"What is that stuff?" I asked the barista, eyeing the dark tan mixture he poured into my Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino.
"I don't really know," he responded. As if to explain, he added, "I just got back from a two-week vacation, so I'm kind of out of it. And this is our first day making this drink."
I watched with both curiosity and suspicion as he followed the tan liquid with a more-than-generous drizzle of caramel and a shower of toffee-colored bits. I'd stopped into my neighborhood Starbucks to check out the new offering, released today — the first new Frappuccino flavor in a year — but after watching two being made, I still wasn't sure what was going into the drink.
Keep reading to learn more about the Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino.
Turns out the new beverage, which is inspired by the existing Caramel Frappuccino, is made of "a blend of buttery caramel syrup with Frappuccino roast coffee, milk, and ice, then topped with a layer of dark caramel sauce, whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and a crunchy caramel sugar topping." For non-coffee drinkers, there's a similar, java-free option: the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino.
Despite all the caramel elements in the drink, the beverage aficionados in our office found the drink to be bland and sugary at best — and not a far departure from the classic Caramel Frappuccino. "Not too much toffee/caramel flavor," one remarked. "Lacks the rich complexity of bitter toffee sweetness," another added. "I would be sick if I had more," a third lamented. And then this remark: "This is why America is fat."
The only redeeming part? Those toffee bits, which added a nice crunch before melting away, like a maple sugar candy. But for a Frappuccino this sweet, we'd rather skip it in favor of dessert.