September 23, 2015 Coffee & Beverages

New Toasted Graham Latte Brings Familiar Flavors to Starbucks

Starbucks introduces its first new autumn espresso beverage in four years - Toasted Graham Latte. The new handcrafted beverage is now available in Starbucks® stores across the United States and Canada.

When Starbucks beverage R&D manager Yoke Wong set out to create the new beverage, she found inspiration in an unusual place. 

“I thought about the back-to-school season and looked at the latest food and beverage trends,” said Wong. “What I found to be quite popular in the U.S. is the taste of cereal milk, the delicious leftovers in your breakfast bowl.”

Intrigued by this trend, Wong soaked graham crackers in milk to replicate the taste of cereal and learn more about the milk’s texture. For additional insight, she explored the culinary world in Europe. “I learned that many Italian gelato shops serve a flavor called Fior di Latte, which means the 'flower of milk,'" said Wong. “It’s like a smooth vanilla crème and is very popular.”

With both of these distinctive flavors in mind, Wong began a journey to develop Toasted Graham Latte, considering between 20 and 30 beverage concepts.

“I knew I was getting close to the final recipe when I began to notice that one of the samples was the favorite time and time again," she said. "Based on all of the feedback we received, we were able to create a beverage that conjures up feelings of fall, comfort and warmth." The Toasted Graham Latte is an espresso beverage with steamed milk, flavors of graham and sweet cream and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon graham crumbles.

Jimmy Balch, senior designer for store promotions at Starbucks, was asked to create a paper cup for those who relish the autumn season.

“While there are many customers who want to hold onto summer, there are others who can’t wait for it to end,” he said. “We wanted to give those who celebrate fall something special.”

Balch began to sketch fall symbols found in nature like leaves, berries, pumpkins and pine cones. When he had a desired creative direction, he passed the cup to Victor Melendez, senior packaging designer, who has a distinctive style and created illustrations for this year’s Anniversary Blend coffee bag as well.

“I took the original concepts and refined them through pen and ink drawings,” said Melendez.

“We incorporated hints of color, but allowed the illustration to be the focus. We wanted the colors on the cup to take a secondary role, and let the illustrations take the lead," Balch added.

After assembling the illustrations on the paper cup, and receiving feedback from designers and Starbucks leadership, Melendez and Balch had the final version. Customers will be able to enjoy their Toasted Graham Latte and any other hot beverage in the fall-inspired paper cup through the end of October or while supplies last.


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