Starbucks: Beer Is Out, Ice Cream Is In

On January 10, Starbucks announced that the company would stop selling beer and wine at more than 400 of its U.S. store locations. The alcohol offerings were part of the coffee giant’s “Starbucks Evenings” which also featured tasty savory foods to pair with the beer and wine. Back in 2010, different stores were transformed slightly for the change and given longer evening hours. By 2014, Starbucks said that the company had planned to expand alcohol to “thousands” of more store, but in the end, 439 shops are now alcohol free, according to the Chicago Tribune. Starbucks does say that it plans to “integrate” beer and wine in the company’s higher end Roastery shops.

As one door closes, another opens, as Starbucks is always looking for new ways to reinvent itself and stay current. This time, they are thinking about different types of frothy beverages. As of Wednesday, February 15, new Ice cream-based beverages are now available at select Starbucks stores with Reserve bars in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, with plans to expand to all Reserve bars in the U.S.

Starbucks is now selling ice cream treats. [Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

The new tasty treats include Classic and House Affogatos, a Cold Brew Float, and a Cold Brew Malt, each made with ice cream from Mora Iced Creamery. But creating the frosty drinks was more difficult than one would imagine.

“[We wanted to make sure] we’re complementing the right flavor notes and aromas that are in the coffee,” says Lillian Ontiveros, one of the employees tasked with the project. “We went through a lot of different pairings of coffee with the ice cream, a lot of cross-elimination. And we came down to what is the menu today.”

Ontiveros told Starbucks 1912 Pike that the treats have been tested at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery since June, 2016. The affogatos was the first ice cream creation served. It is basically espresso that is poured over ice cream.

“I love creating. So being able to have my creations on the menu for the Roastery is a dream come true. [Coffee] is just such a complex ingredient. You can’t tie down coffee to being just liquid. There’s so many different uses for it. And that’s what I think is amazing about coffee itself.”

The International Business Times has reported that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has said that he wanted to build up the brand by making Starbucks Roastery the “Willy Wonka of coffee.”

The new drinks come in a tall size (12 oz. cup) size and could be considered a bit expensive by some. A classic affogato will run you about $5.25, a cold brew float rings in at about $5.95, and the cold brew malt is a whopping $6.45, says USA Today.

While the affogato-style beverages are a new concept in America, 7-Eleven stores in Australia have already started a similar product offering the 7-Eleven Coffee Melt, which is coffee poured over Peter’s brand of vanilla ice cream. Can McDonald’s be far behind?


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This isn’t Starbucks first foray into the world of ice cream. In 1996, Starbucks introduced its own brand of ice cream with flavors based on the company’s beverages. In 2008, Starbucks signed an agreement with Unilever to manufacture, market, and distribute the ice cream in the U.S. and Canada. The ice cream was a big success, initially, extending to a variety of flavors, but by 2013, the brand was quietly discontinued.

[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]