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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Have a cup of cheer

Starbucks holiday drink menu review
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Mattie Baker
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It’s that time of the year when spirits rise and temperatures drop. When piles of fallen leaves turn to piles of fallen snow and no jacket seems to be warm enough to make up for the change. It’s the kind of weather that calls for a hot drink, but what kind? With the release of Starbucks’ holiday drink menu on Nov. 2, there came a new array of options to choose from and therefore a steady brewing of indecision. 

So, while people were putting up their Christmas lights and decorating their trees, I tried each of the seasonal drinks and gave them a review. Like the sad, caffeine addict I am. 

Peppermint Mocha

8/10

It’s a winter staple, but is it too overbearing of a classic? I got this one iced, and of course, it was good, it is practically Starbucks’ signature holiday drink after all. The rich cocoa, slightly acidic coffee and that pure peppermint flavor we all know go so well together, especially with the niche whipped cream topping. Still, I can only give it an 8/10 because yes, those flavors go well together, but everyone knows that. Chocolate and peppermint are two of the most popular flavor combinations, and even more so around this time of year, so when stacked up to the other drinks just like it, it fails to stand out to me. 

White Peppermint Mocha

9/10

The much less popular sibling of the peppermint mocha, the white peppermint mocha, stood out to me as something a little bit unique. I got it hot, which I don’t normally do, but I’m so glad I did. While I’m sure it would still be good iced, the heat goes with the flavors so well that I’m just not sure it’d be the same cold. The peppermint is nearly brutally present due to the absence of the original mocha, so you’d better like peppermint. But the white chocolate flavor is still there, in the background, adding that little bit of holiday sweetness. Now, did this drink make me feel sick? Yes. Was it worth it? Also yes. End of discussion. 

Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai Tea Latte

6/10

I liked it, though it came nowhere close to its predecessor, the Pumpkin Creme Chai. I have to give it credit: it was gingerbread. Much like with the White Peppermint Mocha, this drink takes its holiday flavor very seriously. So, beware: if you’re not a fan of gingerbread don’t get it. Honestly, even if you’re not quite sure if you like gingerbread or not, don’t get it. Because when I say it’s gingerbread, it is gingerbread. And that flavor is only amplified by the spiced chai it comes in. All I’m saying is to be prepared for an intense, seasonal experience.

Caramel Brulee Latte

10/10

This was my absolute favorite. There is nothing wrong with this drink; it is perfect in every way. I’ve only gotten this iced, but I can pretty much guarantee that it would be just as good (if not better) hot. That being said, I’ve always had a passion for caramel. Still, the flavor is amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone. There is just something so magical about this drink, something that really separates it from a regular caramel latte or macchiato. Possibly the brulee flavor, the whipped cream and the caramel brulee pieces that come on top. Or maybe it’s just made with pure holiday magic (I’d believe it.) 

Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

8/10

I’ll be honest, by itself it’s probably more of a 6/10, but if you pair it with sugar cookie cold foam, I promise those two extra stars will appear. The almond milk goes so naturally with the cookie flavor that I couldn’t even taste it. Plus, the drink comes with sprinkles on top, and how could anyone say no to that level of holiday cheer?

Chestnut Praline Latte

7/10 (when iced)
4/10 (when hot)

The first time I got this drink, I got it iced, and I had no idea what praline meant. But whatever it was, I liked it. It was vaguely caramel-like, but obviously with notes of chestnut and other spices. Having all of these flavors together in one cup was something out of the ordinary, which I appreciated. Yet when I got it hot, most of those flavors seemed to disappear. All that was left was the chestnuts, which I realize is the whole point, but it was still disappointing. It was dull, bland and ordinary compared to its iced counterpart. So much so, that I threw it out before I finished it. 

Overall, this holiday lineup is one of the best I’ve seen from any sort of cafe. Not all of the drinks were my favorite, but I appreciate the interesting and bold combinations. They ranged from averagely sweet to very and were incredibly flavorful (excluding the hot chestnut praline latte). Even if I ended up being disappointed on occasion, I was excited to try them all, and I have to applaud them for that. 

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About the Contributor
Mattie Baker
Mattie Baker, Reporter
My name is Mattie Baker, and this is my first year on staff! I've always loved reading and writing. My goal this year is to write a complete book. My dream job, at the moment, is to work at Barnes & Nobles and drink Starbucks on the daily. I'm obsessed with action movies like "Bullet Train," "John Wick" and "James Bond." I also have a passion for art. I've been taking extra art classes for over 10 years! Later in my life, I hope to be a storyboard artist and author.

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