We Tried Starbucks' New Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew. Deliciousness Doesn't Have To Be Groundbreaking

Never believe someone who says you shouldn't be drinking cold brew in the winter. Every season is cold brew season, and that's an irrefutable fact. Cold brew is a low-effort and affordable coffee to make at home, but when you're in the mood for something lavish, Starbucks has always had a number of yummy options on its menu. Most of them come and go — like the wintertime Pistachio Cream Cold Brew, and of course, autumn's Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew — and just a few are permanent menu features. Even fewer of those include Nitro Cold Brew options. 

The chain's Nitro Cold Brew line has been — in our opinion — sorely neglected in terms of flavored variety on the menu. The lone Nitro beverage, besides classic/unflavored, is the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. Sure, some coffee purists balk at the thought of adding sauces and syrups to nitrogen cold brew — but we say let us live a little, will ya? You can imagine our excitement when a new flavor available in regular Starbucks Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew burst through the woodwork. We've been anxiously awaiting this springtime release, so when the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew debuted, we tripped over ourselves to get to our nearest spot and give it a try. Is the option finally giving the Nitro lineup the TLC it deserves? Here's what we think.

What's in the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Cold Brew?

The new drink starts with your preferred cold brew: regular or nitrogen-infused. Regular cold brew will have ice in the beverage — the Nitro does not. The Nitro Cold Brew is the only product covered in this review. To the cold brew, baristas add cinnamon caramel syrup. The drink is available in tall (12-ounce) and grande (16-ounce) sizes, and the amount of syrup used in each size is one and two pumps, respectively. Finally, the drink is topped with a cinnamon sweet cream cold foam and a dusting of cinnamon dolce sprinkles. 

Starbucks' Nitro Cold Brew carries a robust, yet smooth, coffee flavor, with a distinct sweetness. The grounds steep for 20 hours, giving the cold brew plenty of time to mature this flavor profile. The sweet cream used in Starbucks' default cold foam is made with cream, milk, and vanilla syrup. Other flavors are added for different drink recipes. The cold foam on this drink tasted strongly of cinnamon, but not caramel, so we believe that the new cinnamon caramel syrup was added to the Nitro Cold Brew only. As to what else may have flavored the cold brew, it may have been cinnamon dolce syrup, or the cinnamon powder topping melted down. However, we only had our tastebuds to guide us so we couldn't be 100% certain.

How much does the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew Cost?

The Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Foam is available in tall and grande, Starbucks' equivalent of a small and medium. At our closest location, the tall was $5.25 before tax and the grande was $5.75 before tax. For an extra four ounces of Nitro Cold Brew, that certainly seems an acceptable price to pay. Each drink is one dollar more expensive than its equivalent size in unflavored Nitro Cold Brew. It's also the same price as the only other flavored Nitro bev available at the chain, the Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew. 

For the Nitro version of the drink over the regular, customers pay 50 cents more. This is universal to all of the other craft cold brew drinks currently on the menu. These other flavors aren't offered in a Nitro version and are cheaper than drinks made with nitrogen-infused coffee. Nitro Cold Brew requires specialized equipment, demands more employee time, and is overall considered a more costly drink. 

How long will the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew be available, and where?

The woe of a Starbucks lover — and of any coffee shop loyalist, really — is the concept of seasonal flavors. Sure, we know that storing all of the different sauces and syrups needed for every single flavor under the sun isn't feasible. But who can help the cravings for a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in July, or a Chestnut Praline Latte in March? What's worse is when your favorite limited-edition release suddenly gets the axe from the rotation. Ask any Starbucks patron and there's probably a drink sent to the Starbs in the sky that they'd pay just to savor one more time (RIP, Juniper Latte).

Well, the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Cold Brew comes with good news: Its availability is widespread, and it's here year-round. That's right, finally another permanent menu fixture, so feel free to get attached to this one. You'll want to check with your frequented locations about local stock, of course. 

How does the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew compare to other Starbucks drinks?

We're not going to compare the new drink to all of the flavored cold brew offerings at Starbucks since there are so few offered in Nitro. The Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew is significantly sweeter than the Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew — and we'd have to assume that the same applies to the non-Nitro versions. The combination of the sweetened foam and the syrup in the cold brew just makes the sugariness in this one much more distinct. 

The Cinnamon Caramel is also sweeter than the Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Cold Brews, although it's only marginally sweeter compared to the Vanilla flavor. Between the Cinnamon Caramel and the Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew, the foam of the latter is certainly more saccharine. However, the Cinnamon Caramel drink is more sugary overall with the syrup in the actual cold coffee. 

In comparing the Nitro version of the Cinnamon Caramel Cream with the regular Cold Brew version, the biggest difference you'll notice is in texture. All of that added flavor masks any subtle changes in the taste between the two coffees. The Nitro version is smoother and more velvety with a denser mouthfeel.

Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew nutrition information

Calories might not be something we want to think of when indulging in a drink like this, but it's always worth a mention. Starbucks is very forthcoming with nutritional and ingredient details for all of its beverages, and you can even calculate how any modifications impact them. A grande size of the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew is 260 calories — 10 calories more than the regular non-Nitro Cold Brew version, interestingly. The tall size contains 180 calories. 

For total fats, the grande size has 13 grams. Eight grams of that fat is saturated fat, amounting to 40% of the recommended daily intake for saturated fats. The tall size features 10 grams of fat with 6 grams being saturated fats. The grande also contains 265 milligrams of caffeine and 33 grams of sugar — the tall has 185 milligrams of caffeine and 22 grams of sugar. 

So how does Starbucks' Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew taste?

Overall, is the Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew worth it? It's a resounding yes. The drink, while sweet and not a particularly innovative new release, has a nice, buttery-smooth texture. The soft spice of the cinnamon does well to rein in the caramel's sweetness a little. And the nitrogen's frothy head combined with the pillowy cold foam creates a lovely cloud of cream to sip as it melts into the coffee from the bottom. There's a bit too much going on flavor-wise to comment on the flavor of the coffee's profile itself. Though we have had plain Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew and it's a bold, slightly-sweet coffee with a pleasant nuttiness. 

One downside is that quite a bit of syrup settles at the drink's bottom. We think this is more than likely because baristas might not vigorously stir a Nitro Cold Brew for fear of breaking up the nitrogen gas bubbles. This is a practice we agree with, and just a caveat to flavored nitrogen cold brews in general, so no shade to the Starbucks staff

However, compared to other coffee shops both corporate and local, we think that Starbucks, despite being the biggest and most widely-known, is a bit behind on expanding its nitrogen cold brew menu. Or, at least, behind on permanent Nitro Cold Brew options. But until that menu expands, we will be content with this new cold brew that tastes like a cinnamon roll in a cup.