Starbucks is so much fun. No matter how ridiculous or unhealthy our demands are, they are happy to oblige. Simply glancing at this “Top 10 Worst Starbucks Drinks” list will permanently increase your blood sugar levels. (Note to self: do NOT order the Peppermint White Hot Chocolate.) Sometimes, though, they take things in the opposite direction and give us a grown-up option: enter the Starbucks Toasted Graham Latte.
I considered myself qualified to review this drink because I am 1/8 Vanilla Latte. As much as I love sweet snacks, I appreciate a more subtle sweetness to my drinks rather than the cloying or overbearing taste found in some of their options (I’m looking at you, White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha). Their vanilla latte has always been a great middle ground, and I was curious to see what new flavors this Toasted Graham Latte would bring.
I got my drink and walked back to my car. I was naturally too impatient to drive all the way home (.3 miles) before trying it, so I took my first sip and…..womp womp. This was it? It tasted *exactly* like a vanilla latte. So much so that I double-checked the secret code scrawled on the side of the cup to make sure it said “TGL” and not “VL”. I was super bummed. There was a very slight spiciness to this drink that was a new flavor, but other than that, it was the same as it ever was: light, milky, not too sweet, with hints of real vanilla. Then I took off the lid and noticed something suspicious.
Shouldn’t it have some sort of topping on top? Yes, I was almost sure of it. These fancy drinks always come with little bits of flavored goodness sprinkled on top. That was the best part of these silly drinks (I’m looking at you, Salted Caramel Mocha). The missing crumbles could be the difference between a ho-hum coffee and a TOASTED GRAHAM WOW MUCH FLAVOR coffee. I did a quick Google Image search and, sure enough, beautiful little graham crumbles were supposed to be resting atop my beverage’s foam.
At this point, I was getting a little sweaty because I realized what I would have to do. I’d have to go back into the Starbucks and request some graham crumble topping for my half-drank Toasted Graham Latte. I’m the kind of person who will keep driving instead of pulling into her driveway if the mailman is outside (what if he wants to talk to me? about my mail?), so this kind of confrontation was panic-inducing for me. But my annoyance at paying $5+ for a glorified vanilla latte won out over my socially avoidant proclivities, and I meekly marched back in and quietly demanded some crumble topping. (The girl didn’t even look up as she dumped the graham cracker topping into my drink. Whatever, this was a big accomplishment for me.)
The topping smelled amazing. Almost identical to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Unfortunately, though, the topping was more like a spice. It melted into the drink and didn’t provide any new texture, and it didn’t add any new flavors except a strong delicious smell that dissipated after a couple sips. The best part about the Starbucks toppings is the crunch and the lingering flavors that they add (still looking at you, Salted Caramel Mocha). Without that, it’s just an intense but short-lived improvement to an otherwise boring drink. I can’t believe I engaged in such a stressful social interaction for this.
The Starbucks Toasted Graham Latte is only 50 calories more than the Vanilla Latte, but I can’t say it’s worth it. Stick with the classic, and maybe see if you can get them to sprinkle some of that graham cracker crack on top as a bonus. (Let me know how it goes. I’ll be hiding in my room for a couple days to level off.)
Peppermint White Hot Chocolate’s Ability to Kill You Rating: 10 out of 10
Deep Breathing That Occurred Before I Had The Courage to Go Back In For Graham Crumbles Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 out of 10