The truth about Starbucks' new non-dairy drinks

Move over,  Baby Yoda Frappuccino, Starbucks is kicking off 2020 with a new line of non-dairy drinks for the lactose intolerant. While the company has offered up the choice of almond or coconut milk to customers for some time, there weren't any specialty non-dairy drinks on the menu (via People). 

Non-dairy coffee drinkers now have a special little piece of the Starbucks menu dedicated just to them with the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and Coconutmilk Latte finding a permanent residence. Meanwhile, another non-dairy drink, the Oatmilk Honey Latte, is being tested in select Midwest markets. So are these drinks healthy, or more importantly, any good?

The almond milk drink is emerging as the favorite

Both the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and Coconutmilk Latte are made with Starbucks Blonde Espresso, so they should have a familiar taste to regular customers (via The Kitchn). The Almondmilk Honey Flat White is made with steamed almond milk and some honey to give it a smooth texture and sweet flavor. As for the Coconutmilk Latte, it's the same deal only with steamed coconut milk and Cascara sugar, with dark brown sugar swapped in for honey. 

As for the taste, Isadora Baum of The Kitchn found the almond milk drink to be considerably sweeter and her favorite of the two. Allison Robicelli who reviewed both drinks for The Takeout, also preferred the almond milk beverage and tried it in both hot and cold versions. Robicelli describes herself as a black coffee drinker and appreciated that the almond milk wasn't too rich for her taste. As for the Coconutmilk Latte, neither reviewer disliked it, but both felt that it tasted like a regular latte only with some coconut flavoring. In other words, nothing special. 

As for the Oatmilk Honey Latte, there don't seem to reviews of it in media publications just yet, but folks on social media don't seem to hate it. "Starbucks please never get rid of the oat milk honey latte it's only been here for 3 days and I've had it 5 times," said one person on Twitter. "Oat milk honey latte at Starbucks is so good," tweeted another.

The drinks have fewer calories than regular lattes

So are these new beverages something you should order from the Starbucks menu for dietary purposes? Good Housekeeping reached out to registered dietitian and plant-based milk expert, Brierley Horton, for her take on the new drinks. Horton said she suspects the oat milk drink to be the healthiest on the menu. "If your goal is to eat healthier overall, personally, I might advocate for oat milk because there's a much higher fiber count in it, as none of the other alternative milks have naturally occurring fiber," Horton said. 

The drinks also have fewer calories than a typical Starbucks beverage. A tall order of the Almondmilk Honey Flat White, for example, had just 110 calories, versus the 150 calories in a regular tall latte (via Fatsecret). The almond milk drink is going to be the calorie cutter, according to Horton, with the coconut milk being sort of a middle ground choice. It has more calories than almond milk and fewer than oat milk — but it also has higher levels of saturated fat and sugar. 

If your 2020 New Year's resolutions include shedding a few pounds, Horton recommends going with the Almondmilk Honey Flat White.