Today, Starbucks announced the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino, a new drink meant to capture the “essence of summer” and the sequel to the enormously popular Unicorn Frappuccino. This new spring cooler features scoops of extra-dark cocoa blended with coffee, milk, ice, mint sugar crystals, and whipped cream. The overpoweringly sweet and way-more-minty-than-you-could-reasonably-expect drink is being compared to Thin Mints and for good reason. It’s chocolate; it’s mint; it’s bad for you. But how does consuming Starbucks’ latest concoction compared to consuming a tube of Girl Scouts cookies frozen in the microwave?
Let’s start with the facts. There are roughly 483 calories per tube of thin mints. There are 470 calories in a Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino. Neither is healthy for a human to consume — the frappe contains 38 percent of your daily fat intake in just 16 ounces — but they are similarly unhealthy, especially if you consider that you’re more likely to share cookies.
Which brings us to flavors. The thin mint is great because it perfectly balances the chocolate and mint flavors, putting a bit of contrast in every bite. The Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino attempts to replicate that balance, but comes way to hard with the mint flavor. The chocolate only really shows up after the unpleasant aftertaste kicks in. Does it have the blandness of the Unicorn Frappe? Certainly not, but it’s similarly hard to drink. Each sip is both overwhelming and underwhelming.
There is also the texture. Thin mints are grainy and so is the drink. The cookies pull it off better.
There is only one way that the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino is unquestionably superior to a tube of frozen thin mints: packaging. The plastic Starbucks cup the frappe comes in is unremarkable, but that’s what makes it such a profound improvement on the tube, which is extremely remarkable. Starbucks provides consumers with a way to hide their shame and the company should be lauded for that.
As for sharing with kids, the best bet remains the same as it ever was: milkshakes. Milkshakes often settle for one flavor, but they find strength in that simplicity. They are a classic for a reason. Ditto Thin Mints, which are, and it’s important to point this out, better than a lot of foods and many drinks. This is partially because they’re delicious and partially because of the nostalgic aftertaste. They taste like childhood, not a one-time special, and that’s a beautiful thing to share — even though they remain very, very bad for you.
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