11 Unexpected Starbucks Menu Items From Around the World


Although Starbucks is a Seattle-based coffee chain in the United States, it’s grown globally since it opened its first stores outside of North America in Japan in 1996. With more than 23,000 locations all over the world, Starbucks has to cater to local and cultural tastes overseas. Here are 11 bizarre international Starbucks menu items from around the world.


Starbucks Australia serves up traditional Aussie Beef Pie made with a savory pie crust and quality minced beef. It also comes with tomato sauce for dipping. The coffee chain also offers Yo-Yo Biscuits, which are shortbread cookies with a butter vanilla cream filling and powdered sugar. 


The Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino is one of the most popular blended drinks at Starbucks in China and Pacific Asia locations. It’s basically a Green Tea Frappuccino with sweetened whole red beans scooped on top. Starbucks has featured the Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino every summer since 2012, and it can even be paired with a matching muffin.


The Red Bean Cream Frappuccino is a seasonal blended drink available at Starbucks in South Korea. It’s made from sweetened condensed milk and Starbucks Frappuccino Roast blended together with ice. The beverage is later topped off with crunchy granola and red bean paste.


You can get breakfast with an “American twist” at Starbucks in the United Kingdom. The coffee chain offers two lightly toasted buttermilk pancakes served with your choice of very berry compote or maple honey sauce toppings. Interestingly, Starbucks in the U.S. doesn’t serve pancakes at all. So much for that American twist.


While most other green teas from around the world are simply steamed, hojicha is a Japanese green tea that is roasted over charcoal in a porcelain pot. This process gives hojicha its unique color and toasty, creamy taste. Hojicha is poured over Earl Grey tea jelly and blended together with Frappuccino Roast, milk, and ice. Introduced as a seasonal blended beverage in 2012, Hojicha Frappuccino with Earl Grey Jelly is only available at Starbucks in Japan, along with the Chocolate Brownie Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino and Tiramisu Frappuccino.


Starbucks Hong Kong offers grilled pineapple and chicken breast with Teriyaki sauce, mozzarella cheese, and caramelized onions served on Turkish bread.


The Maple Macchiato is made with steamed milk, sweet vanilla syrup, and espresso. It’s topped with a criss-cross drizzle of "real Canadian Maple Syrup found from the Beauce-Appalache region of Quebec." It’s only available at Starbucks in Canada, but some people from the U.S. are willing to make the trip up North for the Maple Macchiato.


Starbucks Argentina blends Dulce de Leche sauce and Frappuccino Roast with chocolate chips, milk, and ice to make a Granizado, which is a treat similar to a snow cone. It’s then topped with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle.


Wake up to a portobello and shiitake mushroom breakfast sandwich at Starbucks in the Philippines. It’s served on a vegan multigrain roll, but also includes emmental cheese, which is confusing and definitely not vegan. Starbucks Philippines also offers a Spam, jalapeño, egg, and cheddar breakfast sandwich served on a rye roll or bagel.


Introduced to Starbucks Peru in 2011, the Algarrobina Frappuccino features chocolate chips, Frappuccino Roast, Mocha, milk, ice, and algarrobina syrup, which is a local delicacy made from prosopis nigra or black carob tree. It’s an acquired taste that is described as bitter instead of sweet.


Nobody really likes fruitcake in the West, but it’s a very popular treat in the East. During the holiday season, Starbucks rolls out the Christmas Panettone Latte in various countries in the South Pacific, such as New Zealand, Singapore, China, and the Philippines. Inspired by traditional Italian fruitcake, Christmas Panettone Latte combines notes of Italian Christmas sauce with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and mixed dried apples, oranges, and cranberries. It’s described as having bread and butter flavors mixed with coffee.

The Science Behind Brining Your Thanksgiving Turkey


At many Thanksgiving tables, the annual roast turkey is just a vehicle for buttery mash and creamy gravy. But for those who prefer their bird be a main course that can stand on its own without accoutrements, brining is an essential prep step—despite the fact that it requires finding enough room in the fridges to immerse a 20-pound animal in gallons of salt water for days on end. To legions of brining believers, the resulting moist bird is worth the trouble.

How, exactly, does a salty soak yield juicy meat? And what about all the claims from a contingency of dry brine enthusiasts: Will merely rubbing your bird with salt give better results than a wet plunge? For a look at the science behind each process, we tracked down a couple of experts.

First, it's helpful to know why a cooked turkey might turn out dry to begin with. As David Yanisko, a culinary arts professor at the State University of New York at Cobleskill, tells Mental Floss, "Meat is basically made of bundles of muscle fibers wrapped in more muscle fibers. As they cook, they squeeze together and force moisture out," as if you were wringing a wet sock. Hence the incredibly simple equation: less moisture means more dryness. And since the converse is also true, this is where brining comes in.

