It's the moment we've all been waiting for. Sort of.

By Betty Gold
January 08, 2020

The year has barely begun, but we can already see that plant-based eating is going to be bigger than ever this year. The Golden Globes went vegan, Impossible Foods is officially selling meat-free pork, and it appears that everyone has concurrently opted to refer to this month as “Veganuary.”

It’s no surprise that mega restaurant chains and grocers have taken notice.

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Milk was one of the first things to go mainstream in vegan form. Remember the days when there was only soy, and the only person on earth who drank it was your lactose-intolerant dad? Today, a stroll through any grocery store will lead you past carton after carton of almond, coconut, cashew, soybean, rice, hemp, and pea milk.

Few alt-milks, however, have generated quite as much buzz—or a bigger cult-following—than oat milk. Much-loved for its deliciously nutty flavor and ability to froth like cow’s milk (vegan cappuccinos!), oat milk has converted even the most devout dairy fans.

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Which brings us to Starbucks. The coffee giant has offered almond, soy, and even coconut milk for quite some time. But much to endless consumers’ dismay, oat milk has remained an absent offering on their menu in the United States (they’ve sold oat milk in Europe since 2018).  

This week, however, Starbucks announced that it will be boosting its dairy-free coffee drink options to include an Oat Milk Honey Latte—but only in a select number of Midwest stores. The new drink is made with a shot of Starbucks Blonde Espresso, a drizzle of honey, steamed oat milk, and a toasted honey topping. As of yesterday, you can find the Oat Milk Latte in 1,300 Starbucks locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. For now.

Alongside the oat milk announcement comes two other new non-dairy drink offerings that are already available nationwide. The first is an Almond Milk Honey Flat White, which combines a ristretto shot of Starbucks Blonde Espresso, steamed almond milk, and a hint of honey. The second is a Coconut Milk Latte, made with a shot of Starbucks Blonde Espresso, steamed coconut milk, and is finished with a sprinkle of Cascara sugar. A tropical take on a latte? We’ll take it. (That is, until we can get our hands on the oat milk one.)  

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