Just in time for summer, Starbucks has introduced a new variation on its standby icy beverage: the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino ($4.45 with tax for a Tall, pictured). (They're celebrating the launch with a frappuccino happy hour: from May 3rd to 12th, from 3 to 5 p.m., all frappuccinos are half off.)
The new crunchy caramel variation starts with a few squirts of coffee, which are then followed by ice, milk, and dark caramel syrup—a new ingredient Starbucks created specially for the CRCF. After it's all blended, the drink is finished with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel. Before the lid goes on, it gets a few shakes from a plastic container resembling something from a pizza stall. Its contents are a sugary crumble, which gives the beverage texture and more sugar (that part isn't necessary), and pushes the drink to the brink of caramel sundae. The ice helps keep the drink somewhat light though, so you aren't faced with a thick dairy bomb.
The Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino is definitely for fans of caramel, and customers with a lesser tolerance for the taste of coffee (disguised here by all the sugar). It's sweet and decadent, a dessert more than a morning beverage; and fortunately easier to drink than it is to say.
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.