The new However-You-Want-It-Frappuccino is here [@Frappuccino]

The new However-You-Want-It-Frappuccino launches in downtown Seattle on April 19th! It’s the total reinvention of the Starbucks Frappuccino. Suddenly you can now order anything from a soy milk Frappuccino to a breve milk Frappuccino, if that’s what you want.  Starbucks tested these new Frappuccinos for about two years, and now finally is launching them.  The Starbucks Frappuccino is truly an incredibly iconic drink, so tinkering with this beverage IS a risky move.  Starbucks boasts that 40 million customers each week cycle through Starbucks, and we know from real-world experience for many of these customers the only reason to go to Starbucks is for the Frappuccino.

I’ve had the chance to try the new Frappuccino, both as the vanilla bean version and as the coffee base, and for me I was totally happy with the new Frappuccino. I thought the flavor somehow really does taste fresher and that the consistency was better. However, I’m not the type of customer getting a daily Frappuccino, so I’m not the customer who will take one sip and be alarmed at the change in recipe.

One might ask ‘why?’ would Starbucks change the Frappuccino.  There had been many complaints of no non-dairy Frappuccinos, and so I suspect Starbucks ultimately wanted to give every customer some flexibility with his or her drink.  It is my understanding that when this was in the testing phase, it was sometimes called the “Fresh Frappuccino” or the “Custom Blended Frappuccino”.

One of the earlier Starbucks announcements about the Frappuccino is here in the Mystarbucksidea.com blogs:

This April 19th soft-launch date for downtown Seattle, as far as I know, is not the official nationwide launch date of this new Frappuccino.  However, many cities have already switched over to the new version of the drink, and downtown Seattle begins serving the new version on Monday, April 19, 2010.

***

Allow me to back up, just in case readers are completely confused by this post. A little background: One upon a time, well over a decade ago (and closer to 15+ years ago) Starbucks created an addictive cold coffee drink with Italian Roast coffee (brewed double strength, meaning double the amount of grounds normally used for one batch, and chilled in tubs in a refrigerator), ice, sweetener, some milk, and a blender. The drink became the Frappuccino. Shortly after it gained great popularity, Starbucks discovered a way to make it easier on the stores: They sent to stores a carton of Frappuccino base in a carton, and a instant coffee powder. If the customer ordered a basic coffee Frappuccino, it was just these two components in a blender with some ice. That version of the Frappuccino –the two component version of the basic coffee Frappuccino — is the version that millions of customers grew to fall in love with. The obvious disadvantage of the two component Frappuccino is that there was no way to customize the milk options (since the milk was part of Frappuccino in the carton) nor could you do anything to adjust the coffee strength.

The new However-You-Want-It-Frappuccino is essentially a three component Frappuccino. The base has changed drastically. No longer is it one basic base in a carton that cannot be adjusted to the customer’s liking.  The new version of the Frappuccino still has some sort of a instant coffee powder, but the base is drastically different and has a little sweetness to it and does not include the milk component.  Now the milk component is separate in the blender, a freshly poured milk option selected by the customer. The base is still a liquid and contains some sort of emulsifiers to provide the beverage with the correct texture and consistency.

So that concludes the “background” story to the Frappuccino,albeit probably a grossly oversimplified version of the Frappuccino story. The Frappuccino was born in the stores with Italian Roast coffee, later was simplified with a two component process that became wildly popular, and now has a more flexible process with a new base and the milk option being a separate choice for the customer to decide upon.

***

The new However-You-Want-It-Frappuccino even has its own twitter voice!  You can talk directly with a Frappuccino. ;)  Here’s the twitter profile:

The reaction to the new Frappuccino has been mixed:  It seems as though people either hate it or love it. There is now a whirlwind of threads at MyStarbucksIdea.com about the new version of the drink.

Here are just a few threads from MyStarbucksIdea:

About six months ago I wrote a blog entry about my own first experience with the new Frappuccino.  I visited one of the regions where it was tested:

Southlake Texas – A test Frappuccino

^ It’s odd looking back at what I wrote six months ago. I liked the Frappuccino and described as “definitely good” though worried about changing a beverage which essentially is the cornerstone of a lot of sales.  I hope that most people who are unhappy with the new Frappuccino can go back to their baristas and figure out how to tweak the drink to make it taste to their liking.  This is the great advantage of the drink:  If you need more coffee flavor, the barista can add it.  If you need more sweetener, that can be adjusted too.

I have heard from other Starbucks-related web sites that if a barista has to pump more coffee into the drink than the standard drink recipe calls for, the customer will be charged.  I believe that it is forty cents for extra coffee Frappuccino syrup.  Although perhaps I can understand the increased price, I think that will cause a second round of confusion and consternation at Starbucks.  Customers are visually only watching a barista do something that looks like a “pump” of syrup or sauce, and in the customer’s mind, there is no extra charge for more chai or mocha in a beverage (where the recipe already calls for the sauce) thus some customers will be surprised to find another 40 cent charge to their drink.  We’ll just have to see how that goes.

So my upshot: The new drink is two thumbs up!  Better texture, better flavor, and a genuinely fresher taste.

So how do you like the new Frappuccino? This is it: Anything at all about the new Frappuccino is fair game to talk about in this thread.

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78 thoughts on “The new However-You-Want-It-Frappuccino is here [@Frappuccino]”

  1. I finally got to try a soy dark cherry frappuccino! it’s creamy and delicious and I am not detecting any funny aftertastes, I can’t wait to try more flavors.

  2. I think I’ll try that soy and two extrs shots of dark cherry in my mocha frappaccino instead of breve for my next free drink. I have 5 stars to go so it won’t be long. Thanks for the tip AmazonV.

  3. @Amazon I’m really convinced that most of that comes from improperly made drinks. If you put the base in before instead of after the ice, it will sink instead of blending and go , unblended straight up the straw.

  4. btw, I tried just a sip breve. Yea, amazing! But my waistline doesn’t need me to start that habit! I had to break myself of cream in my coffee as it is! But, if you are looking for something different to try, it was a hazelnut java chip made breve. It was incredible.

  5. Is it just me or is the image of the dirty blender buttons (around the 13 second mark) on the new Your Way Frappuccino video on Starbucks.com kinda gross?

  6. As much as I don’t like to be negative about starbucks, their marketing does not impress me. Their videos in particular. The bold ones were SOOOO bad. I hadn’t bothered to watch them until one of the girls I work with was laughing so hard about it, I went and watched. “Italian Roast, go and eat a salami sandwich, drive a vespa and pick up a hooker”.
    They were quite appalling. Or “Drink Gold coast and become a hipster”.
    And yes, the dirty button was kinda gross.

  7. @Steve – I saw the Frappuccino video directly at Starbucks.com (on the home page). The bold coffee videos we at Starbucks.com too, but I am not sure if they’re still there or not.

  8. I only have five stars to go to get my 3rd free drink which would be a mocha frappuccino with a couple or 3 dpmp of dark cherry and soy. I can hardly wait!

  9. I’m having a love hate relationship with the new However-You-Want-It Frappuccinos. Out of the three Starbucks locations close to me, only one of them is getting it right. It’s really inconsistent from store to store, and even from barista to barista. In fact, my favorite Starbucks is no longer my favorite because whatever they’re doing when they make these new Fraps is…not right. Haha
    BUT, that being said, when I do get one made (what I assume is) right, it’s delicious! So that being said, I’m pretty sure I love the new Fraps. I’m just ready for the process to not be so new so that I get a little consistency.
    I DO think I need to go get one of those cute cold tumblers I saw on the display yesterday when I went… :)

  10. @CD – I’ve been meaning to reply to you! I saw the “However You Want It” Frappuccino video on the Starbucks You Tube page which uses the exact same images as the one on the Starbucks.com home page but somehow editted (sp?) a little differently. You’re right, though, the blender is at about 13 seconds into the video, on the video used on the home page, though in one of the videos on the Starbucks YouTube page, same blender is at about 6 seconds in to it.

    Bottomline, after watching it several times, I now see EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Oh my gosh! They didn’t use a clean blender! The “mix” button has some spot on the side of it – Like a coffee splash. At first, I had thought this was my monitor, because honestly, my monitor has coffee splashes on it, but no …. I’ve watched it several times now and you’re 100% right. The button is dirty!!

    I wonder how that gets launched to millions of customers without Starbucks noticing that the button is dirty. Oh well. Probably the same way they produce documents and signage with small grammar problems and typos.

    (And I’m sure this comment is full of typos but I’m in a terrible hurry and do not have time to go back and fix it! Sorry!)

    Melody

  11. @CABarista – i guess people aren’t following directions when prepping them?

    the bold videos were ok at first but got pretty corny for some of them

    haven’t seen the frapp video yet

    there seems to be various contests to create your own frapp flavors – anyone have any tips on anyone very delicious? i really wish there was a syrup list readily available so i could play more – this afternoon i want to try a chai flavored one!

  12. I would like to see an actual photo/scan/bottle ingredients list for the Frappuccino Bottle itself. I don’t care for the pure watered down ice, with VIA aftertaste in it now. The gum, the stevia, the fake coffee roast flavor additive, the lack of actual espresso shots flavor. It was customizable before as far as adding soy or skim but I understand the “powder” part. The afterTASTE that is VIA is horrible and I am worried that when I order an normal shot, that I am getting VIA or something wretched being passed off now as true coffee. I like the OLD FRAPS. I cannot drink the new ones.

