Just in time for Halloween, Starbucks released a new frappuccino on October 26 for a limited time only. The “Zombie Frappuccino” is available until Halloween in the United States and Canada, and is meant to be the perfect seasonal drink to raise the spooky spirits of Halloween.
A ghostly green drink topped with red drizzle and pink whipped cream, the Zombie Frappuccino was designed to appear like a zombie, from the green, rotting flesh to the brains sticking out at the top. Whether or not this is achieved in real life has been been put to the test.
In actuality, the zombie-like appearance was achieved, but with mediocrity. Unlike Starbucks-sponsored images of the drink, the greenish-brownish color of the drink was unappealing, only saved by the pink whipped cream “brains.” Together, they achieved the creepy color combo to get one in the Halloween spirit. The red drizzle, however, looked sloppy instead of Instagram-worthy.
At first taste, the Zombie Frappuccino had a lot going on. After a few sips, individual flavors could be detected and identified, but there was never a moment where every flavor worked together to create one indulgent taste. Intending to be a candy-apple flavor, the frap had a sour apple base, with tastes of caramel that come and go. The candy-apple flavor was spot on, but as a frappuccino, fruity flavors will never work out.
The sour apple flavor didn’t play well as an indulgent drink, but it was occasionally salvaged by the caramel flavor that, unfortunately, wasn’t present in every sip. The whipped cream was the most comfortable flavor in the combo, but the mix of the strange apple flavor and Starbucks whipped cream was not a harmonious combination.
While making themed drinks that are designed to appear as something is a cute idea, taste must always be a factor in the mix. The taste of a product should never be compromised for the appearance, especially if the appearance doesn’t appear appetizing, either.
Starbucks has developed a liking for releasing limited edition drinks, which are limited for a few days rather than a few months. The Unicorn Frappuccino is a prime example of this, having been released on April 19 of 2017, and being available for five days only. It blew up on every form of social media, causing immense success to the franchise. Like the Unicorn Frap, the Zombie Frap sold out on the first day in many locations.
Even though the actual drink could be considered vomit-inducing for some individuals, the thought that it’s only available for a few days draws consumers in. Despite all its flaws, the Zombie Frap still brought millions to the Starbucks corporation, because it didn’t matter that it was, frankly, a bad idea from the start. It’s almost safe to say that Starbucks fans don’t care about authenticity; when a consumer is fully aware that they’re paying $4.50 for a cup of coffee that costs twenty cents to make, they’re clearly in it for the ride.
This was the case for the Zombie Frappuccino. While a cute idea, it wasn’t played out well and ended with a less-than-perfect appearance and a mix of flavors that clashed hard.
Photo by Sarah Khan