Last Updated: 2/15/2013 2:20 PM
Starbucks Coffee + Milk is an iced coffee drink that is sweetened with sugar. Compared with their Frappuccino line, which drinks more like milk with a splash of coffee flavor, this product is designed to be more like iced coffee that you’d buy in a Starbucks retail store. Inside the bottle, it succeeds, for the most part, in delivering some nice iced coffee flavor. The mildly sweet mixture is made with lowfat milk, Starbucks coffee, pectin, and ascorbic acid. If there’s any obvious taste difference between this and what’d you’d buy in a coffee shop, it’s that the milk has the scalded flavor that is found in most ready to drink beverages that contain a large amount of milk. This definitely hurts the refreshment factor as well as its ability to be a “premium coffee beverage.” Otherwise, we think it delivers exactly what it promises and we appreciate that the North American Coffee Partnership is finally creating a product line with a reasonable calorie profile (110 per bottle, except in the low calorie product that has 50). Visually, we’re a little perplexed by their choice of package. The 11 oz. glass bottle has a shape that would seem more suitable for a condiment than a beverage. The product has two labels: one wrapped around the base of the bottle and a secondary label around the neck. In our test samples, the neck labels (shrink labels) were misapplied on all of the bottles. This cheapens the look and, given the financial resources of Starbucks and Pepsi, is a bit of a head scratcher. In addition, we don’t like that you have to look at the neck of the bottle to find the flavor name -- it’s definitely not intuitive. Overall, a step in the right direction for the Starbucks ready to drink portfolio, but it still needs improvement.