Give us your food and beverage business pitch for a chance to win a $10k business grant and coaching from Samuel Adams. Enter Now »
How ’bout a low-fat, pumpkin spice latte… with bubbles? Soon, you may have a new add-on for your favorite Starbucks order, as the coffee chain is allowing customers in stores in Atlanta and Austin, Texas, to carbonate a selection of coffee and tea beverages.
The stores have served as testing sites for Starbucks’ three handcrafted sodas—Golden Ginger Ale, Spiced Root Beer and Lemon Ale— which are carbonated immediately after customers order. While the new sodas have been advertised by Starbucks, the ability to carbonate Starbucks Refreshers, tea and coffee beverages has been less widely publicized.
In Starbucks shops that carry carbonation machines, employees have been asking customers if they want carbonation added, according to a Starbucks spokesperson.
With the new customization option, customers have enjoyed carbonated tea and Refreshers beverages. Starbucks does not recommend carbonating coffee beverages such as Frappuccinos or lattes. Blonde or lighter coffee blends are a possibility, but not recommended.
“It is just an initial test,” says a Starbucks spokesperson, who said that the coffee giant does not currently have a firm timeline on when other fizz fans can expect the option in their local Starbucks. However, as more stores gain carbonation machines, Starbucks currently plans to roll out handcrafted sodas and carbonation as an add-on concurrently.
In September, Starbucks filed a trademark application for the term “Fizzio” as a name for beverage-making machines.
Carbonation machines are on the rise. Sodastream, the most popular home carbonation machine, sells products at more than 60,000 retail stores in 45 countries. The recent National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Culinary Forecast found that 61 percent of chefs said that house-made soft drinks would be a hot trend in 2014, making it the biggest trend in non-alcoholic beverages.
Starbucks has always featured add-ons, whether they be swapping in soy milk or adding a pump of sugar-free vanilla. As the company rolls out carbonation machines and handcrafted sodas globally, the ability to add fizziness to other beverages could be Starbuck’s next frontier.