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Starbucks prides itself on letting customers customize their drinks and offers a lot of choices: no foam, no whip/with whip, double blended, two pump vanilla, extra shot and extra hot to name but a few. Never one to shy from a challenge, we decided to test just how far Starbucks was willing go in ensuring that visitors to its coffeehouses get just what they want.

Our request? A no caramel, no whip, and–are you ready for it–no coffee Caramel Frappuccino.

What’s in a Caramel Frappuccino anyway? This Starbucks stalwart consists of coffee (Italian roast), Frappuccino mix (a low-fat syrup), caramel syrup, ice, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. As we were requesting removal of most of the ingredients, we expected to get a cup containing nothing more than something similar to shaved ice.

After ordering (it went off without a hitch by the way), we took a look at the receipt as shown above. It was clearly marked “no syrup,” “no whip,” and “no sauce.” But wait, nothing was written about “no coffee.” Querying the always smiling staff member behind the till, she explained there wasn’t a key for inputting “no coffee”, and that was why it didn’t show up on the receipt. She added, however, that our request had been duly noted.

“Thank you for waiting,” the barrista called out, handing over a white, slushy concoction.

“Is there milk in this?”

“No,” replied the barrista, going on to kindly explain, “The low-fat Frappuccino mix cannot be removed. If it’s taken out the blender won’t spin properly.”

So how did it taste? Well, of course, it didn’t taste like coffee or caramel. The closest we can come to describing it would be shaved ice covered with a somewhat sweet, milky syrup, the result of the Frappuccino mix.

Unfortunately no discount was given for the removed ingredients. The price of our customized creation was exactly the same as a regular Caramel Frappuccino.

The outcome of our experiment proved to be no taste temptation, and with a hot summer coming just around the corner, it’s safe to say we’ll probably stick with the standard offerings from here on out. Or will we?

On the right: A regular Caramel Frappuccino. Left: A no whip/caramel/coffee Frappuccino

The regular one looks quite tasty!

The whipped cream and caramel provide a pleasing contrast

Ah, here’s our version with most of the ingredients removed

Consisting of only Frappuccino mix (low-fat syrup) and ice

It doesn’t look very tasty, to be honest

It tastes like shaved ice with slightly sweet milky syrup poured over it

Lots of stuff crossed out on the cup!

Well, at least Starbucks stay true to their word of putting the customer’s wishes first, eh?
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