Starbucks Is Launching 2 New Drinks for Summer—But Are They Healthy?

Both drinks are sure to keep you cool.

2 iced Starbucks drinks on designed background

It may still officially be spring, but that won't stop Starbucks from making our days a little cooler and sweeter. The coffee giant launched its summer menu this week, and it includes a duo of cold beverages—one iced and one blended.

Mint-chocolate chip ice cream fans will want to get their hands on the Chocolate Java Mint Frappuccino, a new blended drink that combines coffee, chocolate and cool mint into a frozen treat topped with mocha sauce, whipped cream and a cookie crumble topping that gives off major Thin Mint energy.

"The new white chocolate mint sauce is subtle and creamy, and when paired with the crunch of Frappuccino chips and a swirl of rich mocha, is reminiscent of mint chocolate chip ice cream poolside on a warm summer day," Maureen Matthews, a Starbucks beverage developer, said in a media release.

For folks who'd prefer to avoid a brain-freeze, the White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew is the way to go. This simpler drink joins the roster of Starbs' cold brew options with yet another fun, dreamy-creamy topping. This cold brew gets sweetened with a macadamia syrup, then topped with a white chocolate-macadamia cold foam—plus more cookie crumbles.

"The smooth flavor profile of Starbucks Cold Brew combined with the nuttiness of macadamia flavor, creaminess of white chocolate flavored sauce in the cold foam, and salty cookie crumbs delivers the perfect balance of sweet and savory that customers love and offers a moment of summer fun with every sip," Matt Thornton, another member of the development team, said.

Since anything can be a part of a healthy eating pattern, both of these drinks would be fun options for an occasional treat—but we took a close look at the nutritional info to see just how practical these drinks are for everyday sipping.

Here's how the nutrition info breaks down for a tall, 12-ounce Chocolate Java Mint Frappuccino:

  • 340 calories
  • 14 grams fat
  • 9 grams saturated fat
  • 210 milligrams sodium
  • 50 grams total carbohydrates
  • 47 grams sugar
  • 5 grams protein

Since a Frappuccino is basically a coffee milkshake, it's safe to say we'd treat this drink as more of a dessert than a morning cup of joe. This blended concoction comes in with a reasonable amount of sodium—we'd recommend less than 360 mg in each dessert serving, especially for folks who have to watch their heart health—so this drink hits the mark. But those same heart health-conscious folks may be wary of the 9 grams of saturated fat in this drink. Research suggests that limiting your saturated fat intake can help reduce your heart disease risk, so the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 13 grams of saturated fat each day on a 2,000 calorie diet. This drink would put a pretty big dent in that daily allotment. This drink is traditionally made with whole milk, and you could decrease the saturated fat by choosing nonfat or a plant milk, like almond milk.

Plus, there's the sugar to consider. For folks trying to protect their heart health or balancing a diabetes-friendly eating pattern, a drink with 47 grams of sugar is best suited as an occasional treat. If you want to lower the added sugar a tad, you could ask for fewer pumps of syrup or have the toppings—i.e. whipped cream, mocha sauce or cookie sprinkles—left off.

If the sugar content of the frappe is a bit much for you, you might be more charmed by the new cold brew. Here's how the nutrition info breaks down for a tall, 12-ounce White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew:

  • 170 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 6 grams saturated fat
  • 90 milligrams sodium
  • 21 grams total carbohydrates
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 2 grams protein

Cold brew lovers might notice that this drink has about half the calories and added sugar of the Frappuccino, making it a lighter option for folks watching both. Even so, the added sugar level is still pretty high. The American Heart Association suggests aiming for a daily intake of no more than 36 grams of added sugar for men or 25 grams for women—this drink would put a pretty sizable dent in either of those limits. It still has a manageable amount of sodium, but folks may still be concerned about the saturated fat content. We'd recommend limiting the saturated fat in a dessert to 2 grams per serving, so this drink is a high. Asking for less cold foam could help you knock that amount down a tad.

The Bottom Line

Both of these drinks would be fun options on a day when you feel like having a rich, creamy, refreshing drink that also packs in a quick zip of caffeine. But we wouldn't necessarily recommend making either of these drinks a daily habit, especially if you have reason to be concerned about your heart health or need to aim for a diabetes-friendly option.

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