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We Tasted Starbucks' New Pistachio Latte To See if It's Any Good

There's a lot to love about Starbucks' winter menu.

Pistachio Latte
Courtesy of Starbucks

We're only one year into the '20s, and so far, they've only conditioned us to expect the worst. This week has been no exception, and while I'm not ignorant enough to think that a caffeinated beverage outweighs everything else going on in America right now, I feel like I'd be doing a disservice by keeping my latest coffee discovery to myself.

As you may have seen, Starbucks released a handful of new menu items earlier this week, including two novel coffee drinks: the Pistachio Latte and the Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew. I didn’t know what to think when the news came out, but after tasting both of them, it’s clear we have a couple winners.

Hot Pistachio Latte from Starbucks
Pistachio Latte | Courtesy of Starbucks

The Pistachio Latte is perfectly salty-sweet.

When I read about the Pistachio Latte, which has "sweet flavors of pistachio" and a "salted brown buttery topping," I had my doubts. I've never liked pistachios but I love pistachio ice cream, so my tastebuds could go either way. I was curious about the drink but worried I'd regret spending money on it. A grande costs $5.25 at my nearest location, compared to $4.25 for my usual plain latte.

A few Pistachio Lattes later, I can confidently say that this unexpected coffee flavor is my new favorite Starbucks drink and an absolute gift to flavored latte fans. I've already tried the Pistachio Latte hot and iced, and it exceeded expectations in both forms.

The pistachio and brown butter combine to form a primarily sweet drink with a mildly salty aftertaste, comparable to butterscotch albeit a little gentler on the tastebuds. Although its sweetness is pronounced, it tastes a little less dessert-like than something in the mocha family of drinks.

Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew at Starbucks
Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew | Courtesy of Starbucks

Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew is a more sustainable choice.

The Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew will be kinder to dairy-sensitive stomachs than the Pistachio Latte and even if it's not as decadent, it's a more realistic everyday coffee drink because the coffee is the focus.

I'm admittedly more of a latte person, but one of my 2021 resolutions is to switch over to Team Cold Brew. When I took a sip of the Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew, I realized it might be easier than I thought to meet my New Year's goal.

It's dairy-free, very lightly sweetened, and a grande only contains 10 grams of sugar. Getting coffee from Starbucks is an indulgence in itself, but the Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew doesn't taste as indulgent as any of the other sweetened drinks I've had. In other words, it's less fun, but ultimately more comforting because I know I'm not drinking dessert for breakfast. (Not that it's ever stopped me before.)

I wouldn't classify this as a must-try if you're already satisfied with your usual Starbucks order. I would, however, endorse it as a great drink to test out if you enjoy the taste of almond milk and don't mind a strong coffee flavor.

Sadly, these drinks won't be around forever.

Don't get too attached because Starbucks says that these drinks will only stick around for the remainder of winter, or as long as supplies last. They're part of a seasonal menu that also includes Red Velvet Loaf and Earth Cake Pops.

If you like one of the new items, the best thing you can do is order it while it's available to show Starbucks that you're a fan. If you're lucky, they'll bring it back next winter. Pistachio troop, who's with me?

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.
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