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I tried Starbucks' new oat milk drink that's taking over TikTok, and I thought it was worth the hype

I tried Starbucks' new oat milk drink that's taking over TikTok, and I thought it was worth the hype
  • In March 2021, Starbucks finally hopped on the oat milk train and started offering Oatly.
  • To promote the addition, they created the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso.
  • I tried it from two different locations in New York, and I enjoyed it a lot.

I'm a huge oat milk fan and have been ever since 2017, when I tried my very first oat milk latte at an NYC coffee shop/nail salon hybrid, Chillhouse.

Since then, it's risen as one of the most popular dairy-alternative milks, easily reaching the level of almond or coconut milk. Oatly, an oat milk brand, even had a controversial Super Bowl commercial this year!

Over the last year, more and more local coffee shops and chains began offering oat milk. Dunkin' even announced an exclusive partnership with Planet Oat in August 2020. But one of the last holdouts was Starbucks - that is, until March 2020 when the coffee giant announced a new oat milk drink and a deal with Oatly.

As an oat milk lover, I had to try the new drink, the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. Here's what I thought.

On March 1, 2021, Starbucks unveiled its new line of spring drinks, including the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. That weekend, I trekked to my local Starbucks to try it.

On March 1, 2021, Starbucks unveiled its new line of spring drinks, including the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. That weekend, I trekked to my local Starbucks to try it.
My shaken espresso. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

What exactly is in the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso? According to Starbucks, it's "Starbucks Blonde espresso, brown sugar and cinnamon [shaken] together," topped with oat milk and ice. The recipe calls for four pumps of brown sugar syrup, Oatly oat milk, three shots of espresso, and cinnamon powder.

A grande retails for a cool $5.95. The drink also comes in at 120 calories, which is actually low compared to some Starbucks drinks.

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Immediately, I was taken with how good this drink tasted. Reader, it's definitely worth the hype.

Immediately, I was taken with how good this drink tasted. Reader, it's definitely worth the hype.
The drink. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

Full disclosure, I was prepared to dismiss this drink, especially after seeing all the hype it was getting on TikTok. But I was immediately won over.

Starbucks drinks have a tendency to be overwhelmingly sweet, which I don't always mind, but the shaken espresso wasn't too sweet. It was just a rush of brown sugar and cinnamon, mixed with the creamy texture of oat milk.

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This is what it looked like after the drink was blended a bit more.

This is what it looked like after the drink was blended a bit more.
After I had taken a few sips. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

Once the syrup, coffee, and milk had blended together more, I had a better sense of how the oat milk reacted with the coffee — as an oat milk fan, I enjoyed the taste.

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As I finished my new favorite Starbucks drink, I was already daydreaming about when I could get my next one ...

As I finished my new favorite Starbucks drink, I was already daydreaming about when I could get my next one ...
Selfies and Starbucks just go together. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

I was legitimately sad to be finished with my drink.

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This turned out to be a bit of a struggle. I went home to Long Island for a couple of days, only to find the two Starbucks in my town were both sold out of the drink.

This turned out to be a bit of a struggle. I went home to Long Island for a couple of days, only to find the two Starbucks in my town were both sold out of the drink.
My second drink. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

Instead, I had to drive two towns over to get my brown sugar fix. However, when I was able to secure the drink, I found it tasted different.

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When I finally got my hands on one, it looked more like a traditional Starbucks drink, with no discernible cinnamon topping or foam.

When I finally got my hands on one, it looked more like a traditional Starbucks drink, with no discernible cinnamon topping or foam.
The inside of my second drink. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

This second drink wasn't quite as good as I remembered. I couldn't taste any cinnamon, and the brown sugar syrup had less flavor than my first one — potentially because it had fewer pumps, or perhaps because it had been shaken a different way.

Overall, it was still tasty, but not in a "change my Starbucks order forever" way.

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Here are the two drinks compared.

Here are the two drinks compared.
My first drink vs. my second. Gabbi Shaw/Insider

I think it's reasonable to assume that Starbucks employees are still learning the best way to prepare the drink – it's just a couple of weeks old.

However, I enjoyed it both times I ordered it and would easily say the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso lives up to the hype. I'm probably going to order it again this weekend.

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