After zombies to unicorns, it only seems natural that a Christmas Tree-inspired Starbucks Frappuccino would get added to the roster of sugary, multi-colored and sometimes undrinkable beverages. Only available until Monday, December 11, the drink has a Peppermint Mocha Creme frappe base, but Christmas cheer comes in the form of matcha whipped creme topped with caramel drizzle, candied cranberries, and an appetizing strawberry. Intended to look like a joyous tree, the cream, well, appears slightly more like the bottom of a shoe after walking across a movie theater floor, but reviews seem positive. The catch? Scientists say the drink is a chemical nightmare. In fact, according to our friends at Inverse, the newest frappe contains an endless list of preservatives like sulfites and sodium benzoate—which doesn’t mean they’ll cause you harm—but is certainly more intricate than a drip coffee. A grande with whole milk also weighs in at a whopping 420 calories and has 50 grams of sugar, surpassing a Coke or Red Bull in sugar.
The verdict? It’s minty, lighter than-expected and so sweet it’ll make you never want sugar again. In that sense, it’s like a preventative drink one should take before journeying through a dessert buffet. The drink was also presented to us without the promised strawberry, like a Christmas tree without its star. The ratio of base to whipped cream is noticeably askew. It’s more like a Christmas bush sitting on six feet of soil. The base doesn’t necessarily taste any different from a traditional frappe on the menu, but altogether was much better, although less visually appealing, than anticipated. Worth an Instagram, sure. But worth the calories (and possible diabetic shock)? Jury’s still out.