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After nearly 100,000 customer requests, Starbucks is adding almond milk to its menu, rolling out in locations nationwide this month. While, yes, they’re totally behind with recognizing the nut milk craze, there’s a reason why it’s taken them this long: the mega brand wanted to formulate its own almond milk, not use one that already exists.

As you can imagine, the testing process was pretty vigorous. Here’s what went down at the super secretive Starbucks lab: First, a base formula was perfected. Then, sweetness was added for a fuller flavor. Next, each batch of almond milk was tested in all the Starbucks drinks—to make sure it tasted good in everything from blended frapps to a classic cup of joe. Then, blind tastings were done in the office with specially selected baristas, and finally, finally the brand feels ready to release the formula to the masses.

Okay, so what’s it made of? Here’s the ingredient list in its entirety: almond milk (filtered water, almonds), sugar, tricalcium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, xanathan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D2. It may sound like a list of mystery ingredients, but it’s pretty comparable to what’s in other name-brand almond milks (for better or for worse).

The Starbucks almond milk (which they are branding as one word: “almondmilk”) has 3 percent almonds. While smaller brands have a much higher almond percentage, this is pretty on par with other big almond milk brands. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, for example, contains 2 percent almonds—and many brands don’t list what percentage they have at all. (Fact.)

And the second ingredient? Sugar—there are 3 grams per serving in there, which is actually much lower than other almond milks: Natura Almond Milk has 7 grams per cup, as does Pacific Organic—although Califia Farms has no sugar at all.

The verdict? Starbucks’ almond milk is the healthiest way to sip their most popular, fancy coffee drinks. For example, an almond milk pumpkin spice latte (PSL) has 9 grams less sugar than one made with whole milk. Yes, whole milk has sugar in it.

Well+Good was invited to get a very first taste of the almond milk. On its own in a latte, it doesn’t taste as sweet as other almond milks on the market, and when used in the PSL, the nuttiness complements the pumpkin really well. So if that’s your jam, you can do a forehead-wiping sigh of relief now.

Now that almond milk will be on the menu, just imagine all the ways you can use it to make totally new drinks. Want something else to sip on? Try a turmeric milkshake

 

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