Since its release less than a week ago, the Starbucks unicorn frappuccino has exploded across the internet. Anthony Bourdain hates it. Baristas are having meltdowns over costumers clambering to snag one of their own. And now you can even try your hand at whipping one up at home.
Now, a small coffee shop in Texas is accusing Starbucks of capitalizing off an idea they already had.
- How Your Instagram Posts Created a New Starbucks Drink
- New Starbucks Spring Cups Are Inspired by Pantone Color Trends
- Bulletproof to Open Butter Coffee-Slinging Café in New York City
Based in Wichita Falls, the small business, called Frank & Joe’s, claims they were making bank on unicorn-hysteria for more than a month before Starbucks unleashed their version on the public. Frank & Joe's serves what they’ve now termed the Original Unicorn Frap—a soft-pink strawberry frappuccino topped with homemade berry whipped cream and a handful of rainbow sprinkles.
“It took us about three days developing flavors and trying to figure out what people would like,” owner Jessica Edwards told News Channel 6.
Taste testers for the local news channel decided that the Frank & Joe's version “tastes like real fruit,” while Starbucks’ is “watered down.” They're locals, so maybe we should take their tasting notes with a grain of salt, but they aren't the only ones who didn't love it.
Regardless of how it tastes, devotees of the drink won’t be able to get it at Starbucks anymore. They stopped selling it on April 23 (to the relief of it’s exhausted employees, probably). Frank & Joes will keep on making their unicorn-themed drink for the rest of year, so if you happen to live in Texas—or want a vacation—their shop might be worth a visit.
While it seems possible that the local version tastes better than its corporate counterpart, what doesn’t seem likely is that Starbucks stole (or even knew about) an idea from the small town business. It’s just as conceivable that both shops saw an opportunity to make money on the millennial obsession with glamorous mythical creatures. It's totally possible that Frank & Joe's came up with the idea first, but we may never know when exactly Starbucks first introduced their own version of the idea. Trends like these have been simmering since the beginning of the year, from mermaid toast to unicorn hair tutorials.
After all, nobody has a copyright on unicorns.