From unicorns to horchata.
Starbucks announced Tuesday its new Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino is now available in participating U.S. and Canada stores, in a move that is getting a mixed reception from horchata fans.
Starbucks’ beverage features a combination of almond milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, coffee and ice. It also includes whipped cream, cinnamon, sugar sprinkles and a swirl of caramel on top. The company said their drink was inspired “by the popular Horchata beverages, which vary by culture and region.”
“The creamy and cool texture-ideal for warm August days-is complemented by sweet caramel and warm spice flavors of cinnamon which hint that fall is near,” Starbucks’ release said.
The drink was first offered in U.S. and Canadian stores on Aug. 8, a Starbucks spokesperson said. While it is the first frappuccino that uses almond milk as a default milk, the drink is not dairy-free because it is topped with whipped cream and other dairy-filled products.
Eater.com notes that Americans are most familiar with the Mexican version of horchata, a rice-based drink that is also made with cinnamon and vanilla.
In fact, Starbucks first offered the Horchata Frappuccino in Mexican outposts in the summer of 2013.
But versions of horchata in Spain are made with tigernuts and horchata drinks also vary across Latin America.
In El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica, jicaro seeds are ground with rice and spices for a drink called semilla de jicaro.
Horchata de ajonjolí in Puerto Rico is made with ground sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are also used for a version of horchata in parts of Venezuela.
The drink’s debut hasn’t gone unnoticed among horchata aficionados, with some contrasting the drink to the Unicorn Frappuccino.
“Starbucks has a new Frappuccino. If you like horchata, it might make you angry,” blared one headline on Miami.com.
“The horchata is not some mystical, purple-haired unicorn,” the post's writer Chloe Herring said. “It’s a real ass drink. It wasn’t broken and it didn’t need Starbucks’ sugary adaptation or ‘fixing.‘”
Latin culture site Remezla.com featured a handful of tweets that ranged from curiosity over Starbucks’ offering to predictions of being underwhelmed by the product.
“We imagine Starbucks is riffing off of Mexican horchata and that this new drink will appeal to many taste buds, but we also believe many will stick to the horchata they already know because it’s already perfect,” the site’s writer concluded.
--Daniel Macht contributed to this story