Starbucks Launches Traditional Italian Drink (and Oatmilk!) at Select Reserve Locations
"Bicerin" is a riff on a traditional espresso drink from Turin that layers drinking chocolate, espresso, and whipped milk or cream.
Just two weeks ago, Starbucks was in the news for opening its largest store ever (again) in Tokyo, with the new Reserve Roastery coming in at 32,000 square feet. Among an aesthetically pleasing design and the “largest store” bragging rights, the Tokyo Reserve Roastery also has a ton of new drinks on the menu, including a Teavana Cream Soda Matcha and Golden-sky Black Tea Latte, with turmeric. While they’re unfortunately exclusive to that specific Reserve, on Tuesday, Starbucks announced that U.S. Reserve locations are getting some new menu items of their own: the Bicerin drink, and oat milk.
The first newcomer, Bicerin (which sounds like “be serene”) is a riff on a traditional espresso drink of the same name from Turin, Italy, which layers drinking chocolate, espresso, and whipped milk or cream. The Starbucks take uses chocolate sauce on the bottom instead, and the layer of milk crema on top is especially thick; more dense than a traditional whipped cream, so I'd suggest tackling with a spoon as opposed to sipping (lest you want a serious foam mustache). There are two flavors available—pistachio and chocolate—and I tried them both. The pistachio Bicerin is served with orange zest on top, so you end up getting more of a citrus than nutty flavor; nonetheless, it was still enjoyable, since chocolate and orange pair great together. The chocolate flavor was more straightforward, with a neutral crema on top.
While I wouldn't recommend ordering one in the morning—they're quite rich—the Bicerin would make a nice afternoon treat/caffeine kick. Want to try it yourself? The Bicerin is a permanent menu item; however, it will only be available at five Starbucks Reserve locations around the U.S.—the New York and Seattle Reserve Roasteries, the Reserve store located in the Starbucks Seattle Headquarters, the Reserve Bar on 1st & University in Seattle, and the Reserve Bar on Chestnut in San Francisco.
As for oat milk, I tried it in a standard latte, and was surprised to find it didn’t taste all that different from regular milk (this was my first time trying it ever). It was still creamy, but didn’t leave the aftertaste you might find with other non-dairy alternatives, like almond or coconut milk. Like Bicerin Drinks, oat milk will only be available at the previously mentioned Reserve locations, as well as the three standalone Princi bakeries: Seattle, Chicago, and New York.
If you’re not near a Reserve location, you can always try Starbuck’s new foamy Cloud Macchatio instead, which comes in two flavors—caramel and cinnamon. The drink was released in collaboration with Ariana Grande (if you're wondering what all those cloud tweets were about), and is here to stay for the long haul as a permanent menu item.