Someone, somewhere, went into a Starbucks one day and asked for an unusual blend: Strawberry Acai Refresher tea with coconut milk subbed in place of the water. Word got out about it via a picture posted on Instagram and now the mix -- dubbed the Pink Drink -- is an internet sensation. People are ordering it in droves and posting their own pics of the pretty drink on social media. In case you've never seen it, just go to your favorite social media feed and search for the hashtag #pinkdrink.
The Starbucks Pink Drink is just the latest of a series of things made trendy due to social media. At first, the chain's baristas had no clue what PinkDrink was when people started ordering it. Now, more and more employees are catching word of the craze and are preparing themselves to serve up an increasing number of the unusual tea and coconut milk mix.
On the outside, it doesn't seem like a big deal. Yes, the drink looks nice and would be ideal for a sorority gathering or baby shower. However, it's not the first rosy hued beverage to make its way into the world, so what's the big deal? This is the same question asked by many popular food blogs, and their answer is that it's crazy delicious. Apparently, Pink Drink's taste is worth the hype and its looks are only part of why so many people are going nuts over it. It's been described as tasting like a light strawberry milk or akin to the Japanese yogurt based Calpico.
Others have commented on how exotic the drink seems to be compared to sipping an ordinary tea, and foodies across the country have called Pink Drink the perfect summer cooler. Strawberries, tea, and coconut aren't the end of this trend, however. There's been a growing number of Starbucks aficionados ordering Pink Drink with the addition of blueberries or the replacement of strawberries with blueberries. Will #PurpleDrink be up next? Only time will tell.
There have been so many praises for Pink Drink that it's easy to overlook the negatives. For some, the combination is simply too strange to dry. Then, there are the few in the minority who feel the concoction simply tastes nasty and is over hyped. One thing is the same among Pink Drink's supporters and naysayers: they all posted about their experiences online and have only added fuel to the item's booming popularity.
Boost to Starbucks
The name "Starbucks" has become both famous and infamous in the years since it opened. While it's made quite a few snafus -- the chain's recent reward program changes were a complete cluster -- it's had more hits than misses. PinkDrink is the latest hit, but this time Starbucks didn't have to bother with research and development or come up with a new menu item. Instead, fans of the chain and social media have done the work for them.
Pink Drink isn't actually the first secret Starbucks menu item created by fans, but it's one of the most noted. A website called Starbucks Secret Menu actually records and posts fan-made teas, drinks, and coffees and tracks their popularity. Along with Pink Drink, the Gingerbread Eggnog Chai, Iced Raspberry Latte, and Green Master Frappuccino have all earned their place as legendary secret items.
Pink Drink Profits
There's been no word from Starbucks on how much this new creation has made for the company, but since Pink Drink has become such a social media sensation, many are wondering whether Starbucks will make it an official menu item. If they want to keep capitalizing on the famed concoction, they'd do well to leave things as they are. The reason PinkDrink became so popular is due to its novelty -- it's the thing that only Starbucks lovers in the know are aware of. It's something that's unique and unusual, and akin to being in a secret club: if you give out keys or the password to anyone who asks, the club isn't a secret anymore.
There's no fun in that, just as it won't be as fun to order PinkDrink if everyone who goes to a Starbucks can do so. So many restaurant and fast food chains have "secret" menu items, and one thing holds true: once those items are made official offerings, demand either stalls or declines. In order for Pink Drink to continue enjoying its cult status, Starbucks should just stay mum, do nothing, and let social media take care of the rest.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker