Starbucks’ Secret Purple Drink: We Tried It — And It Wasn’t Disgusting

Here, our thoughts on the Instagram-famous drink.

Two secret purple drinks from Starbucks.

Two Purple Drinks from Starbucks | Photo by Adjua Fisher

Unless you’ve been ignoring the Internet at all costs in the last few days, you’ve probably seen at least one or two pieces documenting the rise of Instagram’s new favorite off-the-menu Starbucks drink, dubbed the secret Purple Drink. It is, well, just that: very purple and, until recently, very secret.

And considering the drink is really just unsweetened iced tea, dairy-free milk, blackberries and vanilla syrup (an optional addition, really), it’s on the healthier end of the specialty-Starbucks-drinks spectrum. So, being the dutiful health bloggers we are, Be Well editor Adjua and I set out to try the Purple Drink in order to report back to you all on whether it’s worth trading your usual afternoon pick-me-up in for. And this just in: Though we expected it to be totally gross — something about purple tea just seems … gross  — it’s honestly not all that bad.

Starbucks’ Purple Drink, according to the Internet, is made up of Teavana Iced Passion Tango Tea, soy milk, fresh blackberries and vanilla syrup (you can skip this part if the sweetener thing doesn’t float your boat). After figuring out what, exactly, goes into the secret purple concoction, I set out with my sticky note of ordering instructions, lest I forget. When I got to the counter at Starbucks, I confidently read off everything nice and slow to make sure the barista knew exactly what I wanted. Her brow furrowed slightly, but she didn’t seem too taken aback. A minute later though, after deciding they needed to double-check my order, another barista looked at me and said, “Are you trying to puke?” Clearly, he hasn’t caught on to the Purple Drink trend.

Okay, okay, enough lead up: I know you just want to know how it tasted, and like I said, it wasn’t terrible. Honestly, it was pretty good. (If you happen to be reading this, Starbucks Man, you’ll be delighted to know I did not throw up.)

Since neither Adjua or I drink soy milk, we opted for coconut milk, but either will fulfill your Purple Drink dreams. We also decided to cover all grounds and get one Purple Drink with the vanilla syrup and one without. Below, our thoughts:

First, the vanilla-free drink: It tasted like the barista took a berry smoothie and watered it down — like a lot. And while that sounds sort of gross, it was actually pretty refreshing. It wasn’t overly sweet, though the Passion Tango Tea does has some tang and sweetness to it, and the seeds from the fresh berries gave each sip an oddly pleasant crunch. (Be warned, though: Seeds WILL get stuck in your teeth.) As for option sweetened with vanilla syrup: the drink’s consistency — slightly creamy and crunchy — was identical to the unsweetened drink, but it reminded us more of a melted-down berry creamsicle, thanks to the sweetness — a pretty refreshing, mid-afternoon treat.

While Starbucks has no exact calorie count of the drink online, (it’s an off-the-menu secret, after all), the unsweetened Teavana Iced Passion Tango Tea has 0 calories, according to their website, and adding in a little coconut milk, a pump or two of vanilla syrup (20 calories a pump), and a few blackberries still leaves you way better off, calorie-wise, than gulping down something like a Caramel Frappuccino, which rings in at over 400 calories.

As a serious coffee drinker, I don’t foresee trading in my usual cold brew for the Instagram-famous Purple Drink anytime soon, but I am not at all unhappy about giving it a try, and I did finish the whole Tall serving. If nothing else, it is really pretty to look at. And you know how it is these days: If it’s not Instagrammable, what is the point, right?

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