By Madison Gillespie
As a huge coffee and Starbucks lover, I always look forward to the exclusive holiday flavors they come up with. For one week in February, to my delight, Starbucks released a new chocolaty beverage in honor of Valentine’s Day, the Molten Chocolate Latte. The moment I saw advertisements for it, I knew I had to try it.
The scrumptious latte, also available as hot chocolate or a frappuccino, was a huge success the week of Valentine’s Day. It seemed to be the only drink people ordered, and that combined with my love for chocolate increased the hype for me. Made with a rich blend of chocolate chips, espresso and mocha-infused milk, the latte was topped with a heaping dose of whipped cream and drizzle (also infused with mocha and espresso). Based on the ingredients alone, I knew I must be in for a treat. I ordered a grande Molten Chocolate Latte, ready to be immersed in a decadent experience.
What I ended up drinking was not the beverage of my dreams, but actually a bit of a letdown. The espresso-mocha drizzle on top of the coffee was excellent, and I could definitely taste the coffee flavor in the whipped cream. It was a nice change of pace from Starbucks’ regular whipped cream, but at the same time, the espresso lent a bitter flavor that wasn’t very appealing. Once I got past the whipped topping to the latte, I was immediately struck by how much it tasted like hot chocolate. The rich flavor from the mocha and chocolate chips overpowered my mouth and I couldn’t taste any coffee. I love hot chocolate, so this wasn’t a huge issue, but I wished it tasted more like something I hadn’t had before. On top of that, it did not seem like all of the chocolate chips had fully melted. There were times I felt solid bits of chocolate in my mouth as I drank, awkwardly tiny and hard to chew. Feeling those chips poke the roof of my mouth was not a pleasant experience, and detracted from the drink as a whole.
From a nutritional standpoint, the Molten Chocolate Latte isn’t the best choice either. With 460 calories in a grande, the heavy chocolate flavor comes at a cost (and that doesn’t even take the amount of fat, saturated fat and sugar into consideration). In comparison, Starbucks’ regular hot chocolate, although it has about the same amount of sugar, has 50 fewer calories, six percent less fat and 15 percent less saturated fat per 16-ounce serving. Is this a monumental improvement? No, but considering these two beverages taste practically the same, you would be better off going for the drink that’s a little bit healthier and available all year round.
In short, while the Molten Chocolate Latte had potential to be the perfect Valentine’s Day flavor, it did not live up to its hype. While I did not have a chance to try the hot chocolate or frappuccino versions of this drink, I don’t know how well I would have liked them. The rich chocolate flavor definitely would not have tasted the same cold, and I’m not sure how much different the Molten Hot Chocolate would have been from Starbucks’ regular hot chocolate. I think if Starbucks expanded the flavor of this drink to differentiate it from their hot chocolate, it may have a better chance. Until that happens though, I think I’ll pass on the Molten Chocolate collection.
Starbucks menu photo taken by Madison Gillespie
Review graphic created by Madison Gillespie