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Starbucks’s Black ‘Phantom Frappuccino’ Looks Like a Drinkable Goosebumps Cover

Plus, Harvard grew meat in a lab, and more news to start your day

A glass, featuring the Starbucks logo, full of black liquid with a black whipped topping with green gel around it Starbucks
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Charcoal in drinks is really digging in as a trend

We’re reaching the end of the wildly multicolored and playful “unicorn” drink trend, so Starbucks has been trying to go darker. First it was with their Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino, and now, in Europe, they’re introducing the “Phantom Frappuccino” for Halloween. The beverage, which is vegan, is flavored with coconut, mango, spirulina, charcoal and pineapple, and includes “ghoulish lime slime.” It also looks awful, like something went wrong in the Creepy Crawlers factory.

Charcoal is making its way into everything, from cocktails to ice cream to burger buns, and possibly reinvigorating the market for portable toothbrushes so no one’s wandering around with a black mouth (though charcoal has you covered there, too). Business Insider posits that, by using “trendy” vegan ingredients like charcoal and spirulina, Starbucks is attempting to cater to a more health-conscious crowd than it does with the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But the mini version of the Phantom Frappuccino still contains 33g of sugar. Honestly, the pineapple and mango combo sounds great, but if we eat with our eyes first then that lime gel — which looks like a radioactive snot stream — will quickly repel you.

Starbucks has launched a Halloween drink in Japan, as well, with the “Halloween Red Night” Frappuccino, flavored with white chocolate brownies and a red berry sauce. Halloween, as we celebrate it now, is an American convention so it’s interesting (and hurtful?) that Starbucks is only launching these overseas. But maybe that’s just our punishment for gloBOOlism.

And in other news...

  • A look at the women making their mark on the male-dominated pizza industry. [The Salt]
  • If you love sushi but hate how the overfishing of tuna is hurting the environment, here’s how to talk to your sushi chef about your concerns. [SF Chronicle]
  • Researchers at Harvard grew meat from an edible gelatin base, made with cow and rabbit cells. [CNN]
  • Breaking Bad meth front Los Pollos Hermanos will become a virtual restaurant on Uber Eats, starting in LA and moving to other cities. It will, presumably, not be a meth front. [Hollywood Reporter]
  • Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are launching a line of frozen meals at Walmart. [Progressive Grocer]
  • Dunkin’ is taking their Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich national, after testing it in New York over the summer. [CNN Business]
  • Now you can buy all those pretty illustrations of what the food never ends up looking like from the Great British Baking Show. [The Takeout]
  • Pizza Hut is testing a round pizza box, and topping its pizza with Kellogg’s new fake meat product, Incogmeato. Just try to stop saying “incogmeato.” [CNN Business]
  • In case you need a Halloween costume: