Ariana Grande has her own Starbucks drink now — a “Cloud Macchiato” that comes in cinnamon or caramel, hot or cold. The “cloud” component comes from Starbucks’s trademarked cold foam, which was introduced in 2014. It also comes from Grande’s Twitter account, which has more than 62 million followers, from which she tweeted the cloud emoji 98 times in 2018, including nine times in a single tweet teasing the release of her July single “God Is a Woman.”
The woman loves clouds! Clouds also feature prominently in the merch for Grande’s 2018 album Sweetener, which includes a sweatshirt with an image of a giant Ariana Grande sitting on top of the Earth and fingering a cloud.
Starbucks teased the collaboration yesterday with a tweet of two cloud emoji, one green heart emoji, and one coffee cup emoji. Grande teased the collaboration yesterday with a tweet of two cloud emoji, one coffee cup emoji, one black heart emoji, and today’s date. Grande’s fans, of course, suspected that she was creating some kind of new product with Starbucks, but couldn’t prove it. All they could do was say it in capital letters, and promise that if their suspicions turned out to be true, they would order a “grande” of the Grande drink! Very clever, and I’m happy for them that everything worked out.
This morning, Starbucks celebrated the merciful end of prolonged suspense with a tweet reading, “Introducing new Iced Cloud Macchiatos in Caramel and Cinnamon. So light and fluffy they’re basically a cloud in a cup. *Cloud foam contains egg whites.” Grande celebrated the drink’s release by tweeting a photo series in which a Starbucks barista made her a Cloud Macchiato in her home, then suggesting that her fans “try the soy version.” (Cloud foam contains egg whites.)
In the same photo series, Ariana sits on the ground in an apron and lets one of her dogs — who is wearing a $250 Tiffany dog collar — lick her on the mouth. The image she posts of the macchiato itself is, I would say, not the most flattering, and kind of makes it seem as if the drink sat on her counter for around 11 hours without her wanting more than a sip of it, which could be why Starbucks replied to the tweet by writing, “You like our cloud? Gee thanks, just made it,” a tweet that can be read both as a reference to Ariana Grande’s new song “7 Rings” and to the freshness of the pictured beverage.
It’s all so semi-professional and basically elegant! As was the Cloud Macchiato I bought at the Starbucks closest to the Staten Island Ferry this morning. The “cloud” component of the drink took up two-thirds of the cup, yet was not enough to mask the taste of burnt espresso, which is not unexpected if you’ve ever bought a drink at Starbucks, and also not that much of a problem for me personally. The Cloud Macchiato, after all, also comes with a caramel drizzle, which — if you try — you can spread in an even layer across your tongue to inoculate it from the rest of the drink.
Obviously, a busy Starbucks barista spelled my name “Katylnn,” which was its own second treat for me. (If I heeded Starbucks’s advice, I’d go by my “Cloud Name,” which is, according to the guidelines provided by Starbucks, Wispy K Stratosauce.)
Another treat: spending a morning investigating Ariana Grande’s past relationship with Starbucks, which has been tumultuous. In the summer of 2009, she tweeted, “Starbucks with grandpa. He seems excited. :]” but it was only a few months later that she reported leaving a Starbucks with a group of friends and immediately seeing a dragonfly get electrocuted and die. “:[ RIP!!” In 2011, she had a nice time at Starbucks again, thanks to an accidental run-in with the actor who played Fabrizio in Titanic. In 2012, however, she transcribed and tweeted a conversation between herself and her dad, in which they revealed that neither of them liked to drink Starbucks coffee.
Of course, that wasn’t the end. It’s never the end, until things swing back around to being glamorous and profitable for all involved, as I learned from the 1997 film Titanic, which ended with a box office gross of $2.2 billion.
“You complete me,” Grande tweeted at Starbucks in 2013, to which the brand replied, “You complete us!”
I love when brands and celebrities find each other, so that’s a treat too. Previously, Starbucks found Lady Gaga and collaborated on a “Cups of Kindness” line of drinks, upon which she commented in January 2017, “I instantly fell in love with the Matcha Lemonade.” Prior to that, Starbucks found the tea company Teavana, acquired it for $620 million, and then found Oprah and collaborated with her on a chai tea brand. That was particularly good because it was in 2014, when Oprah was not doing so well, business-wise. This is good because it capitalizes quite easily on a popular dad joke about Ariana Grande’s name and draws attention away from the odd presidential campaign of former Starbucks CEO and current “person of means” Howard Schultz.
This partnership is also related, in some way, to International Women’s Day, and as such, Ariana Grande will be featured on a Spotify playlist inspired by feminism. Ariana Grande did not like a joke that one woman on Twitter made about this, so her fans ultimately harangued the woman into apologizing.