Starbucks’ lavender drinks see inspiration from Sequim

Staff travel to local farm to “spark the creative process”

With its walkable lavender fields, multitude of products and devoted fanbase, Sequim seems synonymous with lavender.

Now, after nearly 30 years as a destination to experience the popular plant, Sequim’s influence is reaching further afield as people across the nation are getting a taste — literally — of what the area has to offer through Starbucks’ new line of lavender drinks.

The Seattle-based coffee company released three drinks nationwide on March 7: Iced Lavender Cream Oatmilk Matcha, Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte and the Lavender Crème Frappuccino Blended Beverage. They’ll be available for a limited time, while supplies last.

According to Starbucks’ website and a spokesperson, Patrick Penny, a lead beverage developer, and members of the Starbucks beverage development team traveled to Sequim last July for a “trek,” what company officials call “a special experience or outing that can help spark the creative process.”

Photo courtesy Starbucks/ Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte

Photo courtesy Starbucks/ Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte

The team spent most of their time at Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road, where they cut various stalks of lavender, smelled different varieties, learned about and participated in a lavender oil distillation and immersed themselves in the flowers to inspire potential beverage creation, a Starbucks spokesperson said.

“They also had a picnic and did some shopping, bringing home lavender-scented products like sprays and oils for inspiration,” the spokesperson said.

The varieties of lavender that resonated most with the team were Hidcote, Melissa and Tucker, particularly for their aromas, with Penny noting that he was partial to Provence as he’d previously traveled to the Provence region in France, and it brought back nice memories.

The team used the trip as inspiration to help develop the lavender beverages and a proprietary lavender powder that “let lavender’s subtle sweetness and floral notes shine,” a spokesperson said.

Penny said “it was so cool to take that experience in the lavender field and turn it into different Starbucks beverages that I hope both our partners and customers will love.”

A lavender drink has been a popular request for years at Starbucks stores, the spokesperson said, and the original Starbucks in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and other nearby stores started serving a latte in 2023 with a lavender honey syrup created by employees.

When told about the development team’s visit to their farm, owners of Lavender Connection said, “We’re beyond delighted that Starbucks visited our farm, and tickled purple that our lavender helped inspire their creativity.”

Photo courtesy Starbucks/ Iced Lavender Cream Oatmilk Matcha

Photo courtesy Starbucks/ Iced Lavender Cream Oatmilk Matcha

More about the drinks

Starbucks’ website states the Iced Lavender Cream Oatmilk Matcha features matcha and oatmilk served over ice, with lavender cream cold foam. The foam can be ordered for any drink, staff said.

The Iced Lavender Oatmilk Latte, which can also be ordered hot, combines blonde espresso with oatmilk, ice, and sweet and subtle floral notes of lavender.

The Lavender Crème Frappuccino Blended Beverage blends lavender and vanilla syrup with milk and ice, and is topped with whipped cream. It’s also caffeine-free.

Staff said the lavender “beverages perfectly complement a variety of Starbucks bakery items, including the Vanilla Bean Custard Danish, Petite Vanilla Bean Scone, Marshmallow Dream Bar and Iced Lemon Loaf, as the vanilla helps to make the lavender taste sweeter and brighter, while the lemon loaf brings new dimensions to both the matcha and the blonde espresso through intrinsic citrus notes that add another layer of spring flavor.”

Sequim has two Starbucks locations: 1095 W. Washington St., and inside Safeway, 680F W. Washington St.

Photo courtesy Reddog Coffee
Lavender-inspired drinks abound at local coffee stands, such as Reddog Coffee.

Photo courtesy Reddog Coffee Lavender-inspired drinks abound at local coffee stands, such as Reddog Coffee.

Local lavender

Sequim began its venture into agritourism in the late 1990s.

Its first lavender farms hosted the Sequim Lavender Festival on Aug. 2, 1997. That’s grown to an annual weekend event on the third weekend every July, which now encompasses many events including the festival under the Sequim Lavender Weekend banner.

Many lavender farms are open throughout the summer or longer, and make sales year-round.

Lavender drinks have been around since the festival’s start, said Kyla Becker, owner of Reddog Coffee, 521 S Sequim Ave.

She said when she owned Hurricane Coffee Co., she and staff steeped lavender tea to draw some flavor and then pour that into ice teas, lattes and mochas.

“The lavender industry has come a long way,” Becker said. “There are several companies that make excellent lavender syrup. Most of them have vanilla and/or honey flavors added to make the lavender taste amazing.”

Now her Reddog Coffee features energy spritzers and several drinks with lavender offered year-round. Bottles of lavender syrup are also available for sale, she said.

Staff at Hurricane Coffee Co., 104 W Washington St., said they serve a Honey Lavender Latte all year.

“It’s a very balanced drink pairing it with honey,” staffers said. “It’s not only a local favorite, but one of our best sellers on our menu.”

Photo courtesy Adagio Bean and Leaf/ Lavender mimosas are one of many lavender-inspired drinks available at Adagio Bean and Leaf and Sunshine Cafe.

Photo courtesy Adagio Bean and Leaf/ Lavender mimosas are one of many lavender-inspired drinks available at Adagio Bean and Leaf and Sunshine Cafe.

Kyla Washburn, co-owner of Adagio Bean and Leaf, 981 E Washington St., and Sunshine Cafe, 145 W. Washington St., offers several lavender drinks.

“All of our drinks have just the right touch of lavender so you get the delicious flavor without feeling like you took a bite of the flower,” she said. “The girls do a great job!”

Lavender drinks are extremely popular in July but requests start to come in “the second that sunshine hits in Sequim,” Washburn said.

At Adagio, their signature lavender drinks available all year, include: Bee’s Knees (honey lavender latte), Sequim Brew (brown sugar lavender cold brew), Lavender Cloud (iced white mocha with lavender cold foam), Lavender Strawberry Sparkler (strawberry and lavender, Sprite and Pink Lotus), Flower Chai (lavender vanilla chai), Lavender Bolt (lavender, grapefruit, pomegranate Red Bull), and Lavender Cream (lavender shake mix blended).

Both Adagio and Sunshine Cafe also offer lavender teas, lemonades and mimosas, along with a few of the drinks mentioned above. All are available in-person or to go.

Check with other local coffee stands and restaurants about their lavender offerings.