The Pepper Nitro with a Jerky Twist is a real drink that exists
EC: Starbucks' New Drink Combines Beef Jerky and Cold Brew
Credit: Photo Courtesy Starbucks/Illustration by Maxine Builder

We're no strangers to eating jerky for breakfast here at Extra Crispy, but there's something about putting your morning serving of beef jerky inside your cup of coffee that seems a little extreme. But not for Starbucks, apparently. Starting today, July 31, Starbucks will actually be serving up a new drink that combines coffee and beef jerky. Called the Pepper Nitro, this glass of Starbucks nitro cold brew coffee is garnished with a piece of beef jerky on a bamboo skewer. But it's not just any beef jerky. According to a press release sent to Extra Crispy by Starbucks, this is "gourmet" beef jerky, made from grass-fed beef.

In all fairness to Starbucks, the Pepper Nitro with a Jerky Twist is more nuanced than sticking a piece of meat in a cup of coffee—even though that's kind of what it looks like. The nitro cold-brew is made with single-origin, small-lot coffee beans from the Democratic Republic of Congo, by a co-op of farmers living and working on the banks of Lake Kivu, a large freshwater lake in the eastern region of the war-torn country that's apparently a perfect growing spot for Bourbon coffee trees. The coffee beans from these heirloom trees apparently have "sweet and herbal spice notes," according to Raegan Powell from Starbucks' research and development team, and it was these flavors that inspired the savory additions to the drink.

So in addition to benefitting from the savory notes from the beef jerky, the nitro cold brew is infused with a "sweet and savory malted fennel black pepper syrup." The drink is then topped with a layer of honey foam for a little bit of sweetness, on which a "sprinkling" of cracked pink peppercorn is added. The Pepper Nitro is then garnished with that slice of beef jerky, stuck on a bamboo skewer and laid over the drink. The result is a coffee that's both sweet and salty and a little bit aggressive, but not necessarily in a bad way. After all, there's some research that shows that adding salt to coffee can help cut bitterness. And who doesn't want to drink their coffee and eat it, too?

Unfortunately, confused customers don't have much time to come to a decision about whether this meaty Starbucks drink is gross or not. The new Pepper Nitro with a Jerky Twist will only be available for a limited time and only in one location: Starbucks' Seattle Reserve Roastery. So if you're in Seattle and want to try meat in your coffee, let us know how it tastes, I guess?

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder