I Tried Starbucks’ New Pistachio Cream Cold Brew and It’s Kinda Nutty

The Pistachio Cream Cold Brew may not rival Starbucks' famed PSL, but we gave it a shot.

Pistachio Cream Cold Brew? That may sound nutty, but Starbucks is prying the shell off of this new drink. And even Starbucks superfans have to admit, it’s an odd choice. No one can deny the pull of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte parade, and a good Peppermint Mocha peps up holiday shopping. And we can never get enough of Starbucks’ secret menu, especially the winter secret menu drinks! But are people sitting around in January just pining for more pistachio in their lives?

Well, someone’s gotta be, because Starbucks’ winter menu launched on Jan. 3. The coffee chain brought back the Pistachio Latte, and launched the new Pistachio Cream Cold Brew. Eats-wise, the red velvet loaf returned, too.

I’m a cold brew connoisseur—the Vanilla Cream is my favorite, though the Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew sucks up its share of my disposable income in the fall. So of course, I had to see how pistachio ranks among the Starbucks cold-brew contingent.

What’s in the Pistachio Cream Cold Brew?

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of pistachio in my life. The small nut, a member of the cashew family, isn’t as easy to snack on as peanuts or even almonds. It usually comes in a half-split-open shell, making it a bit of a pain to crack and eat. But it’s got a simple, sweet nutty taste, so I guess it’s as good a choice for a cold brew flavor addition as anything.

Starbucks says the new Pistachio Cream Cold Brew features cold brew coffee sweetened with vanilla syrup, topped with pistachio cream, and decorated with salted brown buttery sprinkles. In fact, my barista told me that when her Starbucks received the sprinkle mix, she excitedly thought it would be for a salted brown butter sugar cookie latte, and was bummed out to discover she’d just made that drink up in her head. Close though—Starbucks does have an Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, inspired by spritz cookies.

Here’s What I Thought

Look, pistachio is kind of a furtive flavor. It doesn’t scream out its presence. In a blind taste test, I don’t think I could’ve identified the drink as pistachio in any way. It smells a bit odd at first, and the nut smell is almost medicine-like. There’s a hint of bitterness to the drink, but it’s so delicate that I almost figured I dreamed it.

I love to savor the velvety foam on almost every Starbucks cold brew. And the pistachio cream is a delight, with a very mellow, nutty taste. Is it accurate pistachio flavor? I got nuttin’. If you told me it was almond, cashew or macadamia nut, sure, fine, I’d never argue with you. Nuts are obviously involved, and the type of nut seems kinda irrelevant.

If you love nutty flavors in your coffee—maybe you order hazelnut lattes, or dip a Snickers bar in your Americano, I dunno—then, obviously, you’ll be nuts for the pistachio cream cold brew. If you’re more like me, and just generally enjoy Starbucks’ repertoire of cream cold brew drinks, this drink will rank somewhere in the middle of those bevvies. I won’t be putting it above pumpkin spice any time soon, but for me, it’s a better choice than the just-too-sweet Irish cream cold brew.

When Can I Get It?

The drink and its hottie sister, the pistachio latte, are available now at Starbucks stores nationwide. Better try one soon, however, since it’s a limited-time offering.

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Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is a pop culture junkie and the co-author of Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops and The Totally Sweet '90s. She covers TV, movies, books and pop culture, as well as food news of all kinds. Gael is a weblog pioneer who started her first blog, Pop Culture Junk Mail, in 1999.