In the continuing series of Starbucks specialty drinks, we have the Christmas Tree Frappuccino—an ode to one of the most iconic symbols of the holidays. If you have been following our reviews (which include the Zombie Frappuccino and the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha) you know that these Instagrammable drinks aren't always tasty. Thankfully, their Christmas Frappuccino wasn't the worst of its kind—but it does have a lot of layers to uncover.
Although the Christmas Tree Frappuccino held its spot on Starbucks's recognizable painted chalkboard, my order was missing one major part of the tree—the topper. I spoke with my barista, explaining to her how the original drink design comes with a freeze-dried strawberry on top. She didn't believe me at first, and after showing her a photo, she joked that she was creating a special request order, just for me. Other reviews online had pointed out that many of Starbucks's employees have yet to learn how to build the drink—which is odd considering it is only available until December 11th. It seems as if Starbucks's employees can't keep up with the companies need to produce viral content.
The overall look of the Christmas Tree Frappuccino is promising. The brown frozen drink plays as the tree trunk, with a textured, green, whip cream body, decorated in drizzles of caramel, a cranberry crunch, and a dried strawberry topper—you may have to request.
Now to talk flavors—this drink just like many other limited-time holiday drinks has a lot going on. The frappuccino itself is a mint chocolate that's nostalgic of a Girl Scout Thin Mint. The ingredients include ice, milk, créme frappuccino syrup, and peppermint syrup. The top of the drink is composed of a matcha-infused whip cream with candied cranberries, a caramel drizzle, and a freeze-dried strawberry "topper" to complete the festive, decorated tree look. I found the candied cranberries and caramel drizzle paired well with the peppermint flavoring, but the matcha whip cream (a tactic Starbucks continually uses for its green effect) doesn't seem to pair well with the other flavors. Matcha (a Japanese green tea) is never an appetizing touch to these over-the-top frappuccinos— other than that the drink was pretty good.
With a whopping 420 calories for 16oz, we think one Christmas Tree Frappuccino is enough this holiday season. Not to go all bah humbug but this drink didn't fulfill my Christmas cheer requirements. For now, I'm sticking to my hot chocolate by the fireplace.