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Oat milk is now the fourth non-dairy milk Starbucks offers in all of its shops.

By Mike Pomranz
March 01, 2021
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Spring is the annual season of renewal when greenery reemerges and flowers begin to bloom. And at Starbucks, the coffee chain is also focusing on plants, using their 2021 spring menu to launch a couple of new plant-based drinks and add Oatly oat milk to their national menu.

Starbucks announced today that they're adding a new line of cold espresso beverages to their permanent menu: Iced Shaken Espressos. The beverages are a hand-shaken mix of espresso, either diary or non-dairy milk, flavorings, and ice—and are launching with two plant-based options. The Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso adds brown sugar, cinnamon, and oat milk to Starbucks Blonde espresso while the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso opts for cocoa, notes of malt, and almond milk.

Oatly and Starbucks coffee
Credit: Starbucks

Finally, for those who prefer things plain, a regular Iced Shaken Espresso can be ordered with two percent milk. "The fun thing about shaking is it adds another dimension to the beverage," Alicia Binion, senior product developer on the Starbucks beverage development team, explained. "It creates a rich texture on your palate—by just adding air. When you take that first sip, you get a wonderful froth that is infused with flavor. [These drinks also] have more espresso than a traditional latte, so it's perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up."

Meanwhile, for oat milk fans, the new Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso is just the beginning. Starbucks has also announced that, starting tomorrow, the chain with be adding plant-based Oatly oat milk to their permanent menu nationwide. As a result, Starbucks will now have four non-dairy milks on its menu—with Oatly joining soymilk (launched in 1997), coconut milk (since 2015), and almond milk (since 2016).

Oatly got the national go-ahead after successful regional trials. "When selecting an oatmilk, we looked for a high-quality ingredient that is not only delicious, but also complements our coffees and inspires new handcrafted beverages," said Luigi Bonini, senior vice president of global product innovation at Starbucks. "Oatly's oatmilk has a smooth and velvety texture, foams beautifully, and pairs perfectly in our light and dark roast coffees, opening up new possibilities for beverage innovation."

Keeping the plant-based theme going, Starbucks also announced a new permanent menu food item: the Chickpea Bites & Avocado Protein Box, described as "a fully plant-based portable box [that] includes chickpea bites, snap peas, mini carrots, dried cranberry and nut mix, and avocado spread."

And as one final beverage footnote, Starbucks also slipped this interesting tidbit into its announcement for those monitoring their sugar intake: "In addition to encouraging customization and providing tools for customers to decide what's best for them, starting March 2, Starbucks Iced Teas will now be made unsweetened as part of the standard recipe," the chain wrote. "Customers will be able to adjust the sweetness by adding pumps of cane sugar at no additional charge."