How Does The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Change Colors?

by Lara Rutherford-Morrison

Today, the world is reeling from the Unicorn Frappuccino, an enchanted, fairy-dusted blended beverage that changes colors and taste as you drink it. WHAT IS THIS SORCERY? If you’re flummoxed by how the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino changes colors, you’re not alone. But fear not, mere mortal! This magical drink may seem like something created by Fred and George Weasley, but it’s really just a mix of colorful, sweet, and sour ingredients — OK, maybe with a touch of mystery about it.

The Unicorn Frapp starts simple with a blended crème base. Your barista will add to that pink powder, mango syrup, a sour blue drizzle, vanilla whipped cream, and a sprinkle of pink and blue powder. The Unicorn Frapp looks like a sparkly, Lisa Frank-inspired dream, but the magical part is the way it transforms as you drink it. It starts out very sweet with a subtle mango flavor, but, as you stir all the different components together, it turns more tart and sour, thanks to the ribbon of sour blue syrup lining the cup. It’s appearance changes, too: When you first buy it, the Unicorn Frap will look purple with a swirl of blue running through it, but as time goes on, it will undergo a mystical transformation, becoming more pink than purple.


So how does this work? Honestly, it’s a little puzzling on the surface. My first thought was that mixing the blue syrup into the purple drink would make the whole thing more purple, not pink. But I have it on the good authority of Bustle editor and Unicorn-Frapp-taste-tester Emma Lord that the Unicorn Frapp does, in fact, get more pink as you stir in the blue syrup. Apparently, the sour blue syrup is so brightly colored that it goes against everything we learned about the color wheel in elementary school and makes the Frapp lighter. The pale whipped cream may contribute to this lightening, too. (Bear in mind that this color change is fairly subtle; you’re not going to see it go from one end of the color spectrum to the other). (Although, Starbucks, if you ­could­ make a Frapp that would magically cycle through all of the colors of the rainbow, I would def buy that, FYI.)

Like most magical creatures, the Starbucks Unicorn Frapp is elusive and will only be available from Wednesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 23. So put on your favorite sparkly shirt, get yourself a Frapp, and curl up with your favorite unicorn-themed movie. It’s this one, obviously.