Starbucks (SBUX) brought out its “Summer Mix” menu in early August featuring a number of new takes on old classics. The drinks, which included Pink Drink topped with Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam and Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew in a caramel-lined cup could only be ordered through the chain’s app.
The offer was part of the chain’s goal of pushing customers into using its app to order (although they probably would still make the drink if you waited in line to order it). Starbucks also wanted to encourage customers to create their own takes on their favorite beverages.
“Customizing beverages is at the heart of the Starbucks Experience, and there are many ways for customers to customize their drink to meet their unique taste preferences,” the chain shared.
One of the special beverages was an interesting one — Cold Brew Lemonade. That’s a mix of cold brew coffee and lemonade. And while the Summer Remix promotion has ended, you can still order this unique concoction by ordering a cold brew through the app and customizing it by adding lemonade.
Coffee and lemonade aren’t exactly peanut butter and chocolate or even two flavors most people would consider pairing. Starbucks has, however, made that pairing possible so TheStreet reporter Veronika Bondarenko and this reporter set out to their local Starbucks locations to give Cold Brew Lemonade a try.
Scroll to Continue
Is the Cold Brew Iced Coffee Lemonade Worth the Hype?
Veronika Bondarenko: I came into this taste test with a lot of preconceptions. I get my caffeine fix from diet soda instead of coffee and (with a few exceptions) generally find coffee’s bitter taste off-putting. There have also been a lot of internet rumblings about the travesty of lemonade-infused cold brew so I fully expected to hate this drink from the very first sip.
That isn’t actually what happened. I found that the lemony-sweet taste sweetened out the drink and gave a less intense flavor to the coffee. The beverage may have prompted a Twitter (TWTR) ratio (a social media term term meaning that something got more critical comments than likes) but its real-world appeal also comes down to promotion. A little lemonade can make your cold brew sweeter while too much will give the acidic taste that repulsed so many.
The lemonade and the coffee also do not blend so just when you tell yourself that this tastes “just like lemonade,” you get a whiff of coffee to remind you that it isn’t.
I wouldn’t order this for myself regularly but, considering that there’s now coffee-flavored Coca-Cola (KO) products, this is far from the worst caffeinated drink to have on a summer day.
No, Coffee and Lemonade Don’t Go Together
Daniel Kline: Unlike Veronika, I’m a coffee drinker. There’s an espresso machine my kitchen and I’m a fairly regular (maybe 3-4 times a week) Starbucks customer with my regular order being either a Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew or an iced decaffeinated Americano with Salted Caramel Cream Cold Foam. I’m also someone known to drink a black espresso shot with dinner when a long night appears to be ahead of me.
The Cold Brew Lemonade smells deeply of coffee which makes the lemonade taste even more surprising. The two flavors don’t really mix, as it’s sort of a strong coffee hit followed by a lemonade flavor that varies in strength. I didn’t find the lemonade added much sweetness (and perhaps adding some sugar might improve the overall taste).
While I didn’t love the combination of flavors (or really, the lack of combination), I also wasn’t as horrified as I expected to be. The appeal wasn’t evident even as a novelty — this just seemed like mixing two things that don’t complement each other for no real reason.