Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Not Quite Coffee Enough: Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte Is All Right, Not Superlative.

The Good: Tastes very flavorful, Nothing bad in it
The Bad: Expensive! Low nutritional benefit.
The Basics: Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is tasty, but vastly overpriced for what it is.

When my wife and I picked up the Caramel Macchiato Starbucks Discoveries (reviewed here!), I was pretty excited. At the same time we got that, she also found the Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte. Vanilla Lattes are a favorite of my wife, so we felt pretty strongly compelled to pick this up. And it was good, but not exceptional, especially for those looking for a coffee drink. In fact, even my wife had to agree that if it wasn’t on clearance, it would not be worth picking up.

The Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is good, but not as healthy as, for example, Bolthouse Farms coffee drinks. Still, it is not bad and has better ingredients than most prepared coffee drinks.


Starbucks is a company that makes coffee and in expanding out from the coffee shops, it has been selling its coffee as prepared beverages, beans, and ice creams. This is a dairy beverage that is milk and coffee-based, so it is one of the more perishable Starbucks products sold outside the cafes. Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte comes in a 50.7 fl. oz. cardboard carton that is too large to be portable. The carton is filled with the opaque fairly light tan liquid, reminiscent of chocolate milk, that is the Discoveries Vanilla Latte. Starbucks is one of the leading manufacturers of prepared coffee beverages.

The 50.7 fl. oz. bottle is intended to give consumers six servings and our carton bore that out exactly when we measured our servings.

Ease Of Preparation

Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is a liquid in the 50.7 fl. oz. carton and is a ready-to-drink beverage. So, preparation is as easy as opening the plastic cap. Unscrewing that, one has to pull off the plastic tab beneath to get access to the spout and the fluid inside. Starbucks has a plastic cap that easily twists off and can be put back on in order to reseal it. It is important to note that this is supposed to be refrigerated, so quality of the beverage may degrade if it is left out at room temperature before or after the bottle is open. Otherwise, this is very easy to dispense and there is no real preparation required outside shaking the carton while the cap is on.


The Vanilla Latte smells appropriately light and sweet, exactly like what one would expect from a vanilla coffee drink. The scent is subtle, but previews the flavor of the drink nicely.

Getting by the foam, the consumer is treated to a light, milky flavor that has the distinctive dryness on the tongue that is instantly recognizable as vanilla. That flavor lasts for about a second before an equally clear coffee flavor washes over the tastebuds. The coffee flavor is surprisingly weak and it only lingers on the tongue a second or three before the milky vanilla flavor overwhelms it again and finishes the drink’s flavor off nicely. The sweetness of the vanilla completely cuts the hints of bitterness from the coffee.

The Vanilla Latte has a slightly dry aftertaste, but not one that is unpleasant or diminishes the drink in any way.


As a dairy and coffee beverage, Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is designed to meet the consumer’s need for coffee without having to brew coffee or buy one’s own Starbucks coffee. Nutritionally, Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is mediocre, but not bad. Discoveries Vanilla Latte is primarily composed of reduced-fat milk, brewed Starbucks espresso coffee and sugar. It contains nothing bad, which is probably why it expires so fast. The Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte contains milk, so it is in no way Vegan compliant. On the plus side, though, there are no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors!

This drink is also good, but not overly healthy. One serving of Discoveries Vanilla Latte has 2 g fat and 120 calories, 20 of which come from the fat. While there are 20 grams of carbohydrates, the beverage has only 10 mg of cholesterol and only 3 grams of protein! Unsurprisingly, there are 40 mg (2% RDA) of sodium in each serving. A single serving is a not a sufficient source of any nutrients, though it has 10% of the RDA of Calcium.


Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte comes in a cardboard carton and it keeps for only a few weeks. The bottle I bought the first week of November had an expiration date of November 11, 2013 (fear not, I consumed it and wrote the review well before it expired!). This beverage must be refrigerated!

This drink is a dairy product and fairly light, despite the coffee in it. If this gets on clothes, it will certainly stain them. Consult a care guide for your clothes, though I suspect light clothes would need bleach to get this out. Still, the drink wipes off surfaces easily with a cloth, assuming they are impermeable.


Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is good, but those who love coffee are likely to find it too watered-down and sweet to make it worth trying more than once.

For other Starbucks coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Via Vanilla instant coffee
Starbucks Cafe Estima Coffee
Starbucks Via Iced Coffee


For other food reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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