The coffee chain’s new off-the-menu craze is almost as disgusting as its name
Every couple of months, someone comes up with new secret Starbucks drink, and most of the time, it's fun and whimsical. (Remember that one time when we all fell in love with the Pink Drink and then made a whole rainbow of secret Starbucks beverages? That was nice.) But this is the age of the internet and memes and all of that, so inevitably, someone will take it too far. In this case, that someone was a woman named Alice who created the new secret Starbucks drink called Baby Vomit. At least, that's what folks on Reddit have named it, because of the drink's nauseatingly green and brown hue that really does make this concoction look like a giant plastic Starbucks cup filled with baby vomit.
No word on how "Alice" (if that's even her real name) came up with this monster of a drink. Maybe it was a prank? But now, the prank's on me, because I was sent out to figure out how to order the Starbucks Baby Vomit drink myself and find out, once and for all, what does the Starbucks Baby Vomit taste like?
First, I had to figure out what's in the Starbucks Baby Vomit, which I pieced together based on the original image from Reddit. There's a sticker plastered to the side of the cup, which lists all the things you need to make the drink.
And the list of ingredients is, in a word, dizzying. It's a venti iced green tea latte with:
- 1 pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup
- 1 pump of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup
- 1 pump of pumpkin sauce (which I think is pumpkin spice syrup but who really knows)
- 2 pumps of sugar-free hazelnut syrup
- 1 pump of sugar-free mocha
- 1 pump of sugar-free caramel syrup
- Coconut milk
- 6 scoops of matcha powder
- Mocha drizzle
- Light vanilla powder
- Light Caramel drizzle
- Light cinnamon powder
- Light nutmeg powder
- Salt topping
- Whipped cream
- Light ice
- Pumpkin topping
So armed with my list of ingredients, at 8:17 a.m., I headed out to my friendly, neighborhood Starbucks in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to order myself a big cup of Baby Vomit.
Now, if you are going to order a drink from the Starbucks secret menu, you need to be prepared with this list of ingredients. Most of the "secret Starbucks drinks" are just modifications on existing Starbucks beverages, so if you order it by the cute name from the internet—like, in this case, Baby Vomit—there's a good chance your barista will have no idea what you're talking about. That's exactly what happened to me, so I handed her the list of ingredients that she then plugged into the system. (I also tipped her, which you should do, too, if you're going to order this monster of a beverage that is literally called Baby Vomit.)
The total came out to $7.35, which seemed surprisingly reasonably considering how many modifications I made—but definitely unreasonable for a cup of coffee.
I waited for about ten minutes, then my name was called, and I was greeted by this bad boy.
The hue was, in a word, disgusting, though definitively less brown than I initially anticipated, based on the photos from Reddit. The drink was more green than anything else with an almost camouflage pattern, probably from the six scoops of matcha powder that hadn't fully incorporated into the drink.
It's the topping of whipped cream and cinnamon and nutmeg and salt and pumpkin spice that really gave me pause and made me a little bit nauseous. It just wasn't cute, and it looked like a hot mess of ingredients that no one should be ingesting.
But once I took a sip, I have to admit: it wasn't actually that bad. The overpowering flavors were cinnamon and vanilla with just a hint of bitterness from the green tea. I did, however, get a couple of sniffs of cinnamon powder up my nose since there was so much just dumped on top, and that was not pleasant. No one wants to start their morning with the cinnamon challenge, you know?
Even if it wasn't actively disgusting, I wouldn't call the drink "balanced" in terms of flavors. It was cloyingly sweet, with a taste that was almost like a chemically sweetened sugar cookie like the kind you'd get from the grocery store or make from a tube of dough. Every once in a while, I'd get a hit of the salt topping that made the whole thing a little more complex—but after a few sips, I started to feel like I might baby vomit, too. The thought of finishing off a 24 ounces of this beverage was too much.
I knew I needed more opinions on the taste of Baby Vomit, so I had to bring the drink back to my office for my coworkers to taste. And because I'm a garbage human, I transported my big plastic cup of Baby Vomit the only way I knew how: by putting it into the questionably hygienic glovebox of my scooter. It looked so at home between my bottle of two-stroke oil and two boxes of bicycle tubing!
Because of the fifteen minute ride back to the office, the Baby Vomit was sufficiently swirled up when I arrived, and the drink fully horrified my coworkers. "It looks like the bath your parents would put you in when you had chicken pox," said one of them. Upon tasting it (which took a not significant amount of coaxing), she added, "It tastes like a terrible human was told what a horchata was, and then tried to recreate it without ever having tasted horchata."
Another coworker took a sip, grimaced, and could only say, "It's so much." But he soldiered on and continued, "It tastes like a child had access to a pantry and put all of the breakfast cereals he could in this drink, and then he stumbled upon the taro powder." Several others refused to sip it because it looked too nasty.
I have to respect their decisions, because, at the end of the day, the new Starbucks secret drink Baby Vomit isn't worth the hassle. It's too many ingredients, too inconvenient for your barista to make, too much sugar, and too expensive. Plus, it's not even cute, so you're not going to get a good, likable Instagram post out of it. If you want something that's similar in flavor but less intense, try ordering a green tea iced latte with coconut milk, whipped cream, and maybe a couple pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup.
Just don't drink Baby Vomit—though it really shouldn't have taken me going to Starbucks to figure that out for you.