REVIEW: We Tried Ariana Grande’s New Starbucks Cloud Macchiato

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Can I get a Grande, please?

Ariana Grande released her collab with Starbucks this morning, the Cloud Macchiato. Because we are professional reporters, we immediately headed to our newest Starbucks to try both flavors: caramel and cinnamon. And because we’re real Ari fans, we did indeed #trythesoyversion.

We can confirm that the drinks are yummy AF. All macchiatos have foam on top (because that’s what macchiato means in Italian… JK but that is the definition of the drink), but the Cloud Macchiato gets its name from the egg whites Starbs has added to the foam to make it a meringue. So, it will never be vegan. RIP. The drink is based on a traditional Spanish drink, the Leche Merengada, a dessert made with milk, cinnamon, sugar, and egg whites. I wonder if Starbucks realized that the “Grande” in “Ariana Grande” is Italian before they created the drink.

We started with the iced cinnamon drink because Ari was sipping on an iced drink on Twitter (with a metal straw, we stan an environmentally-friendly icon). The cinnamon still features a heavy splash of caramel syrup, but it is deff more cinnamon-y than Starbucks’ ventures into cinnamon drinks in the past. If you leave the drink to its own devices for like half a second (say, during the walk across the street from Starbucks to our offices), a lot of the cloud foam will manage to sink to the bottom of the drink because it’s the densest part of the drink. I do not recommend yeeting the foam directly into your mouth from the bottom of the cup because while the foam is sugary, delicious, and has the consistency of an arid marshmallow, there’s definitely a hefty amount of lemon in there making it way too tangy to eat on its own. You know that feeling you’d get when you put metal cutlery too close to your braces in middle school? Yeah, it’s like that. If the drink is consumed correctly, aka altogether without breaking each element down like a crazy person, it slaps. Forreal, it’s like the sugar of a frappucino without the guilt and digestive nightmare of a frappucino, which was actually the point.

Getting the soy grande iced caramel cloud macchiato is the closest thing you’ll probably ever get to getting a gift from Ariana Grande herself — it’s just that you actually had to pay for it with your own money. At first taste, there’s not much different between sipping a regular caramel macchiato vs. a caramel cloud macchiato besides the distinct knowledge that your favorite pop star has consumed the same bev. But unlike actual clouds, Starbucks clouds don’t rise to the top, so it takes a minute for your taste buds to spot the difference. If you stick your straw to the bottom of your drink, way beneath all the ice you’ll hit the sugary-yet-tangy “clouds.” It’s a little cakey — kind of like an iced vanilla chai that hasn’t been mixed completely in consistency — but the creamy powder nuggets do create an undeniably cloud-like sensation. It’s for sure got hints of lemon, which isn’t necessarily something I’d ask to be paired with caramel and espresso — but I’m not staunchly opposed to it either. Ariana Grande f*cks with it and so do I.
TL;DR: Would I order again? Yes, but with a grande $6 charge, it’s gotta be a special occasion.

We also tried the hot version of the drink with normal milk because we are thorough investigative journalists. The merengue lends a bitterness to the hot beverage that’s absent from the iced version, possibly because it’s allowed to break down and fully blend with the coffee, but we’re here for it. It’s less sugary than its cold cousin, but it has a fun consistency and is sweet without making you feel like you’re going to get a cavity. It has a bit of a weird aftertaste, again probably due to what we suspect is a hint of lemon in the foam, but it strikes the objectively *correct* balance between sweet and tart. We’d recommend the hot drink for people who actually *like* coffee but are feeling something sweet and the iced version for people who really aren’t a fan of coffee but still need a caffeine kick.

Starbucks has introduced the Cloud Macchiato as a permanent addition to its menu, unlike most of the special drinks they’ve released in the past (like their attempt to reclaim customers that have stopped wanting Fraps with Unicorn Frappucinos because grown-ass people shouldn’t be drinking glorified milkshakes). The drink is lighter than a frapp in consistency but denser than a latte, making it a great gateway drug bridge between the two.

A fun added perk to the drink is that it has fewer calories than your average Macchiato because so much of it is the airy foam.

The Ari tie-in was inspired by her love of clouds, which seems kind of random to the uninformed but us superfans know that checks out. You can roll through your local Starbs to try it out today, but if you wait until Saturday, Starbucks will be playing a featured playlist featuring Ari and some of her favorite songs from March 9 until March 15, according to Twitter.

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