On Cloud Nine: Starbucks Macchiato Impresses

With the average cup of coffee at Kaldi’s now at risk of contamination, the Emory population is left in desperate search for a more sanitary means of caffeination. Starbucks Coffee’s new caramel cloud macchiato delivered all my caffeination needs. The combination of espresso, cold foam and a pump of Starbucks’ crack cocaine-esque caramel syrup allows the cloud macchiato to succeed as a textural and gustatory symphony, the different clashing parts uniting to form a whole drink.

At first sip, you get a swig of the rich and milky cloud foam. From there, the cloud macchiato serves an undiluted hit of vanilla and caramel in all its saccharine glory, unlike its evil cousin, the frappuccino, which is often tainted by melted ice. The mild sweetness of the foam and syrup is quickly juxtaposed by the sharp flavor of espresso, a bittersweet poetry reminiscent of an affogato — vanilla ice cream bathed in espresso.

Not obfuscated by an overly generous amount of syrup and sweetener like past Frankensteinian abominations like the unicorn frappuccino, the cloud macchiato contains a prominent taste of coffee.. The drink’s distinct layers have been a prominent feature of Starbucks’ marketing for good reason, as the structure allows the strong taste of espresso to neatly balance the palate-cleansing foam and sweet syrup.

“But Aditya, how does the drink last?” — a question you may pose as a keen coffee enthusiast. My personal main gripe with Starbucks iced drinks is that, after the initial marvel and pleasure, they quickly turn watery and tasteless as the ice melts (see my previous issue with the frappuccino). This is especially problematic if you are searching for a drink to last you a whole 75-minute lecture.

What surprised me was the quality of the cloud macchiato even an hour after I bought it. Rather than melting into a bitter former shell of itself, the melted mixture of foam and espresso was still pleasantly bittersweet and relatively creamy. The presence of the egg white-based foam is critical to the foam’s longevity, as it adds an airy thickness, similar to a meringue. Unfortunately, the inclusion of egg whites prevents any variant of the cloud macchiato from being truly vegan, as Ariana Grande fans, who tried the drink on her endorsement, have recently complained.

With Dooley Dollars, students pay $4.65 for a grande drink — no pun intended for a plentiful amount of milk foam and ice, not coffee. If you are thinking purely economically as you gauge the best way to stay up through your 8:30 a.m., you would be hard-pressed to find anything cheaper than a plain black coffee. Though definitely a bit pricey, the cloud macchiato justifies itself as both a dessert drink and a solid daily driver for those in need of a morning pick-me-up. It is one of Starbucks’ most exciting new offerings, and I would hope it merits a place on the permanent menu.

Rating: 4/5 Stars