Starbucks Caramel Flan Latte

Starbucks is offering its Caramel Flan Latte for a limited time.

The Starbucks Caramel Flan Latte – combining the taste sensations of drinking coffee at Starbucks and eating dessert at Chi-Chi’s.

When I saw Starbucks new drink item on the menu in mid-January, I thought it was a pretty odd choice for the coffee megachain. I mean, I know they needed something to replace the Christmastime gingerbread lattes and peppermint mochas, but the eggy, creamy custard didn’t exactly seem like a first choice for a limited-edition beverage.

Boy, was I wrong. This drink ($3.75-$4.75) is very tasty.

The latte is made with caramel-flan syrup, caramel-infused whipped cream, and a caramel sauce drizzle on top. So, if you’re not into caramel, this is not the drink for you. As a fan of caramel mochas, I was all for it.

But it’s the flan that makes this drink so distinctive, and upon a first swig of the a hot medium latte, it’s the custardy flavor that’s so striking. It’s nice, kind of an almost savory flavor that balances out the sweetness of the caramel, the way sea salt will do sprinkled on a caramel chocolate. (I don’t know how well this would translate into the iced version of the drink – probably not so well, I’m guessing.)

As the whipped cream and sauce melt into the drink, that flan flavor starts to recede, and the last few sips tasted like a traditional caramel latte. Nothing wrong with that, but on a cold day, there’s something about that custardy flavor that’s especially warming.

(Not surprisingly, the Caramel Flan Latte was recently listed as one of the unhealthiest hot drinks on Starbucks menu, packing as many carbs at six-and-a-half slices of bread.)

But if you’re looking for a sweet treat after, say, biking for 75 minutes, the Caramel Flan Latte is probably healthier than a big, quivering plate of flan at your local Mexican restaurant.

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Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.