Starbucks in Shanghai, China
Photo: Tim Graham (Getty Images)

We here in the U.S. are just getting used to Starbucks’ recently released 2018 holiday drink lineup, featuring whipped-up frothiness in beverages like Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and Chestnut Praline Latte. The Daily Coffee News website points out, though, that if we were in China, we would be privy to a different holiday beverage: the Snowy Cheese Flavored Latte.

Discovered on a press release promoting Starbucks drinks around the world, the description of the drink reads as follows: “A dreamy new holiday beverage made with baked cheese flavored sauce blended into classic espresso and topped with light whipped cream, blueberry flavored sprinkles and star-shaped crisps.” Yep, “baked cheese flavored sauce” still trips us up.

Although, it’s also slightly familiar. In October, the Chicago Tribune ran a story on the “cheese tea” beverages that were all the rage in the city’s Chinatown. The cheese in those drinks, as you might expect, consisted of “whipped, airy cheesecake-flavored foam made from milk, cream cheese and salt.”

But when Daily Coffee News editor Nick Brown contacted Starbucks to get the scoop on the Snowy Cheese, the Starbucks media relations rep he spoke with “has confirmed with DCN that the cheese referenced in the drink description is, in fact, cheese and not something cheesecake-related,” leaving us more confused than ever.

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The rep’s continued description that the drink is “a new dreamy holiday beverage customers love, inspired by the magic of Christmas fairy tales to spread cheer during this festive season,” doesn’t help much, as we wrack our collective brains trying to think of fairy tales that involve cheese. Maybe keep your cheesy beverage, China; we are more intrigued by this Starbucks’ Japan offering: Christmas Strawberry Cake Milk.