The drinks come in two varieties: Almond and Cacao. Both are made by blending Starbuck's cold brew concentrate with plant-based proteins — rice protein and pea protein, to be specific — a Banana Date Fruit Blend, and ice. The almond version also contains almond butter and almond milk, while the cacao flavor gets the addition of coconut milk and cacao powder.
Customers can customize the drinks by replacing the Banana Date Fruit Blend with a whole banana. Other customizations include adjusting the amount of almond butter and cacao powder, adding both to your drink, adding shots of espresso, adding extra protein, or substituting the cold brew for decaf espresso roast.
The New Protein Blended Cold Brews are a sign that Starbucks is continuing to make good on its commitment to offering more plant-based menu items, which Rosalind Brewer, the company’s chief operating officer, hinted at during 2018's annual shareholder's meeting back in March. A Starbucks representative told Refinery29 that every ingredient that goes into the Protein Blended Cold Brews has been certified vegan. Since the drinks will be prepared behind the Starbucks counter with non-vegan offerings, however, customers should be aware that cross-contamination is possible.
We had a chance to try out the new smoothie-coffee hybrids ahead of today's official launch, and they were definitely unlike anything we've ever tasted at Starbucks. Despite the fact that cold brew is one of the main ingredients in the new drinks, their consistencies are definitely more smoothie-like. With the addition of the protein powder, they have a slightly grainy texture, which may feel a little strange to anyone who has never sipped a protein shake before. It's not totally unlike the somewhat coarse texture that's created when almond butter is added to a smoothie.