Sometime in the early 2000’s Starbucks invented the Caramel Macchiato, confusing coffee consumers are soiling the term macchiato forever. A word that was once associated with a small espresso drink dotted by freshly steamed foam was transformed into a big cup full of milk caramel, vanilla, and less than 10% actual coffee. This turn of events in coffee culture made caffeine aficionados angry and baristas of all levels perplexed on what the hell people were trying to order, and as such, everything has been ruined forever. Arriving approximately 15-20 years late to the trendy party, Baskin Robbins are putting their own spin on the teeny-boppers gateway drug with their flavor of the month for April 2017. Caramel Macchiato combines coffee ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and real espresso flakes for a flavor that will hopefully leave me sugar AND caffeine high.
The coffee base is exactly what I look for in this kind of ice cream – smooth and sweet with vanilla undertones and a present but not too intensely bitter coffee flavor. The taste is very similar to a heavily milked and sugared cup of coffee, which should come as no surprise considering the ingredients used to make ice cream. It’s mellow enough that it doesn’t smack you in the face but big enough that the flavor doesn’t fade after repeated bites into creamy obscurity.
The salted caramel swirl seems much less salted than would be ideal, but its signature sweetness stands out against the coffee backdrop and adds some silky texture that is enjoyable and true to the caramel macchiato beverage. While I do think Baskin Robbins makes a good caramel, especially evident in flavors like Gold Medal Ribbon, I have yet to have a good salted caramel from BR and this scoop isn’t changing that perception. I also wish there was more of the caramel, because without it in the bites the flavor is much more latte than it is “macchiato”.
As for the third component of this flavor, the “real espresso flakes” are actually coffee studded chocolate flakes, and don’t lean too heavily on coffee or chocolate flavor with just a touch of bitter cocoa that elevates the espresso vibes without pushing it over the edge. I was excited when the description said “espresso flakes”, and while these chocolate chips are fine, they don’t really fit the flavor profile, and may have been better replaced by caramel covered espresso beans or something more inventive to capture the caramel macchiato essence more effectively, since this isn’t a mocha flavor. Despite the unnecessary presence of chocolate this is a pretty tasty cup, and one I might even re-scoop if I find myself near a Baskin later this month.
Found at: Baskin Robbins