Is Starbucks' Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso overhyped? We investigate

Katie Mather
·2-min read

In early March, Starbucks launched two new iced shaken espresso drinks for spring — one of which, the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, has been popping up nonstop on my social media feeds and my conversations with friends.

The drink is made out of the Starbucks Blonde espresso, brown sugar and cinnamon, topped off with oat milk and ice.

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People are absolutely rabid over this drink. A search of “shaken espresso” on Twitter will pull up people proclaiming their love for it through hyperbolic praise.

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The compliments range from its “heart palpitation“-inducing caffeine strength to its surprisingly low calorie count. One person claimed that the Shaken Espresso, when paired with a can of Dr. Pepper, made for their “supervillain origin story.” The drink is that powerful.

To be honest, I was so won over by Starbucks’ matcha drink with two pumps of chai that I was initially uninterested in the hype. Lizzo hasn’t said a word about any shaken espressos! But then my coworkers wouldn’t stop talking about it.

I had to see for myself if this lived up to the hype. I’m a fan of the Starbucks Blonde roast, which is lighter and less bitter than the coffee chain’s regular roast. Plus, I talk about oat milk like I’m sponsored by it (I’m not, unfortunately; Oatly please email me), so what’s there to lose?

The Starbucks I visited was out of brown sugar and suggested vanilla syrup as an alternative — with the promise that it wouldn’t taste that different. At first sip, the drink tastes like a very sweet iced coffee. Then there’s an aftertaste of cinnamon, which I personally didn’t enjoy.

But, oh my god, the caffeine. The precious, sweet, sweet caffeine was coursing throughout my body after finishing only half a Grande-sized cup. I felt like Bradley Cooper in the 2011 movie Limitless, which is a very out-dated reference to a movie I have only ever seen the trailer for.

The only flaw was the cinnamon, which I could’ve done without. But overall, if you need a metaphorical kick to the brain, this is the drink for you.

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