The New Horchata Frappuccino Is A Dairy-Free Riff On A Classic Drink

If you pay attention to the world of coffee-based, cold beverages (who doesn’t?), you’re probably aware of the seemingly never-ending string of new Frappucinos from Starbucks. There seems to be a fresh, strange, flavor-bomb that either brings excitement or outrage (or both) to the Twittersphere every few months. This week, it’s the Horchata Frappuccino — a drink that not only doesn’t contain any lactose, but also isn’t really horchata.

This new drink steps into the void left by Frappuccinos of days gone by, like the Cherry Pie Frappuccino or the controversial Unicorn Frappuccino. The latter was described by people (who actually spent their hard-earned dollars to purchase it) as a combination of Skittles and Sour Patch Kids without any real resemblance to coffee. It seems like with the addition of the Horchata Frappuccino, the Starbucks has decided that its newest Frappuccino should be closer to coffee than sweet, nostalgic childhood candy.

A few days ago, the chain unveiled the new drink. But, fans of Horchata, a popular drink in Spain and Latin America that contains milk, cinnamon, sugar, rice and various other ingredients (like almonds and barley) should be aware that this drink is “inspired by” the well-known beverage. It’s not actually a horchata. If you think this will remind you of your year studying abroad in Spain or your vacation to Mexico, you’re going to be slightly disappointed. Starbucks version of the famous drink is made with cinnamon dolce syrup (the company loves its syrup), coffee, ice, and almond milk instead of regular milk. While this drink is only similar to an authentic horchata (sans rice), the addition of almond milk is good news for lactose intolerant Starbucks fans.

Obviously, the drink has already been spotted in the wild (and on Instagram):

For drinkers who don’t have any problems with lactose, the drink can be finished off with whipped cream, caramel, and cinnamon and sugar sprinkles. With that much spice, this might be the best gateway drink to prepare your palate for the impending rush of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin spiced flavored beverages on the way. There’s no true way to prepare yourself for the fall-themed drinks, but sipping on this Frappuccino just might help.