Starbucks’ Bubbletastic Frappuccino just launched as part of the new spring menu for Europe, and customers can order it vegan by making a few simple swaps.
This limited-edition iced beverage is dyed bright blue using spirulina, a natural and nutrient-dense algae similar to seaweed. The official menu version combines a bubblegum-flavored base with whipped dairy cream and pink popping candy.
According to self-proclaimed “vegan-foodie” and barista Nathan (known on Instagram by his handle Veegboi), the Bubbletastic Frappuccino can be made vegan by ordering with plant-based milk and non-dairy whipped cream — and without the popping candy, which contains milk.
“Super simple and such a lovely nostalgic flavor,” wrote Nathan. “I’m sad that this isn’t around for longer so be quick!”
To celebrate the launch of the new drink, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (2019 – present) contestant Blu Hydrangea created a Bubbletastic Frappuccino-inspired makeup look, including “icy blues,” “hot pinks,” and bubble detailing.
“This drink is bold, bright and beautiful, just like me,” wrote Blu Hydrangea on Instagram.
Vegan drinks at Starbucks
The Bubbletastic Frappuccino is not the only vegan (or vegan-adaptable) coming to Starbucks this spring.
The brand also announced a new lineup for U.S. menus at the start of March, including two new cold plant-based drinks: the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso and the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso, both of which are now permanent menu items.
The chain includes the two drinks as part of a new line of cold espresso options, typically topped with ice. But the spring menu also includes a non-dairy but non-vegan option, the Honey Oatmilk Latte, suitable for those who eschew traditional milk but not animal products in general.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has previously highlighted the growing demand for plant-based ingredients and acknowledged that the chain’s expanding menu is a direct response to this. Also in March, Starbucks revealed that it will offer Oatly oat milk in all U.S. stores., something that the company first hinted at back in December.
“We’re pleased to bring Oatly oat milk to Starbucks stores nationwide in the U.S., something our customers have asked for as they increasingly seek a variety of plant-based choices,” Luigi Bonini, senior vice president, Global Product Innovation at Starbucks, said in a statement.
Vegan demand and an oat milk shortage
However, a recent delay in the construction of a production facility — combined with increasing global demand for plant milk — has resulted in an Oatly shortage, including at Starbucks stores, across the U.S.
A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed this to CNN Business: “Due to high demand, some customers may experience a temporary shortage of oat milk at their store.”
At the start of the pandemic last year, Americans were rushing to buy oat milk along with essentials such as hand sanitizer and health-related products. While back in 2018 an oat milk shortage prompted some people to sell Oatly products (specifically the Barista edition) for up to $200 online.
Starbucks’ Bubbletastic Frappuccino is available for just one week from 10 April across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. According to the brand, the drink is available in the UK and Ireland as the Bubbletastic, but across the EMEA region as the Bubblepop.