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I tried Starbucks’ Witch’s Brew so you don’t have to

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 26, 2018

This is the seasonal drink Witches Brew from Starbucks. It’s a purple Frappuccino which tastes like Orange Creamsicle, with a syrup filled with chia seeds, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Photographed Oct. 26, 2018. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
This is the seasonal drink Witches Brew from Starbucks. It’s a purple Frappuccino which tastes like Orange Creamsicle, with a syrup filled with chia seeds, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Photographed Oct. 26, 2018. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Starbucks unveiled Witch’s Brew, its new limited edition Halloween Frappuccino, on Thursday.

I tried one. So you won’t have to. It looks striking, but the flavor is no magic spell.

The Frappuccino itself is a vibrant purple (toad’s breath, according to a news release). It’s topped with a mound of whipped cream and “lizard scales” (green sprinkles). It’s also swirled with chia seeds for a “bat warts” vibe. (Although I think “eye of newt” would be more fitting.)

Chia seeds are of course prized for their health benefits – they bring fiber, protein and a host of other nutrients to the party – as well as for their ability to transform into green hair on terra cotta pottery sculptures.

But don’t let that trick you into thinking the Witch’s Brew is healthy. The grande size with whole milk and whipped cream clocks in at 390 calories, 16 grams of fat and 53 grams of sugar. That’s a little more than 1/4 cup of sugar, just so you know.

Oh, and there’s no caffeine.

So, how does it taste?

Inexplicably, this purple Witch’s Brew is orange flavored. Orange Creamsicle, to be precise. And it does taste Creamsicle-ish. But the flavor is not nearly as punchy as the color. In fact, the one I sampled was rather bland. As for the chia seeds, when they’re mixed with liquid they develop a gel-like coating, which makes them look like little eyeballs in the drink. Take a sip, though, and the mouthfeel can be disconcerting, and then you get a gritty crunch with the seed itself. The whole effect is unappealing.

Bottom line, is it worth the calories? To my mind, nope. And at $5.45 for a grande, it’s not worth the price, either.

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