Starbucks at Disney Springs Announces Limited Time ‘Force Friday’ Beverages

Force Friday II is today and to join in on the celebration, Starbucks at Disney Springs has just announced five limited-time beverages to give guests a caffeine boost!

Here’s the rundown:

  • The Green Master: Green Tea Frappucino with Java Chip and Caramel Drizzle
  • Galactic Smoothie: Strawberry with Fresh Blueberries
  • The Trooper: Vanilla Bean Frappucino with Java Chips and Mocha Drizzle
  • The Dark Slide: Java Chip Frappucino with Toffee Nut Syrup and an Espresso Shot
  • O.B. One Cannoli Frappucino: Caramel Mocha with Cinnamon Dolce Syrup, Mocha Drizzle, and Caramel Whipped Cream

Let us know in the comments if you happen to try one of these delicious-sounding beverages!

Get the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks Happy Hour on Friday

There’s an unlikely character in the latest addition to the Starbucks Frappuccino lineup — a whimsical parade that includes the Unicorn, Dragon, and Mermaid Frapp — and it goes by the name Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino. This new extra-dark beverage was revealed, along with a limited resurrection of Frappuccino Happy Hours, in a surprise announcement on the Starbucks Newsroom website on Tuesday. Both will be available for a limited time only — the Frapp is available throughout the summer and the Frappuccino Happy Hour begins Friday and goes until May 14.

Unlike the custom riffs on the Unicorn Frapp — like the Dragon Frapp and the Mermaid Frapp — the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino is officially sanctioned by Starbucks. Next to these vibrant and sometimes unbearably sweet Frapps, the Midnight is a medley of layers — a darker, richer layers of “extra-dark cocoa blended with coffee, milk, and ice, infused with cooling mint sugar crystals” and a whipped cream layer in the middle and on top.

While this Midnight Mocha Frapp seems like an about-face from the trending mythical creature-inspired Frapps, the coffeemaker’s beverage development manager, Ryan Coombes, insists otherwise: “People are gravitating toward vibrant colors. … Jet black is filling the void in unexpected places.”

The dark hue was inspired both by a burgeoning food trend on social media (e.g. “black macarons,” “charcoal ice cream”) and by “thoughts of dark starry nights, looking up at the sky with a cool summer breeze” says Jennica Robinson, a member of the Starbucks beverage development team. But despite being dark, it’s still a cold Frappuccino with a minty flavor, so it’s bound to be refreshing AF.

Also announced Tuesday: The classic S’mores Frappuccino is back to get you in the summer spirit. Meaning if ever there is a time to get the taste of sweet summer in the form of a S’mores Frappuccino or embracing the “thoughts of dark starry nights, looking up at the sky with a cool summer breeze” then Friday will be the day.

Starbucks Now Has Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee

It’s not a very well kept secret that the best coffee from Starbucks comes from their roastery in Seattle. Their Seattle exclusive offerings are expanding into Willy Wonka territory because Starbucks now has whiskey barrel aged coffee. Each batch of the Starbucks Reserve Whiskey Barrel Aged Sulawesi beans are frequently hand-rotated over the course of a few weeks while they’re living in Woodinville Whiskey barrels that were freshly emptied. This process insures that all of the beans get infused with whiskey flavor because of their contact with the barrel, but it’s worth noting that the roasting process itself cooks off all the alcohol. The barrel aged beans will be available by themselves or in one of two specialty drinks: a vanilla sweetened cold brew and a “con creme” drink with cascara sugar. Unfortunately, all your Starbucks Reserve Whiskey Barrel Aged Sulawesi drinking dreams are crushed unless you live in Seattle or know someone there who can ship you some.

Starbucks Will Offer Ice Cream & Coffee Mixes Very Soon

As Business Insider reports, coffeehouse juggernaut Starbucks is about to add even more sugary substances to their menu. In the very near future, the ultra-popular chain will begin serving ice cream products at over 100 locations across the United States. The Starbucks spin on ice cream will come in the form of a new Roastery Affogato menu — for those unfamiliar, Affogato is an Italian-born concoction that mixes espresso shots with ice cream scoops.

By the end of this week, ten high-end Reserve bar Starbucks stores in Washington, DC, Boston and Los Angeles will feature offerings such as the Classic Affogato and chocolate bitters-enhanced Cold Brew Malt — prices will range from $6 to $8.50 USD. At various Orange County, California locations, lower-priced Affogato items built from moderate, less luxurious ingredients will also begin to pop up on menus. While the original Affogato products from Starbucks have been successful at the company’s flagship Seattle Roastery, time will tell if the products will take over the mainstream.

Starbucks Is Giving Away Free Espresso for the Holidays

Fresh off a holiday Fruitcake Frappuccino offering, Starbucks has announced a free drink program straight into 2017. Starting today, the Seattle coffee giant will be giving away free tall espresso beverages at 100 random locations, revealed daily in the “10 Days of Cheer” campaign. The promotion will take place between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. each day and last until January 2, 2017 (no promotion on 12/25).

Interested parties can find out which locations are offering free drinks by visiting starbuckscheer.com.

Starbucks Debuts the Limited Holiday Fruitcake Frappuccino

Usually you walk into Starbucks around the holidays and order something with pumpkin spice, peppermint or gingerbread in it. Now the company will introduce fruitcake in the form of a seasonal beverage. Beginning today and running through the weekend, the Fruitcake Frappuccino will be a drink inspired by the colorful candied fruits, nuts, and spices of its namesake and will be available for purchase in the United States and Canada.

The concoction starts with a Hazelnut Crème Frappuccino base and has dried fruit, cinnamon, whipped cream, caramel and a dash of matcha added to it.

