Call me Porta-Pooj.(Starbucks, July 2014)
So I’m assuming you don’t need me to give you the background story for Starbucks, right? OK, good.
Nearly everybody has an opinion about Starbucks’ coffee, so I’ll spare you from going into detail about mine. Suffice to say, when I heard that they were rolling out a line of “handcrafted” sodas this summer, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong, I think Starbucks is actually a great organization – they treat their employees very well, and they teach them to really know and love their product. For the most part, this results in a very good customer experience, so no complaints there, either. It's just that I don’t typically think “coffee shop” when I want a soda (and for that matter, I don’t typically think “Starbucks” when I want a cup of coffee, but that's a different story…). But, of course, root beer is a great motivator, so I visited my local Mermaid to give their “new twist” on a “beloved classic” (their words in quotation marks, not mine…) a whirl .
The problem is that this “new twist” barely acknowledges any of what is beloved about the “beloved classic.” At first, it tastes a little fruity and a little floral, so there’s probably a healthy dose of birch syrup – that’s where the similarities to actual root beer end. I can’t really taste anything else aside from nutmeg and clove – A LOT of nutmeg and clove (otherwise, it’s rather tart). Now they do advertise it as "spiced," so it certainly meets that criteria – just too much for my liking. Were there ever a time to say something tastes like Christmas, this is it – the aftertaste even tastes like a gingerbread cookie.
At least I had a gift card, so I didn't really have to pay for it. In fact, I didn't even finish it. Given its “handcrafted” nature, I suppose that there’s a chance that it might be better if a different barista mixed it next time. But is that enough for me to want to try it again? To borrow from another Starbuck, “No frakking way.” Sorry Starbucks Fizzio, that’ll only get you a 1.