Yesterday, Starbucks announced the launch of two new summer drinks. The beverages, which in Starbucks' photos look absolutely gorgeous, are characterized as "cold foam tea lemonades." We know from experience that tea and lemonade complement one another, but the cold foam element is more of a curveball. Though we were a little wary of the fruity tea, lemonade, and dairy combination, the drinks' Instagram-worthy status sparked our curiosity.
One of the two drinks — the ombre yellow one — is called the Summer Sunrise, and it’s a pineapple infusion made with lemonade and sweetened with syrup. The beverage is then topped with Teavana Passion Tango herbal tea-infused cold foam. The other drink — the reddish one — is called the Summer Sunset and it's almost exactly the same as the Summer Sunrise except that it also gets a splash of Teavana Passion Tango Tea.
Based on the reactions we got from baristas when we ordered both the Summer Sunrise and Summer Sunset, these drinks have the potential become the new Unicorn Frappuccino. The baristas who helped us were very open about how confusing the drinks' extremely similar recipes are. However, they may not have to make that many of these new drinks because we're not so sure they'll become repeat purchases.
The most prominent flavor in both drinks is pineapple. The Summer Sunset does have a tartness from the Teavana Passion Tango Tea, but they both taste a lot like pineapple gummy bears in a liquified form. While that could be a positive or a negative depending on your feelings about pineapple gummy bears, for us, the extreme sweetness somehow made the drinks less refreshing. We would be curious to try the offerings without the sweetening syrup.
Sweetness aside, we were actually more disappointed by how the Summer Sunset and Summer Sunrise looked. The festive photos Starbucks shared of the beverages really did make them look like a breathtaking sunrise or sunset, ideal for our IG feeds. In real life, however, the foam mixed with the sweet beverage in a way that mimicked the cloudy look of egg drop soup. After a few minutes, the milk also began to separate, giving the drinks a curdled look.
While we wait for Starbucks' next Instagrammable beverage, for now, we'll be sticking to the foamless black tea lemonade as our go-to summertime pick-me-up.