It’s been more than 20 years since the first Starbucks soy latte (and soy chai tea latte and soy cappuccino) was served. The company launched its first dairy alternative in 1997 just as plant-based milks were starting to gain in popularity.
Starbucks added coconutmilk to its lineup in 2015 and almondmilk in 2016. The company’s Research & Development team also began creating new beverages to highlight the flavors of the non-dairy milks like Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato and Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino® blended beverage.
Now, the first new Starbucks beverages of the decade feature these plant-based milk alternatives with the arrival of the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and Coconutmilk Latte. The beverages join the permanent menu in stores in the United States and Canada starting today (Jan. 7) as part of the new winter food and beverage lineup. Today also marks the regional introduction of oatmilk as a new non-dairy option as the Oatmilk Honey Latte arrives in select U.S. markets in the Midwest.
Almondmilk Honey Flat White
When thinking about creating Starbucks newest beverages, product developer Raegan Powell knew just where to begin.
“We started with the coffee. Starbucks Blonde Espresso pairs well with the lighter texture of milk alternatives, especially almondmilk. It’s a little bit nuttier, so it complements the almond-based milk,” Powell said.
She created a coffee-forward beverage with real honey to complement the almond flavor with a touch of sweetness. The Almondmilk Honey Flat White combines shots of Blonde Espresso with a Honey Blend and steamed almondmilk, finished with the Flat White’s signature dot of foam.
For the Coconutmilk Latte, Powell and the team crafted the beverage using shots of Starbucks Blonde Espresso combined with steamed coconutmilk and finished with a strike of cascara sugar.
“Coconutmilk is such a star on its own, we leaned into highlighting the coffee and the [coconut]milk,” Powell said. “We found that the cascara sugar on the top added a bit of sweetness without overpowering the beverage.”
Oatmilk, a fast-growing milk alternative, is known for its mild flavor and velvety foam, and has been on the menu at Starbucks stores in Europe since January 2018 and select Starbucks Reserve locations since March 2019. Starting today, approximately 1,300 participating stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin will begin to offer oatmilk as an additional non-dairy option, along with the featured Oatmilk Honey Latte.
“When I think about oats and winter, it’s very natural to pair honey with oats,” Powell said. “Just think of a lightly sweetened oatmeal cookie or warm bowl of oatmeal.”
The Oatmilk Honey Latte is made with Starbucks Blonde Espresso infused with Honey Blend, and steamed oatmilk with a honey topping that is both sweet and savory.
“Customers are looking for more ways to personalize their beverages,” Powell said. “We love how the nuanced flavor you get with plant-based milks pairs with espresso, either hot or iced. It’s a new way to start your new year.”
Note: This story was updated on Jan. 9, 2020 to reflect the correct year for the introduction of soymilk.