Starbucks' new Witch's Brew drink contains a superfood

Big news, Starbucks fans: There’s a new drink out in time for Halloween.

It’s called the Witch’s Brew Frappuccino, and it’s pretty eye-catching. The drink has a purple blend of “toad’s breath” and orange crème Frappuccino, along with a swirl of green “bat warts” (made with chia seeds), according to a Starbucks press release. It’s topped off with vanilla whipped cream and a dusting of green “lizard scale” powder.

People have already started sharing photos and recaps of the drink on Instagram (the verdict: It tastes like orange cream):

The fact that it’s sprinkled with chia seeds, a superfood, is interesting, but that still doesn’t make it a healthy drink, Julie Upton, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Appetite for Health, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I would be scared to drink it, due to the fact that it has as much sugar as one and a half cans of soda, and more calories and fat than a Dunkin’ Donuts Halloween pumpkin flavor donut,” she says.

Starbucks released a new holiday-themed drink this week called the “Witch’s Brew Frappuccino.” Here’s what nutritionists say about the drink. (Picture from Instagram: @Starbucks).
Starbucks released a new holiday-themed drink this week called the “Witch’s Brew Frappuccino.” Here’s what nutritionists say about the drink. (Picture from Instagram: @Starbucks).

“I thought the chia seeds is interesting, but it has no fiber. I’m confused. Chia seeds provide healthy fats, some protein, and some fiber. It’s showing up that it has zero grams of fiber. They’re adding such a minimal amount that it’s providing absolutely no nutritional value,” Keri Gans, a registered and certified dietitian/nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Beth Warren, a registered dietitian, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl, agrees. “It’s nice that it has chia seeds, but that doesn’t discount the magnitude of unhealthy qualities to make this a daily option,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Not only that, it’s packed with liquid calories, Warren says. “The 390 calories put the drink more in a category of a meal, which it is not,” she says. The sugar part is particularly concerning, registered dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Although milk is listed as the first ingredient, sugar is actually the ingredient that is highest in this newest Starbucks concoction,” she says. “Since sugar is listed in three different ingredients (crème Frappuccino syrup, vanilla syrup, orange-flavored purple powder) it can be listed separately instead of being listed first, before even milk. By the way, 53 grams of sugar is over a quarter of a cup of sugar!”

That doesn’t mean you can’t have it — just think of it more as an indulgence rather than your new daily drink. “This is a Halloween-themed treat, the key word being ‘treat,’” Gina Keatley, a certified dietitian/nutritionist practicing in New York City, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Treats are things you have once in a while.”

The Witch’s Brew Frappuccino is in stores now and available as long as supplies last.

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