Review: Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino… vs. Butterbeer™

There has been a LOT of hype over the latest specialty beverages to arrive to Starbucks.

And while these new sips are being served at Starbucks locations all over Disney property in spots like Epcot’s Fountain View, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street BakeryTrolley Car Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom’s Creature Comforts, they’re likely gracing the menu at your local Starbucks, too (making this a two-fer review for you!).

We’re talking about the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino! And though they’re available nationwide, many folks are making the comparison to a specific specialty drink at a certain theme park also located in Central Florida: BUTTERBEER™.

Described as “creamy-sweet with kettle cooked butterscotch,” it sure sounds enticing enough.

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

So I grabbed both the hot latte and the frappuccino versions so I could decide for myself how they really compare to a glass of Butterbeer™. If you’ve never had one, Butterbeer comes in a few different versions like cold or frozen, and has a very sweet and distinct butterscotch flavor throughout its cream soda base. The whole thing is topped off with foam.

Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks

Butterbeer at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino

Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino

I sampled mine on one of the very last of the cool “winter” days here in Florida, so I went with the hot Smoked Butterscotch Latte first.

Smoked Butterscotch Latte

Smoked Butterscotch Latte

The latte standard of espresso with lots of steamed milk is enhanced with a smoked butterscotch sauce, while a smoked butterscotch topping sprinkled over the foam is the finishing touch (which essentially tastes like sugar with a hint of smokiness).

Lots of Foam and Smoked Butterscotch Topping

Lots of Foam and Smoked Butterscotch Topping

The butterscotch flavor became more pronounced with each sip as the sauce mixed with the milk. I thought it was a really nice balance between the smoky and sweet. And — aside from the obvious espresso flavor — it really does taste similar to Butterbeer™!

Here’s a tip, though… if you really want to experience that Butterbeer™ taste, I suggest sizing up to a Venti for the latte. Here’s why: both the Grande and Venti sizes come with two shots of espresso in the hot version, so you get more milk in the Venti. Ultimately, it tones down the espresso flavor and adds an extra creaminess that more closely resembles the Butterbeer™ flavor. Consider asking for whipped cream as well, which will also up the creaminess factor.

If cold or blended coffee is more your style, or you are raising a glass to Florida’s rising temps, then the Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino is your better bet!

Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino

Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino

The Frappuccino is coffee-based. Like the latte, this one is mixed with the smoked butterscotch sauce. It’s topped off with whipped cream and sprinkled with the same smoked butterscotch topping, which you can see a little better in the photo below.

Whipped Cream and Smoked Butterscotch Topping

Whipped Cream and Smoked Butterscotch Topping

Of the two, this one tasted much more like a Butterbeer™ to me. Probably because it is made with coffee instead of the more strongly flavored espresso, so you’re tasting more of the butterscotch. And this one automatically comes with whipped cream, again adding more of its own creaminess.

The smokiness in both is isn’t overly powerful so the drinks lean heavily on the sweeter side, but with a unique hint of spice.

So do the new beverages taste EXACTLY like Butterbeer™? No, but if you enjoy the taste of Butterbeer™, you’ll definitely want to give these a go! Heck, if you can live without the coffee, you can always request that your Frappuccinno be cream-based, which I’m sure would make it taste even closer to Butterbeer™. Similarly, you can request the latte to have no espresso as well.

One thing’s for sure: after trying both, it really is no surprise why lovers of the theme park favorite are going crazy for these!

How do you think the Smoked Butterscotch Drinks compare to Butterbeer™? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Carolyn says

    I thought it was good, but I only tried the hot latte. My store is already sold out of them.

  2. Christine says

    Try it iced! I’ve had both the hot and iced version in venti size, and the hot is delicious, but the iced version was a perfect balance of coffee, smoke, and butterscotch.

  3. Keith says

    The new Starbucks drinks are worthless…almost zero butterscotch flavor. Very disappointing. Stick with the gingerbread or chestnut praline

  4. Michele says

    I thought my Smoked Butterscotch Latte was absolutely terrible. No discernible butterscotch taste and a funky, smoky aftertaste.

    Now I don’t know if I want to try the Butterbeer in June. :(

  5. Kirsty says

    Michele – you should definitely give the Butterbeer a go. The frozen version has a strong butterscotch flavour, no smokiness like the Starbucks drinks. Just sweet & creamy (marshmallow foam yum!).

    It sounds nothing like the latte that you had, which i’ve not tried. Butterbeer is awesome.

  6. Jessica says

    I’ve have the hot latte a few times, and it’s almost always been delicious BUT I don’t like my coffee drinks overly sweet. However, the last time I had one, it tasted watered down and was disappointing. I think my barista didn’t make it properly.

  7. Courtney says

    My husband and I tried the smoked butterscotch frap, and mine must not have had enough of the butterscotch sauce. :( Ok on it’s own but definitely not a Butterbeer replacement in my opinion.

  8. Kristina says

    I have to say, I absolutely love Butterbeer and all things discribed as similar to it, that is, until this drink. I tried the latte due to the chilly weather. I’m not sure if mine was made wrong or what, but it was terrible, possibly the worst drink I ever had. It would probably be more appropriately named a smoke latte, because the smokey flavor was overwhelming. I would not say it is anything like Butterbeer. The two drinks may share a butterscotch ingredient, but they are otherwise worlds appart, in my opinion. I love you Starbucks (and love that you made me another drink instead), but this one is not for me.

  9. Lisa says

    Tried it all I could taste was the smoke was very disappointed… However in 2014 had the Butterbeer at Universal and it was amazing there is no comparing the two.

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