Review: Starbucks' Luck Of The Matcha Frappuccino Is A Sweet Treat For St. Patrick's Day

If you pay attention to Starbucks' seasonal menu releases, you may have noticed that the coffee company has come out with a few new drinks for spring 2024. One in particular — the Iced Lavender Cream Oatmilk Matcha, which we recently sampled for a review of Starbucks' lavender-forward 2024 spring menu — could become one of my new favorites. With this menu release, it seems the brand is starting to shine a light more and more on matcha.

Without adding some interesting flavors to it, matcha is a hard sell to make to people who don't already enjoy it, because on its own, matcha tastes leafy and earthy, kind of like you're taking a bite out of a bunch of leaves. At the least, this drink offers the flavor you get from some matcha-flavored Starbucks tea drinks. But because matcha is just so brightly green, it makes sense that this ingredient would star in a drink made especially for Irish-focused festivities.

The new Starbucks Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino honors St. Patrick's Day with green flair galore. As a former Starbucks barista, I just had to try it. 

What is the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino?

Most Starbucks fans are aware of something known as the secret menu. This is a collection of drinks that regular Starbucks customers have created, which are simply customizations of the drinks readily available on the Starbucks menu. The secret menu is nothing more than the collective creative superpowers of Starbucks fans. But in all honesty, the mystique is a little misleading, because most Starbucks baristas don't know a good portion of the popular secret menu drinks by name. 

As a result, in order to actually choose one of these secret drinks, customers often need to be aware of what actually goes in it. This can be a bit difficult, so it's handy that Starbucks is apparently developing a habit of releasing limited-edition drinks that feel like a secret menu option, but can be easily ordered from the app.

The first drink I noticed in this trend was the Merry Mint White Mocha around the holiday season. Valentine's Day brought a couple more specialty drinks, and now, with spring upon us and four-leaf clovers in abundance, St. Patty's Day presents another opportunity for a special drink. That's exactly what the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino actually is. Essentially, this drink is a Matcha Crème Frappuccino with caramel syrup blended in, and caramel sauce drizzled all over the whipped cream, which is also sprinkled with crunchy caramel topping. 

Where to find the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino

You can find this newest menu addition for a limited time around St. Patty's Day. However, you may run into a bit of an issue with ordering this drink if your neighborhood Starbucks is running low on matcha, which is exactly the problem I initially ran into. I'm lucky enough to live near several Starbucks locations within only a few minutes of each other, so when one runs out of an ingredient, I can easily venture to another one. 

That said, matcha is not something I've regularly seen Starbucks run out of in the past, even though it is certainly popular. Thankfully, since this is a drink you can easily order over the app, you don't need to wait until getting to the store to find out if it is out of an ingredient; you can simply see that the drink is unavailable when trying to order it.

If you're looking for a dose of luck in your next Starbucks order after St. Patrick's Day comes and goes, you can continue to order this drink even after it is no longer easily added on the app. Simply start with a Matcha Crème Frappuccino, and ask for caramel syrup to be blended in with caramel drizzle and caramel crunch added on top of the whipped cream. The nice thing is that these ingredients are available year-round, so even as the simplicity factor wanes, the availability is certainly still there. 

How much does the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino cost?

One of the best things about the way Starbucks is organizing these limited-edition drinks is that they are less expensive than if you were to order the same drink with a secret menu ingredient assembly. For example, based on my experience in ordering the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino on the app for pickup in central Florida, the drink costs $6.25 for a tall, 50 cents more for a grande at $6.75, and 50 cents more than that for a venti at $7.25. 

On the other hand, if you were to take everything you needed for the drink and add it to a base Matcha Crème Frappuccino, in my region a tall would come out to $6.85, a grande would be $7.05, and a venti would be $7.55. Therefore, after this menu item leaves the app, and you need to assemble it through customizations, this drink will ultimately be a little pricier than it is now. 

Taste test

Although it doesn't directly involve taste, the very first thing I noticed about this drink is just how green it is. Of course, given that it is a matcha drink, this is to be expected, but for some reason, with the caramel-syrup addition, I just expected more of a muted green color. That isn't what happened here at all.

All told, I found the flavor to be matcha, just sweetened. There is a very slight caramel flavor, but it certainly isn't overpowering in any way. As someone who really enjoys caramel drinks, I would definitely want to add a caramel pump per size to really have that caramel come forward a bit more. This would mean 3 pumps of caramel for a tall, 4 for a grande, and 5 for a venti, as Starbucks currently has it set at a 2, 3, and 4 progression per respective size, matching the number of caramel pumps with the number of matcha scoops. With matcha being such a strong flavor already, the caramel needs to be a little more heavy-handed to stand out against that already strong flavor.

Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino vs Matcha Crème Frappuccino

I was very curious how the Luck of the Matcha would compare to a regular Matcha Crème Frappuccino, so for the taste test, I went ahead and ordered one of each for a direct comparison. A basic Matcha Crème Frappuccino tastes strikingly like matcha ice cream. It's sweet but not too sweet, and that earthy matcha flavor is present but not overpowering in the slightest. The base Matcha Crème Frappuccino has classic syrup sweetener in it, while the Luck of the Matcha version replaces the classic syrup with caramel.

The flavor differences between the two are very slight, and the biggest difference comes in only a light caramel taste. That said, the caramel drizzled on top of the whipped cream does offer more of a heavy flavor, so if you mix that right into your drink, especially as you near the bottom of your cup, you'll definitely get more of that creamy caramel flavor. You could always ask for your cup to be lined with caramel to enhance this flavor.

Is the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino worth it?

If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a drink that is definitely festive-looking and certainly sweet, I think the Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino is a fun gimmick worth trying. However, once this seasonal drink goes away, its caramel addition isn't earth-shattering enough to pay the extra coin to customize an already pretty good Matcha Crème Frappuccino to mimic this Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino made for the Hibernian holiday.

This drink certainly makes for a pretty picture and a cool way to switch up your regular order, but beyond that, I'll probably just stick with a basic Matcha Crème Frappuccino. Even still, to account for wearing green — or perhaps forgetting to — on St. Patrick's Day and avoid being pinched by those pesky leprechauns, carrying around a Luck of the Matcha Crème Frappuccino may be a fun way to spend at least part of this March 17.