Starbucks' Cold Foam Adds a Frothy Top to Your Iced Coffee

Finally, an iced cappuccino with the foam it deserves. We tried the coffee chain's newest customization.

Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks

One of the joys of a hot cappuccino is sipping the coffee through the cloud of steamed milk floating atop the espresso. But as the weather gets warmer or, heck, you just decide you're not in the mood for hot coffee on a cold morning, the iced version of the beverage available at your corner Starbucks was simply shots and milk. Same goes for lattes, Macchiatos and the like. Unless you added whipped cream, you were in no danger of experiencing that delightful milk mustache. Today, however, that changes as Starbucks debuts Cold Foam and a line of accompanying beverages at stores nationwide.

What is Cold Foam? It's an aerated nonfat milk that's whipped to create a dense, creamy, pourable and, yes, cold cap atop an iced beverage. If you've ever hand-whipped your own whipped cream, it's similar to the froth you'd get when you're about halfway done whipping. And yes, you read that right, unlike whipped cream, Cold Foam is nonfat milk-based. The result is a decadently rich texture akin to a soft meringue that, in the end, isn't adding the calories and sugar of traditional whipped cream.

Courtesy of Starbucks

I tried the new line of three Cold Foam drinks on the Starbucks menu and was impressed with the addition of that smooth, creamy layer. As someone who prefers to drink iced coffees nearly daily and all year-round, it was a bit indescribable at first. Sort of like getting behind the wheel of a new car for a test drive, after a few sips you start to get used to it. And in this case, the car drives better and feels much more luxurious than your usual ride. Cold foam isn't necessarily an innovation to the coffee scene per se, but to have it as a ubiquitous option at any Starbucks is a game-changer for anyone tired of plain old espresso over ice. Like the foam on any hot drink, it does dissipate over time so I'd recommend savoring it with just a little haste.

The three new beverages Starbucks has chosen to highlight the new topping are:

  • Cold Foam Cascara Cold Brew: An upgrade from your usual iced coffee, this adds the brown sugar and hint of fruitiness that comes from the coffee bean's "cherry." It's Starbucks Cold Brew, lightly sweetened with Vanilla syrup, topped with cascara cold foam and a crunchy cascara crystal topping.
  • Cold Foam Starbucks Blonde Iced Cappuccino: Finally delivering on the joy of a frothy cappuccino in iced form, this one starts with the chain's new light-roasted Blonde Espresso poured over ice with a splash of milk and topped with Cold Foam.
  • Cold Foam Cascara Nitro Cold Brew: This is where the Cold Foam really shines. Made without any ice, it looks like a stout beer in the cup when it's served to you, and isn't too far off from it in mouthfeel. It's made from Nitro Cold Brew (where available, more locations are getting equipped with taps weekly, according to a representative) with a lightly sweet cascara Cold Foam.

Cold Foam has been served at the Roastery in Seattle for a little while as the product was developed and tested, and part of that test included another addition to—not the menu but—the actual cups themselves. A special lid is used on Cold Foam beverages to allow you ditch the straw and drink from the top down, in order to take in some of the foam with every sip.

In addition to the new drinks above, Cold Foam will also be available as an add-on to any iced drink on the menu for an additional fifty cents. All items are available in all Starbucks stores starting today.

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