11 Discontinued Starbucks Drinks
Some customers aren’t looking for a plain black coffee when they visit Starbucks—instead, they prefer their drinks to taste like pumpkin pie, birthday cake, or even stout beer. The chain has released many products over the years that stretch its reputation as a coffeehouse, and while some are now menu staples, others were shown the door within a few months. Whether customers were happy to see them go or begged for their return, you can no longer find these discontinued beverages at your local Starbucks.
1. Valencia Orange Refresher
Starbucks is famous for its cozy holiday drinks, but it's had success with summer menu items as well. The Valencia Orange Refresher gained a cult following shortly after it was introduced in 2013. The iced beverage consisted of real fruit juice flavored with orange peel, cardamom, jasmine, and apricot, plus green coffee extract for a boost of caffeine. Fans have been mourning the drink since it was discontinued in 2015, leading to the creation of online petitions and social media campaigns aimed at saving the Refresher from obscurity.
2. Cherries Jubilee Mocha
Not every seasonal drink from Starbucks has the staying power of the Peppermint Mocha or Pumpkin Spice Latte. During the 2013 holiday season, the brand tested two drinks in select markets: the Cherries Jubilee Mocha and the Chestnut Praline Latte. The Chestnut Praline Latte was made a permanent part of the holiday menu the following year, while the Cherries Jubilee Mocha never reached the wider market.
3. Eggnog Latte
The Eggnog Latte was a recurring item on Starbucks’s winter holiday menu after the chain launched it in 1986, so it came as a shock when it was missing from stores in December 2021. Starbucks introduced the Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte in its place, perhaps hoping to appeal to young consumers who prefer plant-based milk to the dairy kind.
4. Unicorn Frappuccino
The Unicorn Frappuccino took the world (a.k.a. Instagram) by storm when it appeared on Starbucks’s menu in 2017. The technicolor frozen beverage featured such whimsical ingredients as “pink powder” and blue “unicorn dust.” Mango syrup and a sour blue drizzle gave it a fruity flavor, but the taste was less important than how the drink appeared in photos. Despite its viral success, the elusive Unicorn Frappuccino was only available for a limited time.
The Chantico was decadent, even compared to Starbucks’s notoriously sweet standards. Inspired by the drinking chocolate that’s popular in France, it was basically melted chocolate you could sip like coffee. The liquid dessert had some fans, but it was removed from stores in 2006, with the company citing that a lack of customization options hurt its sales. “It was something that customers did like, but they wanted to be able to do something else with it,” spokesman Alan Hilowitz said. “We wanted to go back and give customers what they are looking for.”
6. Zombie Frappuccino
The popularity of the Unicorn Frappuccino inspired a wave of themed, limited-edition Frappuccinos from Starbucks in the late 2010s. The Zombie Frappuccino was available for the 2017 Halloween season, and it couldn’t have been more different from its sparkly predecessor. The drink went for gross rather than cute, with a ghastly green apple base, “bloody” red mocha drizzle, and pink whipped cream “brains.”
7. Dark Barrel Latte
The Dark Barrel Latte is another Starbucks drink that never broke out of test markets. Sold in Florida and Ohio in 2014, the coffee beverage was topped with a dark, malty caramel sauce that gave it a stout-like (but non-alcoholic) flavor. The unique drink created a buzz, but there apparently wasn’t a big demand for coffee that tastes like beer among Starbucks’s clientele.
8. Chile Mocha
After experimenting with French hot chocolate, Starbucks released its version of Mexican hot chocolate in 2016. The Chile Mocha combined chocolatey espresso with ancho and cayenne chile powder for a sweet-and-spicy kick. After appearing on the menu for the 2016 fall season, the beverage was retired the following year.
9. Birthday Cake Frappuccino
The Frappuccino has been one of the coffee chain's biggest sellers since it was introduced in 1995. And to celebrate the beverage’s 20-year anniversary, a Birthday Cake Frappuccino appeared on the menu for a limited time in 2015. The indulgent concoction consisted of a vanilla bean and hazelnut blend topped with whipped cream. Starbucks revived it briefly for the Frappuccino’s 21st birthday in 2016 before getting rid of it for good.
10. Berry Sangria Tea
The Berry Sangria Tea was another attempt at serving an “alcohol-inspired” drink without a liquor license. Released in 2016, the beverage was made from Teavana Iced Passion Tango Tea mixed with sangria syrup containing peach, elderberry, blood orange, and raspberry flavors. The concoction was served with real blackberries and orange slices to emulate the classic fruit-and-wine drink. The item had its fans, but it was only sold for a limited time.
11. Oprah Chai
Oprah Winfrey has been involved in countless successful business ventures over the years, so it shouldn't come as a shock that she also had a Starbucks drink with her name on it from 2014 to 2017. The Oprah Chai looked like regular bagged tea from Teavana, but it was created in collaboration with the media personality and sported her name on the package. The bagged chai sold at Starbucks today no longer carries the Oprah label and, according to one Starbucks blog, it's “a little darker of a black tea blend with less rooibos and a more subtle spice flavor than the Oprah Chai had.”