  13. @siriusmindfrag with the old fraps you could not get non-dairy :( hopefully the starbucks website is updated soon – that would include the ingredients

  14. they have not been made with brewed coffee for a very long time. The frappuccino roast is made almost identically to the first step of the old roast. That has not changed. The only thing that has is that it is not a mixture of Italian and espresso roast.
    @amazon hazelnut java chip-amazing
    I tried a orange mango cream after melody suggested it-a definite favorite! (try it w/ no classic and a couple of pumps of white mocha).
    I really really like vanilla bean with dark cherry (if you can still get it). Although, there are so many variations of vanilla bean that go well. I even like it w/ a banana in it.
    You could also try a toffee nut white mocha frappuccino blended coffee

  15. I think the new Frappucinos are much healthier compared to the old base. While our standard choice of milk for making Frappuccinos is whole, its great to offer the option of using non-fat or 2% knowing you won’t lose a lot of taste or having to go light.
    Lots of my regulars really didn’t enjoy the new However-you-want-it way but after a few visits, we’ve both worked together in finding the “right way” to make it for them. Often this meant doubling up on the coffee roast & syrup.
    At first the backlash was saddening. Lots of “Why did they change it!? It tastes horrible!” & I felt like there was nothing I could do. Then it kind of clicked- the new Frappuccino didn’t have to dictate the way they HAD to have their drink anymore, THEY now had the power to make it to their personal tastes. What freedom! They could now make the call! Sure it took a few blends of trial & error to figure it out, but the beauty that customer & barista can work together to make a great drink is pretty great. Where else do you find that?
    Personally, I enjoy getting decaf shots rather than the roast pumps. Gives it more flavor (if you can believe that!)

  16. @CABarista oh I will have to try that
    had a very thick soy chai frap today – tasty and creamy but way too thick, like i had to wait for it to melt….
    so far i haven’t had many chances to try the new fraps but i think although they are subtly different they are still very yummy, i can’t wait to hear all the flavor combos that people make!

  17. Did the old Frapuccino Light contain gluten? I didn’t think so but it sure does now since I called the company and confirmed it right on the label! Started having a gluten reaction and couldn’t seem to pin it on anything else. I had to break my Starbucks addiction!!

  18. @Amazon that’s really strange. Makes me wonder if they forgot to add the base-I know it sounds backwards but it helps to give it it’s proper texture. Was it chunky?

  19. It’s the light base that now states quite clearly on the label: contains gluten. The texture is the same as it’s always been (definitely not chunky) but perhaps they added protein powder or something to made it “healthier.” Nutrition information is no longer available online as it was a couple of weeks ago so I’m not sure what they did.

  20. I’m not sure what’s in it but it starts with the Coffee Frapuccino Light Base which states on the label that it contains gluten. This was not the “custom” deal. What part wasn’t made correctly? Don’t they just add ice to the base and blend?

  21. It’s quite interesting reading this. I work for Starbucks in the UK where we still have the old Frappuccino bases, though the new ones will probably be launched within the next year I’m guessing. We use non fat milk in our bases as standard and have two non-dairy options of either Mango & Passionfruit or Raspberry & Blackcurrant blended tea Fraps.

  22. @Alex – Welcome! The blended tea Frappuccinos you have sound great. A few years ago there was a tangerine tea Frappuccino at Starbucks here in Seattle, and it was delicious. Glad you found my site – Tell all your friends! :-D Also, I hope you’ll poke around: There are some interesting blog posts buried here – The most recent blog post I did is kind of a recap of s0me favorites.
    Melody

  23. We went to our local Starbucks as usual and my husband went and ordered our Coffee Light Fraps, one sip and I took them back thinking they had been made wrong as they tasted awful! Had two fresh ones made sat back down and looking at them I did think they still looked very weak and almost a bit too runny, took another taste and still tasted vile so took those ones back to be then informed they had started using the new recipe!!! Well we are gutted, we live off Fraps during our summer!!! They made me a Mocha light to try which I found too sweet and again very runny! So from someone who would visit Starbucks at least 4 times a week for a frap I know go maybe once and just stick to coffee!! :0( very disappointed!! I also want to know the calorie content etc as the old Fraps were very light on calories! Starbucks have lost a good couple of customers in myself and my husband!!!!

  24. Wla, a few quick notes – This is not an official starbucks site, it’s a fan site, so i do hope you also let starbucks know how dissappointed you are (www.starbucks.com).

    I do have to say for selfish reasons i do like the new frapps as i can get soy – from what i’ve heard if done right they are similar to the old style frapps but a partner can probably better diagnose the issue – have you tried a frapp at a second store by chance?

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