A Definitive Ranking of Starbucks’ Holiday Offerings

By Taylor Mascetta

Whenever the month of November rolls around, I immediately prepare for a DCB Doomsday. By this time, my DCB runs dangerously low, thanks to excessive Starbucks and POD runs. I am left dependent on just my meal swipes and $3 of dining dollars, solely eating at the cafeteria and Urban Kitchen for lunch every single day. (Can we petition for Cosí to open up just a little earlier? Please?)

Nevertheless, my preservation of both my dining dollars and my own wallet ended the moment that Starbucks released their 2020 holiday lineup. The most wonderful time of the year has arrived. Naturally, for the sake of this article, I decided to try every single new drink offered at Fordham’s Starbucks location. I can feel my wallet wailing in agony already, as I deplete my savings on, quite honestly, overpriced offerings. 

(Disclaimer – this review will sadly not include two of the holiday offerings, the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and the Eggnog Latte. They are not available on Fordham’s Grubhub, so I am unsure if they are available at this location. Perhaps I will review them on another occasion.)

Peppermint Mocha

Mochas, in general, are the bane of my existence because my teammates are all obsessed with them. It’s gotten to the point where the Dunkin’ Donuts workers already know our orders as the entire Fordham cross country team storms the store after practice. I, for one, have become a mocha fan, so I was super excited to try Starbucks’ peppermint outing. 

I just have to say, this one slaps. If you’ve ever wanted to convert a piece of peppermint bark into some sort of drink, the peppermint mocha is for you. Starbucks pairs its classic espresso with creamy mocha syrup and cooling peppermint flavors, topping it with whipped cream and curled chocolate shavings. The mocha balances the sweet flavors of the mint and often bitter taste of the espresso well. It’s Christmas in a cup for coffee lovers.

Caramel Brulée Latte

The caramel brulée latte offers a much sweeter alternative to the mocha, as it’s an absolute caramel overload. This drink combines Starbucks’ signature espresso with steamed milk and caramel brulée sauce, and it is topped with even more caramel brulée chunks. 

I, personally, seriously enjoy sweet drinks, so I was a huge fan of this one. It’s a smooth, buttery option that’s perfect for those who aren’t huge fans of espresso’s bitter flavor. You can taste hints of the espresso here and there, but the caramel taste does overshadow the coffee itself. 

However, the caramel brulée latte joins an already jam-packed roster of Starbucks’ caramel options, including the normal menu’s caramel lattes, macchiatos, and even the fall’s salted caramel mocha. The caramel topping, ironically, helps this drink stand out, as it brings a more burnt, buttery taste to the table. 

Chestnut Praline Latte

The popularity of the peppermint mocha and the caramel brulée latte often overshadows the chestnut praline latte, and I will NO LONGER stand for this blasphemy. The chestnut praline latte may be one of the most underrated drinks that Starbucks offers. I will admit, I may hold some bias because A) I ordered it every single morning before my Composition class last year and B) Pralines remind me of home, and praline ice cream reigns supreme in my mind. (For those unfamiliar, a praline consists of a nut boiled in sugar, thus forming a caramelized coating.)

The chestnut praline latte incorporates Starbucks’ signature espresso with steamed milk, caramelized chestnuts, and various spices, topped off with whipped cream and spiced praline crumbs. One might think that the chestnut praline latte would taste as sweet, if not sweeter, than the caramel brulée latte, but it instead offers a more bitter taste. That being said, the chestnuts’ nuttiness elevates it and pairs well with the sweetness of the milk. For coffee fans that are unafraid of less sweetness, the chestnut praline latte is definitely the way to go. 

A Quick Remembrance for the Gingerbread Latte

I unfortunately cannot review this one because Starbucks, for some unforeseen reason, decided to remove it from the holiday menu! Me, along with millions of other Starbucks fans, will sadly never know the reason why. (At least Dunkin’ sells a gingerbread latte of their own. If only they accepted DCB…)

THE FINAL RANKING.

This was like picking a favorite child. 

3. Chestnut Praline Latte

I know, I know, I said it held a special place in my heart. However, after trying the first two, it felt a little underwhelming in comparison. Then again, I am a much bigger fan of sweeter drinks, so if you like more bitterness in your coffee, this is definitely the way to go.

2. Caramel Brulée Latte

After the first sip, I literally paused in disbelief at how good it was. It will definitely be one of my new go-tos over the holiday season. However, like I said before, it is a bit generic compared to Starbucks’ other holiday offerings.

1. Peppermint Mocha!!!

We have a winner! The peppermint mocha definitely takes the top spot for me. It just screams CHRISTMAS!!!! Additionally, it pleases everyone with either a sweet tooth or espresso addition. Who knew liquified peppermint bark would taste so amazing?

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