Select Starbucks markets in Ohio and Florida are now test-marketing a new drink called the Dark Barrel Latte, which “highlights chocolaty dark caramel and toasty stout flavors” and is served in a conventional paper cup, not a barrel. While the coffee giant fine-tunes plans to simultaneously open upscale cafés and super-speedy “express” locations, it’s also apparently looking beyond Pumpkin Spice with a drink that tastes like dark beer but contains no actual alcohol.
The hot drink is built on a standard base of espresso and steamed milk, but instead of fragrant pumpkin-pie spices, this one gets caramel and “stout flavored” sauce, which baristas have been instructed to tell customers tastes like “roasted malt.” Comparisons to Irish stout are seemingly inevitable, and the chain’s marketing materials say that the flavor was inspired by the “rise of craft beers.” So how does it taste? “Like Guinness with cream it in,” one customer writes. “Yuck,” offers another. There’s no word on when, or if, the drink will go wide, but in the meantime, it sounds like this one would go perfectly with an extra shot of cold-brew coffee whiskey.