for myself.

Starbucks Horchata Frappuccino Announcement Email

The announcement e-mail I received from Starbucks about the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino.
(Screenshot is taken from my G-mail account on iPhone, edited on FireAlpaca)

What is horchata?

Horchata is a rice-based drink, however, the add-ins and other base ingredients vary across Spain and Latin America; there are even some different adaptations in the United States.

Regardless of where we hail from and the specific recipe aside, most of us Latinos enjoy horchata very much. Even some of our fully-Americano friends enjoy it as well.

It is also worth mentioning that, while horchata can be freshly made by following one’s chosen recipe, pre-made mix that just requires adding water is also available.

I’ve had both, and while I do prefer the made-from-scratch variety, horchata made from a mix isn’t horrible.

Once you add enough vanilla and cinnamon, it tastes very similar to the freshly made variety. That is the Guatemalan variation. And yes, I am a certified cinnamon hater, but when it is used well within a drink or even a food item and does not overpower the flavors that should be at the forefront, cinnamon can stay for the party that is trying and going on to enjoy the food or drink at hand.

What’s the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino like?

I ended up ordering a tall (Starbucks small-size) if only because I learned my lesson ordering large or medium versions of drinks I wasn’t yet familiar with.

Now, what has to be remembered is that Frappuccinos are very reminiscent of milkshakes. Even if a flavor is at the forefront, that flavor cannot stand alone.

What I’m saying is, while this new frap has ‘Horchata’ in the title, it is not solely horchata-based.

Horchata has a much lighter and more watered down consistency than a Frappuccino would ever have. Thus, almond milk along with ice end up making it into the drink at an even amount, once again ensuring that the drink retains its ‘milkshake consistency.’ This makes the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino possible.

The sign about the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino being ‘Creamy-Cool & Cinnamon Sweet’
(taken on iPhone at the Starbucks location, edited with FireAlpaca)

The cinnamon throughout the drink does a wonderful job of binding the horchata and almond milk flavors together, and if a cinnamon hater like myself enjoyed it, I can ensure actual fans of cinnamon flavors would as well.

Often times, spices in drinks can turn out to be overpowering to the drink itself, but not here. The flavor of cinnamon remained subtle all while ensuring that the horchata and almond milk flavors were brought to the forefront.

Final verdict: Worth the try

From the brightness and different take on a Frappuccino to the overall balance of flavors, the Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino is the perfect beverage to try as we say goodbye to summer. And, who knows? Maybe it will stick around a little longer or come back the next almost-over summer season.

Really though, this beverage is the perfect treat to a summer well-spent and will remind you that trying something new is always worth it. As advertised, the drink is indeed ‘creamy cool’ and ‘cinnamon-sweet’ but certainly not too sweet. That alone makes the drink definitely worth trying.

The only thing I do ask, however, is that Starbucks refrain from making a ‘Pumpkin Spice Horchata’ anything because that would just ruin the lovely drink that is already in place.
-Comm Major with minors in journalism and broadcasting -An aspiring reporter -Mixed and proud ^^ (Russian American on Dad's side,100% Guatemalan on mom's side) -Spanish is my first language

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