The Starbucks S’mores Frappuccino is back for summer 2016! Beginning Saturday, April 23, coffee lovers everywhere can enjoy the deliciousness of a s’mores cookie in liquid form.
For those of you who have yet to experience the marshmallow-goodness that is the S’mores Frappuccino, it’s a layered affair beginning with a lovely marshmallow bottom layer, covered in chocolate sauce, and a “creamy blend of graham, coffee, milk, and ice” filling the majority of the cup. The drink is topped with marshmallow whipped cream and a light dusting of graham cracker crumble.
The S’mores Frappuccino gained immediate popularity when it debuted last April, but the limited-time expiration date had customers biting their nails.
The S’mores Frappuccino is also available by the bottle. In March, 2015, Starbucks introduced the S’mores and Mocha Coconut bottled Frappuccino, which coincided with the Frappuccino’s 20th anniversary.
In 1993, Starbucks only had a handful of stores in Los Angeles and less than 300 stores across the U.S. and Canada, mostly concentrated in northern cities. Dina Campion, a 20-year partner who is currently part of Starbucks Digital team, managed the district of Southern California’s 10 stores.
“It was the summer of 1993, and Los Angeles is very hot in the summer,” Campion said. “We noticed there were some smaller coffee shops that did some sort of blended coffee beverage. A couple of store managers and I felt there was a huge opportunity for Starbucks.”
Campion decided to contact one of her former managers, Dan Moore, who had recently moved to Seattle to work on the operations team at Starbucks headquarters. They got the go-ahead and made their case with a test store in the San Fernando Valley.
“A group of us from Seattle went down to California, and we quickly realized it was something we needed to pursue,” Moore said.
Not long after, the test moved to the busy store near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
“The Santa Monica manager and her assistant really started getting into it,” Campion said. “Concurrently, Seattle got involved and put some R&D skills behind it.”
By the summer of 1994, Campion’s entire district was serving blended coffee beverages. The drinks did so well that Starbucks decided to do a company-wide launch for the following summer.
“We had less than five months to execute our first major new product launch,” Moore said. “I remember sitting on the floor over the weekends with store design and blueprints for all of our more than 500 stores, mapping out blended stations for each one. Then I flew out to all 23 markets and did training in every city.”
In the summer of 1995, the Frappuccino could be purchased at any Starbucks location in the United States and Canada. At that time, there were only two flavors – Coffee and Mocha, made from ice double-strength brewed Italian Roast coffee brewed in stores sans whipped cream.
“The first week of launch we were tracking sales, and it was something like 200,000 drinks the first week – when we were hoping for 100,000,” Moore said. “The next week it was 400,000 and the next it was 800,000. We had figured it would do well in Southern California – but it sold just as well in Chicago, Vancouver, B.C. and Boston. It was huge.”
The Frappuccino changed the trajectory of Starbucks by enticing new non-coffee-drinking customers to come in and try the new frosty treat.
[Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images]