Coffee Date: In Memoriam: The Unicorn Frappuccino

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Coffee Date is a new column that features discussions of beverages stemming from leaves and beans.  Whether you brew your own or need a hip barista pouring it in front of you, we’ve got you covered for brands to try at home, coffee shops with some personality, and what you should try or avoid from your regular coffee chains.

Although I originally intended to cover the Bones’ Maple Bacon Coffee, upon drinking, I realized there’s not really any thrills to this one.  It’s a little sweet, a little smoky, but the bacon taste isn’t there.  It’s fine, but it’s not great.  Instead today, we’re going to talk about that fucking Unicorn Frappuccino.

It’s fitting that the original intention was to write about Bones, a coffee I only bought due to a viral marketing campaign.  With the Unicorn Frap, Starbucks barely had to market it farther than saying, “We have this.”  It’s a drink created for the sake of Instagram posts.  It’s fun to look at, coffee-based, and everyone is already talking about it.  Even yesterday when I was in Starbucks, a woman said, “Hi, I want to buy the pink drink.”  She then walked out when they said they couldn’t make it anymore.

The actual drink was fine.  I’m not the biggest fan of ultra-sweet anything, but it didn’t hurt to get it once.  It really reminded me of a McDonald’s Vanilla Milkshake back in the 90’s with occasional tastes of sour syrup.  It was incredibly sugary tasting, but it was passable.  I’d never get it again, and the only reason I really bought it was for the likes.  As far as I know, I was one of the first of my friends to buy it.  To be totally honest, the only real reason Starbucks would keep this is for children and the young at heart.  I would have loved this drink when I was 13, but now, I can’t handle more than a little sweetness.

Now, the whole gimmick of the Unicorn Frap really only erupted and stopped quickly, because the beverage was only available for a week.  For Starbucks, it’s actually genius marketing.  Their stock soared for that week.  If the Bucks were to add this to their permanent menu, people wouldn’t flock to it in droves.  Look at the Pumpkin Spice Latte: they could definitely sell it year-round, but people buy it more, because it’s only available for a few months.  It shouldn’t come as a shock if Starbucks brings it back once a week every year until society collapses.  That being said, I’d stick with Bones’ boring Maple Bacon over the vibrant Unicorn Frap.

James Crowley

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