The New Starbucks Tie-Dye Frappuccino Tastes Just Like the Boardwalk

updated Jul 11, 2019
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Credit: Elisabeth Sherman

About a week ago, rumors began to swirl that Starbucks would be unleashing yet another Frappuccino concoction on the world. We’ve endured witches, zombies, unicorns, and so it was with some trepidation that we met the new Tie-Dye Frappuccino. Would it overwhelm us with sweetness? Could Starbucks actually pull off a refreshing summer Frappuccino, or should we just stick to the Pink Drink? To get some answers, I tried it out for myself. 

First, the basics: Starbucks says this “fruity” drink is made by combining the traditional Crème Frappuccino blend, milk, and ice, with red, yellow, and blue powder swirls, to get that tie-dye effect. The drink is then topped with whipped cream dusted with more red and blue sparkly powder.

When I headed to Starbucks to grab my very own Tie-Dye Frappuccino, there were three pre-teens in line in front of me who were also waiting for their Tie-Dye Frappuccinos. This might not prove much, but given the bright colors and assuredly sweet flavor, it did make me suspect that perhaps this drink is aimed at a younger set which is not drinking coffee, and not necessarily the average Starbucks customer. 

The colors are indeed vibrant, as Starbucks promised. Mine turned out mostly to contain shades of neon green and yellow (I suspect colors vary depending on your barista). As I walked home with it in the blazing sun, I thought the colors would drip together and turn brown, but much to my surprise, they held together in an ombre style not totally unlike tie-dye. 

It does taste just like candy. I assumed I would be drinking a vanilla creme Frappuccino with some food coloring in it, but that’s not the case at all. It reminded me alternately of lime green hard candy, and banana Laffy Taffy (I’m not the only person who picked up on that flavor). In fact, that electric yellow color in the Frappuccino is the same familiar shade of synthetic banana flavor candy companies use. The texture is much thinner than you might be used to — it doesn’t have that same smooth, milkshake-like quality as other Frappuccinos. 

Ultimately, this drink tastes exactly like something you’d drink at a state fair or on the boardwalk as a kid. It would probably fit perfectly at a stall alongside fried Oreos, cotton candy, and funnel cake. The Tie-Dye Frappuccino is for that moment when your inner child is craving dessert in the middle of the day. And that is a pretty great thing.