Hey, Java Junkie ... Starbucks Is Testing New Items
As part of Starbucks' ongoing effort to broaden its portfolio, the company is testing several new beverages in some of its markets, including a "cold-foam mocha" and handcrafted sodas.
The new mocha drink is available at some locations in Nashville, Tenn. For more on this news, check out The Wall Street Journal's post.
Melody Overton, who writes StarbucksMelody.com, a news blog that follows the company closely, said, "As I understand it, a special "cold foam" is prepared in advance in whipped cream canisters. Shots of espresso are poured into milk steam pitchers with the right amount of ice in it, and then the espresso is stirred. Then the cold espresso is poured over the 'cold foam' in the cup."
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Further south, the company is selling artisanal sodas in varieties such as spiced root beer, ginger ale and lemon ale at its stores in Atlanta and in Austin, Texas.
"While not everything Starbucks tests eventually makes it to a national rollout, we are pleased to see that the company isn't resting on its laurels," said Mark Kalinowski, an analyst with Janney Capital Markets, in a recent report.
"The handcrafted sodas that we first informed you about ... have reached another stage in its test, and our guess is that the odds favor those being launched nationally at some eventual point in time, perhaps during fiscal 2014," he said, adding that he will watch the progress of the mocha as well.
In another first, according to Kalinowski, the company's Frappuccino Twitter handle promoted a so-called secret menu item for a cotton-candy Frappuccino. Companies have used secret menus, which let people order things not technically listed, to give customers the feeling they're in the know.
"When executed well, it can lead to a higher level of connection between a brand and its fans," Kalinowski said. "However, chains need to make sure that its employees are clued in. … We have visited more than one quick-service restaurant and asked for a secret menu item, only to be met with a blank stare."
—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @KatieLittle