As a devoted lover of coffee and fan of Starbucks, I have tried a lot of the signature flavors the coffeehouse has developed over the years. Along with fellow BTR staffers, I tasted the six Frappuccino Fan Flavors released this past summer and I bought my own special edition Birthday Frapp from Starbucks during the short time it was available. I even tested out Starbucks’ new and improved Pumpkin Spice Latte, which now includes real pumpkin. (I should note, though, that I missed out on the franchise’s S’mores Frappuccino and I am exceptionally regretful about doing so because s’mores flavoring is a current trend in the food industry.)
Now, although Starbucks rolled out its new recipe of the PSL, the coffee chain also added its first new fall flavor in four years: the Toasted Graham Latte. In the official press release, the franchise explained their reasoning behind the drink: “I thought about the back-to-school season and looked at the latest food and beverage trends,” said beverage R&D manager Yoke Wong. “What I found to be quite popular in the U.S. is the taste of cereal milk, the delicious leftovers in your breakfast bowl.”
Although the Toasted Graham Latte may have been inspired by the soggy, milky remnants of a bowl of cereal (if you couldn’t tell, I’m not the biggest fan of cereal milk), Wong developed the latte by soaking graham crackers in milk. Additionally, she pulled inspiration from Italian gelato shops in a flavor called Fior di Latte, or flower of milk, which has a vanilla taste.
Given the process Wong took to develop Starbucks’ Toasted Graham Latte, it makes sense that the drink has more hints of graham cracker and vanilla than cereal. As a result, the new beverage is a warm breath of fresh air at the international coffee shop. The flavor is quite unique, as it doesn’t really resemble any of the other seasonable drinks I’ve tried from Starbucks, but also comforting in its distinctive fall taste.
According to the press release, Wong aimed to create a drink that evokes feelings reminiscent of “fall, comfort and warmth.” In this regard, the Toasted Graham Latte is exceptionally successful and I would recommend it to any other fan of Starbucks–perhaps even those that aren’t fond of the chain–and certainly above the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which I do enjoy but not nearly as much.
As far as criticism, my one small note about the Toasted Graham Latte is that it’s a bit on the sweet side, especially at the bottom of the cup. This is true of many Starbucks drinks, so it’s not unexpected, nor is it too much of a turn off that I wouldn’t order the Toasted Graham Latte again.
I can definitely see myself ordering this new fall drink again and again, enough that it becomes a staple for the season. Starbucks also introduced new fall-inspired paper cups to go along with the release of the latte and the beginning of the season, which definitely provide some great Instagram opportunities. All in all, this is a hit from Starbucks in terms of their first new fall flavor in four years.
Unfortunately, though, the Toasted Graham Latte is only available in the US and Canada while supplies last. Hopefully Starbucks will make it a more permanent fixture on their menus in the near future, but until then I’ll be ordering as many as my stomach–and wallet–can take.