is testing some new beverage innovations in various markets, including handcrafted sodas and a “cold-foam mocha.”
According to the unofficial fan website StarbucksMelody.com, in June the coffeehouse chain began a second phase of testing new carbonated beverages, including a proprietary root beer and ginger ale, in a limited number of stores in Atlanta and Austin, Texas.
A spokeswoman for Starbucks confirmed the test locations, saying, “testing is a way of life for Starbucks.” But she could not offer specifics.
Wall Street analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets wrote in a report that Starbucks first tested three types of sodas — including a Lemon Ale — at a few locations near Seattle in mid-April. The company was also looking at carbonating other beverages, like the new Cool Lime Refreshers rolled out last year.
In a report on Monday, Kalinowski wrote of the expanded soda test, saying “the odds favor” a national rollout, perhaps during fiscal 2014.
“While not everything Starbucks tests eventually makes it to a national rollout, we are pleased to see that the company isn’t resting on its laurels,” he wrote.
Kalinowski also wrote that he plans to follow the test of the cold-foam mocha, which began last week in a few stores in Nashville, Tenn., according to StarbucksMelody.com.
The drink is described as including a special cold foam, which is prepared in advance in whipped cream canisters. Shots of espresso are poured into milk steam pitchers with ice, then stirred. The cold espresso is poured over the foam with mocha flavoring. In the cup, the drink appears to be half foam, half espresso.
StarbucksMelody.com warns that this drink is still early in the test phase. “Don’t hold your breath that these drinks are coming to a store near you,” the blog site said.
Seattle-based Starbucks has more than 18,000 locations worldwide, including more than 11,000 in the U.S.