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Here’s why Starbucks is putting beef jerky in its coffee


New Starbucks Coffee with Beef Jerky Pin It
Photo: Starbucks

Over the past few years, Starbucks has proven it’s not afraid to take some serious risks when it comes to your a.m. coffee fix. And along the way, there have been plenty of hits (hello, Piña Colada), as well as a few Instagrammable-but-not-so-healthy near-misses (like the heavily hashtagged #unicornfrapp).

Now, the latest offering from the ‘Bucks falls into that savory space somewhere in the middle.

Meet the Pepper Nitro with a Jerky Twist which, yes, is coffee with beef jerky. But before you cringe and imagine slugging down some liquid beef for breakfast, rest assured that this new limited-time-only beverage isn’t just tasty, it also comes with a charitable side hustle.

“The real surprise is the salty savoriness of the jerky garnish.”

The Pepper Nitro cold brew (which is served on draft through a nitro tap) is made from coffee beans sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is then infused with a malted fennel black pepper syrup and topped with cold honey foam and a sprinkle of pink peppercorn. For the grand finale, there’s a piece of grass-fed beef jerky acting as an edible garnish. (So no, there won’t be tiny pieces of jerky floating around your cup.) The drink comes as part of Starbucks’ continued partnership with the Eastern Congo Initiative, which works to help rebuild the Congo’s coffee industry.

“Our inspiration was centered around the characteristics of the Congo coffee,” says Starbucks research and development team member Raegan Powell. “The sweet and herbal spice notes naturally paired well with savory ingredients. With the first sip, you get a hint of the honey cold foam and the aroma of the pink ground peppercorn. The real surprise is the salty savoriness of the jerky garnish, an exciting complement to the smooth and sweet finish of the nitro cold brew experience.”

So there’s good news, which is that beef jerky packs a nutritional punch, landing this drink solidly in the healthy snack category. (What was once considered gas station food is now a thriving, Paleo-friendly snack.) But the bad news is that the Pepper Nitro is only available for a limited time, and is only up for grabs at the Seattle Reserve Roastery.

 

Okay, coffee DIY-ers, what do you think: Has Starbucks invented a new java-and-jerky category you’re going to try at home, or is this a (very meaty) one-off?

Surprised by the jerky resurgence? Check out how women are using it to up their protein game, how health food experts use it in travel snacks, or how to use it as part of your healthy office snack.