The fluffy take on a Caramel Macchiato is part of a collaboration with Ariana Grande.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
March 05, 2019
Starbucks

Usually, we look forward to spring for our first glimpses of sunshine and warm weather after months of winter gloom. But, of course, it wouldn't be spring without a rain shower or two. Rather than letting a cloud spoil an otherwise ideal day, Starbucks is embracing all things fluffy and white with today's launch of two new Cloud Macchiato beverages. Unlike in Carly Simon's case, these aren't dreams — there really are clouds in your coffee.

The Caramel Macchiato has been a staple of the Starbucks menu for decades, featuring espresso poured into a cup of steamed vanilla syrup-infused milk, then drizzled with caramel for good measure. The Cloud Macchiato pays tribute to caramel with one flavor option (caramel) while introducing an altogether new combination in the second: Cinnamon and lemon So what's this "cloud" business all about? The Starbucks team has been playing around with its recent-ish innovation of Cold Foam, a dense, frothy top layer made by whipping nonfat milk with a proprietary blender blade. The result is a "head," much like you'd expect on a stout beer, that first started appearing on cold brew coffee last year.

The new "cloud foam," you might call it, also includes the equivalent of meringue powder and rice starch (among other ingredients) added to the Cold Foam, producing a smoother and longer-lasting fluff that could actually be sipped surprisingly easily, when I tried it — sort of like drinking a marshmallow. Both the Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato and Iced Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato include ice, shots of espresso poured over the Cloud foam, and then a drizzle of caramel sauce, with the latter flavor option infusing cinnamon and lemon-flavored syrup into the foam, offering a brighter profile. Both flavors are also available as hot beverages (though your cloud will melt away a little quicker), and can be made with non-dairy milk as well (in fact, coconut milk seemed to especially hold the stratification between espresso and cloudlike foam even longer than regular milk). Bonus: The Cloud Macchiatos are permanent menu items, so if you prefer your days a little cloudy throughout the summer, you don't have to worry about missing out.

The Cloud Macchiato was released in collaboration with pop singer Ariana Grande who teased the item on her Twitter account yesterday. As part of the launch, Grande curated songs for a Starbucks playlist that will drop on Saturday, and the chain will also feature her music in stores as well as a playlist for International Women's Day on Friday. Grande has previously released a perfume named "Cloud" last month, according to Business Insider.

Also new this week and just in time for spring is a Lemon Cake Pop, which by Starbucks's description is 'lemon flavored cake dipped in a yellow chocolatey coating, covered in sweet and sour topping." I tried one of those as well, and it's a dense, moist cake on the sweeter rather than tart side, but still lemon-y enough to be a bright alternative to other flavors. Returning this spring is Cold Brew with Cascara Cold Foam, which infuses the Cold Foam top layer with a syrup flavored like the "cherry" of the coffee plant. All items are available as of March 5, 2019 at participating locations nationwide.

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