Fans of pop singer Ariana Grande (and Starbucks' limited-edition beverages) had their heads in the clouds last week when a new partnership was announced to promote the chain's latest drink: a cold foam caramel sauce-topped espresso beverage, aptly dubbed the "Cloud Macchiato." The creamy drink is topped with a fluffy cloud-like layer of white foam.
Even TODAY's Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb were big fans of the sweet new creation.
After a day spent spreading some hype across social media, Starbucks and Grande made the drink's release official on March 6, with the brand tweeting that Grande was the fluffy beverage's official ambassador.
Along with a photo montage of Grande adorned in the chain's classic green apron (surrounded by dogs and baristas, of course), Grande posted a note encouraging fans to try the drink with soy milk. Since devout followers know the singer has been vegan since 2013, many inferred a soy version was Grande-approved — i.e. that it contained no animal byproducts.
Well, they were wrong. And now, they're upset.
When the drink was first announced, Starbucks specified that although the espresso base can be made with dairy-free milks, the fluffy foam is made from a mix of egg white powder, sugar, salt, rice protein and various stabilizers. So, the whole drink isn't vegan, even if it's ordered with soy or almond milk. The caramel sauce is also made with dairy products like heavy cream and butter.
On Twitter, a Starbucks barista confirmed that it was impossible to make the cloud part of the new beverage without the powder that contains eggs.
Now, plenty of vegan customers are not happy with the drink's release.
Some are downright angry and feel deceived by both the chain and the superstar singer. Grande has yet to respond to the controversy directly and a rep for the coffee chain would not confirm to TODAY Food whether it had any plans to rework the foam base to make a truly dairy-free version of the drink.
But those feeling angry about their favorite vegan singer being the ambassador for a non-vegan drink aren't the only ones storming the internet with negative comments. There's also backlash from tired baristas, reminiscent of the Unicorn Frappuccino meltdown of 2017.
Not only are 10-year-olds unknowingly ordering caffeine, but people claiming to be Starbucks employees have stated that the drink is actually pretty difficult to whip up.
They're hardly doling out good recommendations.
Regardless of baristas' grievances and the egg-filled foam, many other patrons are remaining devoted to Grande ... and grandes.
Cloud macchiatos in hand, they will forge onward, saying "Thank U, Next," as they grab another creamy latte.