starbucks tie dye frappuccino
Starbucks just launched a Tie-Dye Frappuccino. | Courtesy of Starbucks.
Starbucks just launched a Tie-Dye Frappuccino. | Courtesy of Starbucks.

Starbucks’ New Tie-Dye Frappuccino Is Not as Groovy as It Appears

Though colorful and eye-catching, the flavor feels a bit off.

In the age where endlessly trendy foods and drinks rule our Instagram feeds, Starbucks has continued to capitalize on this intrinsic desire for aesthetically pleasing beverages. There’s been the loud, magenta and teal Unicorn Frappuccino as well as the recently permanent menu item, the blush-toned Dragon Drink. Though the drinks are undoubtedly eye-catching, it is often at times at the expense of flavor.

Such is the case for their latest concoction, the Tie-Dye Frappuccino: a creme-based beverage that looks like a swirl of vibrant primary colors but tastes like an acid flashback -- but to a bad trip. Think less Woodstock and more Woodstock '99. 
The Tie-Dye Frappuccino is meant to evoke “tropical” flavors, and it does -- vaguely. Upon first sip, the beverage is abrasively cloying, flooding your entire mouth with an intensely sugary sensation. It’s not quite mango or pineapple, but more comparable to banana Hi-Chews: sticky sweet and unabashedly artificial. The first sip was the worst. 

But as the drink melted down a bit and the fluffy vanilla whipped cream seeped into the frapp, I began to enjoy it more. The aggressively sweet banana flavor became subdued and mellowed, tasting more like a creamy and light version of banana milk. The colorful red, blue, and yellow dusting on the whipped cream  -- made from red beet, spirulina, and turmeric -- did melt down into an unappealing grey-green color, but didn’t change the taste of the frozen beverage.

That being said, it’s not a drink I would necessarily opt for, toeing a strange line between dessert, smoothie, and milkshake. For a grande Tie-Dye Frappuccino purchased in New York City, I spent $6.26 and consumed 400 calories and a whopping 58 grams of sugar. For that much sugar consumption, I’d rather indulge in a lava cake, or chocolate chip cookie, or a real milkshake -- not a perplexingly flavored Starbucks drink.

If you’re not yet dismayed by its bizarre color, not-quite-identifiable flavor, and extreme amount of sugar, Starbucks will only have the Tie-Dye Frappuccino around for “a few days” -- so satiate your curiosity if you must, and fast. My advice, though? Leave the tie-dye for your campy T-shirts. 

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Kat Thompson is a staff food writer at Thrillist who prefers to wear, rather than drink, tie-dye. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.