When times are tough, it helps to have a punching bag on which you can safely take out your frustration. Whether it intended to or not, Starbucks has provided the world with a multicolored anger sponge: the Unicorn Frappuccino.
The beverage, which is mercifully only getting a six-day window of availability, begins its existence as a mango-flavored coffee-less Frappuccino, with sour blue and sweet pink sparkling sugar powders mixed in.
The idea is that the drink will change colors when stirred, and contain both sweet and sour flavors. The reality, for customers who may have been expecting actual magic, has been different.
Or does it really matter whether you have tried the beverge or not?
“It doesn’t matter how this drink tastes,” observes The A.V. Club. “It matters only that you documented your having experienced this drink, thereby proving you’re an active participant in the cultural conversation.” If you don’t share it on Instagram, did it really happen? Does it really matter what anything this pink (a shade achieved with vegetable-based dyes, by the way) tastes like?
“It literally tastes like the aftertaste you get when you puke,” one Twitter user observed.
Others compared it to Pedialyte, the oddly specific “orange trident gum and hot dog water,”
“You know how, sometimes, you’re drinking a perfectly reasonable mangoes-and-cream smoothie, and then you accidentally suck an Atomic Warhead up through your straw?” the Phoenix New Times asked. “That’s what drinking a Unicorn Frappuccino is like.”
“Who lost a bet?” Barrett Tryon, an anchor with an NBC affiliate in Montana, asked as he tried the concoction in a Twitter video. Perhaps it’s all of the people trying it who lost a bet.
Customers who tried the drink, of course, have a choice in the matter. People who work at Starbucks will be swapping Unicorn Week war stories for years to come.
“If you love us as baristas, don’t order it,” pleaded one Twitter user who claims to work at Starbucks, and who for some reason recorded his rant while driving. He has colored powder in his nose and hair, he explained, and spent his shift as a unicorn frap-making machine.
Clearly, no one loves the staff at one store in San Francisco, where a customer called ahead with an order of one hundred of the drink.
Another purported employee vented to the /r/Starbucks subredddit, pretending to answer a customer asking about the drink’s ingredients. “IT IS MADE OF ARTIFICIAL COLOR AND ALL THE SUGAR WE CAN FIND,” they wrote. “IT TASTES LIKE LOUD SADNESS.”
A reply to that post described the drink rather modestly as “a sour pixie stick flavored frappuccino.”