In Chicago, Starbucks is testing the, "Starbucks Reserve Iced Dark Chocolate Mocha." This isn't the normal dark chocolate mocha sauce normally found in stores, rather it is a dark cocoa powder heavily whisked with espresso. I reached out to the media relations department inside the Starbucks headquarters and confirmed that there is a tiny Chicago test of a unique mocha beverage. According to Erin Shane in media relations: "In Chicago, we are currently testing a Starbucks Reserve Iced Dark Chocolate Mocha, which is dark chocolate, cocoa and espresso whisked together, combined with whole milk and served over ice. This beverage was inspired by the Reserve Mocha we currently serve at the Starbucks Roastery in Seattle."
The reader who spotted this drink (Megan) mentioned that it looks like a lot of whisking to get the cocoa powder to blend and mix to create the beverage. She asked about the "Reserve coffee" part of it, and apparently it is Colombia Santana El Bolson (pulled as espresso shots) as the Reserve coffee base of the drink. Megan loves this drink! I wish I could try it!
Here's what the finished drink looks like (in Megan's personal cup):
This is not the first time that Starbucks has tested new variations of the ever-popular Starbucks iced (or hot) mocha beverage. In fact, there have been a number of tests, all related to trying out new mocha options. It would at least seem, at first blush, that Starbucks is saying they need to change up the mocha options in stores:
- In June 2015, I spotted a truffle mocha inside a Starbucks in Kirkland, Washington. (This was a mocha made by melting actual chocolate truffle with espresso and milk.)
- In January this year, Starbucks tested the truffle mocha again, only this time with different truffles.
- In the spring of this year, Starbucks tested a milk chocolate mocha.
And now we have the Reserve Iced Dark Chocolate Mocha made with a dark chocolate cocoa powder! If you are looking for this beverage, Megan said she spotted it at the Starbucks at 200 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
That's a lot of mocha tests within about one year!
So if you were to change up the Starbucks mocha, what would you do to it, if anything at all?
Keep in mind that Starbucks tests many more products and concepts than what makes it to a national launch. If you like reading about tests, you can find many more Starbucks test stories here.
Correction on August 19, 2016:
I had a second conversation with Ms. Shane about this test after publishing this story:
The Reserve Iced Dark Chocolate Mocha and Reserve Sun Dried Cold Brew are currently available at select Reserve stores in Chicago as well as a small number of stores in other cities. There are two Washington state locations offering these test drinks.
I have now tried the Reserve Iced Dark Chocolate Mocha and it's wonderful!