Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a devout Starbucks lover (I go at least twice, okay three times, a day). But I hate to say it, the brand has gone too far. I fear that the coffee empire has strayed too far from their purpose of serving up cups of coffee in order to satisfy social media trends — even trading taste in exchange for Instagram-worthy orders. 

Since the beginning of 2017, Starbucks has released a slew of new beverages, including the Cascara Latte, Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato, Iced Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato, Shaken Iced White Tea, Lightly Sweet Chai Tea Latte, Unicorn Frappuccino, Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino, Violet Drink, Matcha Lemonade, Pink Drink, Ombré Pink Drink, and now the new Berry Prickly Pear and Mango Pineapple Frappuccinos. Like, woah. 

You have most definitely heard of at least a few of these, and maybe even tried them. Starbucks heavily publicizes them on Instagram, and each new drink is released with much fanfare. 

This is not a blanket complaint against Starbucks. Some of these drinks really do enhance the menu; for example, the Lightly Sweet Chai Tea Latte has massively improved the health of my coworker's Chai Latte habit, and the Matcha Lemonade is really a refreshing addition to the summer menu.

However, it's clear that many of these drinks are meant just for social media. Many of the temporary drinks are insanely beautiful, and act as (crazy successful) marketing ploys, encouraging customers to come in near weekly to try the next new drink. The aesthetic quality of these drinks acts as free viral advertising for Starbucks, as pictures of each new beverage flood Insta after each release. 

I gotta say, I myself am guilty of falling into the trap of these drinks: I have tried the Ombré Pink Drink, Insta'd the Pink Drink, and read numerous articles about the Unicorn Frappuccino. I am a self-described basic betch, and I am throwing no shade at those who order these drinks for the Insta, because honestly, I do it too.

My issue is not with the consumer itself, but the actions of Starbucks that encourage this form of #doingitfortheinsta. I have continued to order these new drinks, realized that the hype far beat the flavor, and switched back to my regular cappuccino the next day. Starbucks is 100% not the only brand hopping on the foodstagram marketing train, but this is honestly not how things should be. 

I get that Starbucks is a company, and it has to make money, increase brand awareness, stay cool, etc, but I worry that there is a lack of purpose in its actions. All of these new drinks are merely made for the aesthetic rather than taste, and it's showing in the quality of the beverage. I totally get that marketing is a thing, but I wish that they were more honest about making these drinks for social media because it makes me question if they still care about making quality coffee products.

Eventually the gimmicks are going to get tired, and everyone is going to be sick of the #extra. I'm still a Starbucks aficionado, but next time I'm gonna stick with my Cappuccino.