Bizarre Starbucks “Secret Menu” items review


Photo by Riley Coesens

Depicted above is the strawberry kiwi refresher with coconut milk from the Starbucks “secret menu.”

Riley Coesens, Editor in Chief

Coffee cravers across the world appreciate the beloved aroma of entering a Starbucks cafe, drawn in by the familiarity and comfort that the chain’s menu has to offer; but what if you could unlock a new realm of beverages to try? The “secret menu” that this vast retailer boasts is made up of concoctions fellow fanatics dreamt of, making it a compiled list of creativity for one’s taste buds to explore. From lattes to refreshers to frappuccinos and delectable food items, the secret menu features an array of options for anyone to find a new favorite–so what are you waiting for? 

As a caffeine connoisseur, I have tried coffees from dozens of small businesses and chains alike and have determined that though Starbucks in itself does not feature supreme quality beverages, its menu features numerous fan favorites and opportunities to make something new to enjoy. One such item would be the “liquid cocaine” beverage that Chef Sam Spray and I reviewed previously in an earlier issue; this time, however, I embarked on a personal journey of self-discovery with espresso, testing just how bold this beverage could be. The original drink is as follows: four shots of espresso mixed with four pumps of white chocolate syrup, over ice. Because I so naively thought that consuming six shots of espresso was a good idea, I ordered the drink with more than the original recipe called for–I would rate the drink as a 9.8/10. It is strong, to say the least, and it packs a punch as a quick energy boost without being too bitter in flavor. As a whole, I would highly recommend trying this drink, but only if you are up to the challenge–it is a perfect jolt for caffeine lovers, and it makes you just want to listen and dance to early 2000s music for hours on end (at least that was my experience). 

The next drink I tried was not on my original beverage itinerary, but was rather a suggestion from the barista crafting the concoctions described here. Though typically I am not someone who enjoys eating (or drinking, for that matter) fruit, I thoroughly enjoyed the refresher/tea hybrid that resulted: a strawberry acai and kiwi drink with coconut milk and lite ice. After just one sip of this drink, I instantly knew what it reminded me of, taking me back years into my childhood: the immense similarity of this beverage’s taste to the tropical-flavored Trident gum is unmatched. The overly sweetness of it sent a floodgate of memories taking the MSTEP and MEAP tests to the forefront of my mind, as this was the gum that schools often provided during these standardized tests for elementary school students who were lucky enough to have to partake in them. My only complaint with this refresher would be the free-floating strawberry seeds and small fruit pieces that would make their way through the straw, sending an unwanted surprise as I tried to peacefully consume the drink–nonetheless, I would consider getting this again, as I would rate it 5.6/10. 

Finally, the last beverage I tasted for this issue was disappointing for me, but could be enjoyable for others: an iced raspberry mocha latte (with lite ice, of course). I would rate this as a 4.2/10, because it simply wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for–the flavor has an uncanny resemblance to slightly dried-out dark chocolate raspberry fudge that one might purchase up north, only to try it and realize it is not worth the calories, as it is just alright at best. The overpowering bitterness of the chocolate turned the originally sweet, sugary liquid raspberry syrup into a confusing, unagreeable taste; the saving grace of it all was the whipped cream. After originally sipping the drink with the whipped cream on top, I was disappointed; once I mixed it all together, however, the concoction instantly improved with the addition of more sugar into the blended mess–my conclusion is that whipped cream is always the solution to an upsetting Starbucks order. Also, the espresso in it helped too.

Whether you’re a dedicated coffee connoisseur like me or you would prefer more mild, sugary drinks, there is something for everyone on the Starbucks “secret menu”–go to your local Starbucks location today to give one a try!