Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks
Happy birthday, dear Frappuccino!
To celebrate two decades of the frozen, whip cream-topped coffee goodness, Starbucks is offering what it is calling a Birthday Cake flavor. The drink, available only from March 26 to March 30, is a vanilla bean and hazelnut blend topped with a special raspberry-infused whip cream.
The Frappuccino, the coffee giant’s best known drink, was created by two inventive baristas in Santa Monica in 1993, according to Starbucks.
As one of those baristas, Greg Rogers, told Eater a few years ago, the idea was sparked when he noticed how slow foot traffic was during summer months.
“I told my Starbucks manager that we should have a frozen drink because it’s so hot here,” Rogers told the food blog. They got a blender, experimented with espresso and mocha, “kept adding sugar and vanilla and the manager loved it.”
A VP for the company happened to be in Los Angeles and came by to try the drink. He called CEO Howard Schultz immediately, and the Frappuccino was (sort of) born. It took two years for it to go national.
What did Rogers get for his contribution to the future of coffee which was so popular that major chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s created their own knock-off versions? Not much, compared to the billions of profits that Starbucks has earned: a Golden Bean award (with a gold pin!), $5,000, and a Rolex watch.
Rogers moved onto bigger things, and so, too, has the Frappuccino: There are currently 28 varieties of the drinks listed on the Starbucks website, including Green Tea, Flan, and Tiramisu, and as of March 26, Birthday Cake.
Editor’s note: The author was a barista at Starbucks at various periods from 1998 to 2003, and drank more than her fair share of free Frappuccinos.
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