Starbucks To Add 12,000 Cafes, Use Artificial Intelligence In Ordering App

If you were worried you wouldn’t be able to score your customary morning cup of coffee from Starbucks whilst traipsing around the world, worry not: The coffee giant unveiled plans to add 12,000 more stores globally by 2021.

Starbucks announced the global expansion efforts this morning as part of the five-year plan presented at the company’s investor conference

The expansion plan aims to nearly double the number of stores to 37,000 cafes over the next five years.

A majority of those new stores — about 5,000 — will be located in China, which already operates 2,500 cafes. The company says that it currently opens about one store a day in the country, adding that stores in China will one day eclipse those in the U.S.

Not all of the new locations will be regular old Starbucks cafes, the company said. Instead, it plans to open at least one of its new upscale Reserve Roastery stores in Shanghai next year.

Starbucks opened its first Reserve coffee and roasting room in Seattle in 2014, a place that CEO Howard Schultz has described as a “magical coffee ride,” where you can buy roasted limited-supply Reserve coffees that sell for up to $50 per eight-ounce bag.

In other plans to drive business, the company says it will focus more on its food offerings, introducing Sous Vide Egg Bites in January 2017, a Certified Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich in the spring; and additional Bistro boxes to add to its lunch lineup.

Additionally, the company says that it will soon unveil a new ordering system, dubbed My Starbucks Barista, that adds artificial intelligence to the company’s mobile order and pay app.

With the app customers will be able to place their orders via voice command or messages.

The My Starbucks Barista feature will roll out first on iOS in limited beta in early 2017 and be made available to more iOS and Android users later in the year.

“We are today executing against an ambitious, carefully-curated, multi-year strategy to further elevate the entire Starbucks brand and customer experience around the world, and further extending Starbucks leadership around all things coffee, retail and mobile,” current Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson, who will take over as CEO for Howard Schultz in April 2017, said in a statement.

Starbucks’ Signature Red Cups Return for the Holidays With Customer Designs

After just recently introducing its first-ever iced holiday season drink, Starbucks is back with a new reveal this week. As expected, Starbucks’ consumer-favorite red cups have made a return for Holiday 2016

Starbucks has been utilizing the festive red cups since 1977 in order to celebrate the spirit of the season. Throughout the years, the designs on the cups have of course evolved, ranging from the modern, using whimsical brushstrokes in bold colors, to the nostalgic, featuring mistletoe and ornaments. For 2016, however, the famed red cups feature designs created by customers, with 13 distinct cups in stores.

“We hope that this year’s red holiday cup designs express the shared spirit of the holidays as told by our customers,” said Sharon Rothstein, Starbucks global chief marketing officer.

Beginning last December, Starbucks encouraged individuals to share their cup decorations on Instagram. After receiving more than 1,200 submissions from 13 countries, the company settled on 13 eye-catching designs. These creations will in turn be showcased on the holiday cups served in more than 25,000 Starbucks stores in 75 countries.

Starbucks began utilizing the new Holiday 2016 red cups yesterday.

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Sorry, No Starbucks Drone Delivery Anytime Soon

One of the reasons Starbucks has been so successful is the speed at which it gets a hot cup of coffee into your hand. As well as ensuring you don’t wait in line very long, there’s also the Starbucks app to speed up payments, and even the ability to order ahead so your coffee is waiting when you arrive.

However, Starbucks wants to go further and remove you from the coffee delivery equation completely. How do you achieve that? With drones.

Using drones means you could order a coffee using the Starbucks app and then simply wait for it to be delivered. Starbucks would use your GPS location to map the route, and as long as you are within range of a coffee drone base station, the hot or cold beverage would arrive from the sky a few minutes later.

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On paper, it’s a great idea for lazy consumers, and one that I’m sure more than a few of us would pay a little extra to take advantage of. But in order for such a system to work, Starbucks requires a hardware partner to provide the drones. That partner was going to be Google parent Alphabet’s X research lab, but the deal has fallen through, according to Bloomberg.

Alphabet is thought to be scaling back its X research lab operations in a bid to save money and refocus on projects that show the most promise in terms of profitability.

Project Wing is a unit of the X research lab “building the next generation of automated aircraft, and working toward the day when these vehicles deliver everything from consumer goods to emergency medicine.” Starbucks was hoping to use it to provide the tech it required for coffee delivered by drone. After all, Project Wing drones have already proven themselves capable of delivering Chipotle burritos.

Neither Starbucks nor Alphabet has commented on the failed partnership, but according to a former X employee Bloomberg spoke with, advanced talks were being held when things fell apart. The sticking point wasn’t cost but data sharing. Alphabet wanted access to Starbucks customer data and clearly Starbucks pushed back.

So for now, Starbucks will have to put its drone deliveries on hold. Whether that’s a temporary or permanent hold depends on who else comes forward to offer the coffee company a reliable drone solution. Could that end up being Amazon?

Starbucks Unveils Its First-Ever Iced Holiday Season Drink

It’s time for the venerated Pumpkin Spice Latte to step aside, for there is a new seasonal beverage in town. Ahead of the winter holidays of 2016, Starbucks welcomes the Spiced Sweet Cream Nariño 70 Cold Brew to its family; the first-ever cold coffee holiday season drink of its kind.

The drink is prepared by mixing a blend of Colombia Nariño and African coffee beans that have been slow-steeped for 20 hours, before adding cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, and vanilla spices. In decadent Starbucks fashion, a dollop of sugary cream is then added on top for good measure. “The spices complement the cold brew and bring out the cocoa notes in the coffee,” said Yuke Wong of the Starbucks beverage development team. “It’s a flavor reminiscent of the holiday season.”

Starbucks Rewards members can try the new beverage today (November 3), while those who aren’t will have to wait until the holiday drinks program is rolled out at Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada later this month.