We ran a taste-test comparison to find out
As a human whose body has a generally hard time processing dairy, I have been pretty stoked on Starbucks' new vegan food items. A couple of weeks ago, the Seattle-based coffee company started experimenting with vegan overnight grains in its New York City stores, much to my delight. And earlier this week, Starbucks also announced the addition of a vegan sprouted grain bagel, topped with "whole grain oats, brown and golden flax, sunflower seeds and wheat." They also introduced a new avocado spread to its stores. Yes, you read that right. You can now order avocado at Starbucks so you can make your own Starbucks avocado toast.
This avocado spread, according to a Starbucks press release, is made with "fresh, organic Hass avocados, sea salt, onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper and lime juice." You can order it instead of cream cheese or butter, and it only costs 95 cents. That blew my mind, because here in New York City, I regularly spend $2 on a single avocado, and more often than not, it's either rock hard or its so ripe as to be inedible.
So I started wondering. How does Starbucks new avocado spread compare to an actual, whole avocado?
I decided to run a little experiment, and I visited my local Starbucks to pick up two of the new sprouted grain bagels and a tub of avocado spread, which cost me $3.95. I also grabbed an avocado from the grocery store for $1.99, praying that it would be ripe, and boy, I got lucky. The avocado was perfectly ripe, albeit a little bruised.
For 95 cents, you get two ounces of avocado spread from Starbucks. It's a bright green, and when I peeled back the foil, I could smell the spicy jalapeño immediately. But, to be honest, not much avocado.
I then cut open the avocado, scooped out half, and smashed it up in a glass bowl with a fork. It was significantly chunkier than the avocado spread, as well as a much paler hue of green. I decided I wouldn't add any additional seasoning to the avocado, to see how the raw fruit would compare to the spread.
You could really see the difference between Starbucks' avocado spread and the smashed avocado when the two were laid out side by side.
After toasting the sprouted bagels, I started the avocado bagel taste test. (This step is also known as my lunch.)
The flavor of the Starbucks avocado spread was delicious: bright, with a little bit of heat from the jalapeño and the perfect amount of salt. But the texture was all off. It was thin, nearly slimy. There also barely enough avocado spread to cover both slices of the bagel—but for only 95 cents, I guess that's reasonable. The baristas at the store did ask me if I wanted two packages, but for $1.90, I could've basically purchased a whole avocado.
Which brings me to the plain avocado, which I worried wouldn't have enough seasoning. But after one bite, I realized I was very wrong; the bagel itself was salty enough. The smashed avocado was almost buttery and much closer in texture to a schmear of cream cheese on a bagel than the avocado spread. And half an avocado was more than enough to generously cover both slices of the toasted bagel. Plus, I had another half of an avocado leftover, which felt very economical.
Overall? I preferred the whole avocado, even without the extra seasoning, to the avocado spread. But a good avocado is hard to find, and if I was in a pinch? I'd be more than happy to grab a couple tubs of the spread. Heck, I'd even go as far as saying that I'd take Starbucks avocado spread on my bagel over cream cheese, any day.