Everyone Loves Starbucks' Unicorn Frappuccinos—Except Baristas
Starbucks' limited-edition Unicorn Frappuccino wasn’t magical for everyone: As Reuters reports, the pink-and-blue drink elicited social media gripes from sticky—and exhausted—baristas around the country, following five days of overwhelming customer demand.
The on-trend Frappuccino was offered at participating stores from Wednesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 23, while supplies lasted. The crème-based drink’s main ingredient appeared to be food coloring: In addition to mango syrup, it contained a hearty dusting of pink powder and a sour blue drizzle, and was garnished with whipped cream and blue-and-pink powder topping. At first glance, the sweet treat looked purple, with blue swirls—but when the drink was stirred, it turned pink, and the flavor turned tart.
The drink's taste reportedly wasn’t anything to write home about. But thanks in part to its Instagrammable appearance, the Unicorn Frappuccino proceeded to sell out at multiple stores. The ensuing chaos prompted baristas to take to the internet to vent their frustrations: “Please don’t get it!” a Colorado-based barista named Braden Burson complained in a since-deleted Twitter video. “I have unicorn crap all in my hair and on my nose. I have never been so stressed out in my entire life.”
"It's a great drink,” Burson later added in a Facebook message, quoted by the AP. “But it is difficult to make when there are like 20 fraps all at once both front and drive thru.” (Starbucks promised to reach out to their disgruntled hire and “talk about his experience and how to make it better.”)
Meanwhile, Reddit was clogged with complaints from stressed food service workers (including one who was forced to whip up 56 Unicorn Frappuccinos for a single order), along with exultation from workers whose customers opted for simpler orders, or whose workplaces had run out of drink ingredients. One user even christened the infamous treat the “Frap from hell.”
To the relief of many baristas, Starbuck’s Unicorn Frappuccino promotion is over. That said, they are likely the only company employees clamoring for the mythical beverage to go extinct: Starbucks received “tremendous positive feedback" for the drink, according to a spokesperson, and company shares closed up 0.9 percent at $60.61 on Friday.