Your basic brine consists of salt dissolved in water. How much salt doesn't much matter for the moistening process; its quantity only makes your meat and drippings more or less salty. When you immerse your turkey in brine—Ryan Cox, an animal science professor at the University of Minnesota, quaintly calls it a "pickling cover"—you start a process called diffusion. In diffusion, salt moves from the place of its highest concentration to the place where it's less concentrated: from the brine into the turkey.

Salt is an ionic compound—its sodium molecules have a positive charge and its chloride molecules have a negative charge, but they stick together anyway. As the brine penetrates the bird, those salt molecules meet both positively and negatively charged protein molecules in the meat, causing the meat proteins to scatter. Their rearrangement "makes more space between the muscle fibers," Cox tells Mental Floss. "That gives us a broader, more open sponge for water to move into."

The salt also dissolves some of the proteins, which, according to the book Cook's Science by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, creates "a gel that can hold onto even more water." Juiciness, here we come!

There's a catch, though. Brined turkey may be moist, but it can also taste bland—infusing it with salt water is still introducing, well, water, which is a serious flavor diluter. This is where we cue the dry briners. They claim that using salt without water both adds moisture and enhances flavor: win-win.

Turkey being prepared to cook.

In dry brining, you rub the surface of the turkey with salt and let it sit in a cold place for a few days. Some salt penetrates the meat as it sits—with both dry and wet brining, Cox says this happens at a rate of about 1 inch per week. But in this process, the salt is effective mostly because of osmosis, and that magic occurs in the oven.

"As the turkey cooks, the [contracting] proteins force the liquid out—what would normally be your pan drippings," Yanisko says. The liquid mixes with the salt, both get absorbed or reabsorbed into the turkey and, just as with wet brining, the salt disperses the proteins to make more room for the liquid. Only this time the liquid is meat juices instead of water. Moistness and flavor ensue.

Still, Yanisko admits that he personally sticks with wet brining—"It’s tradition!" His recommended ratio of 1-1/2 cups of kosher salt (which has no added iodine to gunk up the taste) to 1 gallon of water gives off pan drippings too salty for gravy, though, so he makes that separately. Cox also prefers wet brining, but he supplements it with the advanced, expert's addition of injecting some of the solution right into the turkey for what he calls "good dispersal." He likes to use 1-1/2 percent of salt per weight of the bird (the ratio of salt to water doesn't matter), which he says won't overpower the delicate turkey flavor.

Both pros also say tossing some sugar into your brine can help balance flavors—but don't bother with other spices. "Salt and sugar are water soluble," Cox says. "Things like pepper are fat soluble so they won't dissolve in water," meaning their taste will be lost.

But no matter which bird or what method you choose, make sure you don't roast past an internal temperature of 165˚F. Because no brine can save an overcooked turkey.

This piece originally ran in 2017.

5 Holiday Foods That Are Dangerous to Pets


One of the best parts of the holiday season is the menu of indulgent food and drinks that comes along with it. But while you enjoy that cup of spiked hot cocoa, you’ve got to be careful your dog or cat doesn’t nab a lick. Here are five holiday treats that are dangerous for your pets, according to Vetstreet.


Any coffee lover will agree that there’s nothing quite like an after-dinner cup of joe on a cold night. But pups, kitties, and other pets will have to sit this tradition out. Caffeine can prompt seizures and abnormal heart rhythms in pets, and can sometimes be fatal. Other caffeinated drinks, such as soda or tea, should also be kept away from your four-legged family members.


We know the threat that bread dough poses to the appearance of our thighs, but it’s much more dangerous to our furry little friends. Holiday bakers have to be careful of unbaked bread dough as it can expand in animal stomachs if ingested. In some dogs, the stomach can twist and cut off the blood supply, in which case the pup would need emergency surgery.


Cat and dog in Santa hats chowing down on plates of food

A little chocolate never hurt anybody, right? Wrong. The sweet treat can cause seizures and even be fatal to our pets. Darker chocolate, such as the baker’s chocolate we love to put in our holiday cookies, is more toxic to our pets than milk or white chocolate. The toxic ingredients include caffeine and theobromine, a chemical found in the cacao plant.


Macadamia nuts, which are a common ingredient in holiday cookies and often put out to munch on as an appetizer, can be toxic to dogs. While poisoning might not always be easy to detect in a pet, clinical warning signs include depression, weakness, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness, and lack of coordination.


Think back to when you first started drinking and how much less alcohol it took to get you tipsy, because you likely weighed less than you do now. Well, your pet probably weighs a lot less than you did, even back then, meaning it takes much less alcohol to make them dangerously sick. Keep those wine glasses far out of reach of your pets in order to avoid any issues. Well, maybe not any issue: We can’t promise that this will stop you from getting embarrassingly drunk at a holiday party this year.