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Starbucks is adding oat milk to the menu in 1,300 stores

The coffee chain is piloting the trendy vegan drink in the Midwest region.
Starbucks is adding three new dairy-free drinks to its menu.
Starbucks is adding three new dairy-free drinks to its menu.Joshua Trujillo / Starbucks
/ Source: TODAY

Starbucks is kicking off 2020 with a few new menu items for those looking to ditch dairy.

Starting today, 1,300 Starbucks locations in the Midwest region — including stores in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin — will be offering oat milk, the wildly popular nut-free milk alternative. Where oat milk is available, the chain is also adding a sweet new latte that blends shots of Starbucks' blonde espresso with honey syrup and steamed oat milk.

Oat milk might be new to Starbucks stores in the U.S., but the chain has been offering the dairy-free alternative in European markets since January 2018. It's also been available at select Starbucks Reserve locations since March 2019. Starbucks is using milk from Oatly, a Swedish oat milk producer that is one of the world's largest.

If oat milk isn't your thing, Starbucks also has a few other dairy-free drinks in store for the new year and, unlike oat milk, they'll be available at most Starbucks locations: the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and Coconutmilk Latte. Both drinks joined the chain's permanent menu Tuesday.

Like its oat milk counterpart, the Almondmilk Honey Flat White features shots of blonde espresso mixed with a honey syrup and steamed almond milk. The Coconutmilk Latte has shots of blonde espresso, steamed coconut milk and a finishing touch of cascara syrup for a subtle taste of dark brown sugar infused with maple.

Starbucks introduced its first dairy-free alternative — soy milk — in 2004, but over time, market demand for plant-based milks has grown exponentially and the company has evolved its menu accordingly. The coffee giant added coconut milk to its menu in 2015, followed by almond milk (the chain blends its own and calls it Almondmilk) in 2016.

Dairy-free milks are often associated with being a bit healthier and less caloric than whole milk, but they often don't have as much protein and some varieties may be loaded with sugar. For example, a grande Starbucks flat white made with 2% milk has 220 calories, 11 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein. The same sized drink made with almond milk has 170 calories, 5 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs and just 3 grams of protein.

A rep for Starbucks would not confirm when the chain plans to roll out oat milk to more stores across the country.