Seasonal twist on drinks


Photo by Ashna Paul

Starbucks brings in holiday spirit with its beverages.

Like the cheerful melody of Christmas carols, seasonal beverages are another foolproof indicator of the upcoming holiday season. As an obligatory nod to the tradition of Starbucks holiday drinks (Pumpkin Spice Lattes, anyone?), I partook in a rather bland sampling of three seasonal coffees.

The Chestnut Praline Latte features a smattering of pralines, or sugared nuts, that sit atop whipped cream. The deep chestnut espresso itself is a mixture of spices, caramel-chestnut syrup, and steamed milk. According to Starbucks, the latte is supposedly reminiscent of cobblestoned European streets packed with roasted chestnut carts. Personally, I think this is a bit of a stretch: while the latte is unusually dark and roasty for a flavored Starbucks drink, there isn’t anything that sets the latte above the coffee found at other mainstream stores.  

Introduced seven years ago, the Caramel Brulee Latte is an espresso inspired by the burnt-caramel French dessert. It contains steamed milk, whipped cream and vanilla syrup. Flakes of caramel brulee topping are sprinkled onto the drink. This latte is definitely sweeter than its counterpart as it possesses more of the usual, achingly-sweet taste that is so ubiquitous to Starbucks. The caramel blends in well with the espresso, but the “brulee” aspect of the drink was hardly pronounced. However, its sugary flavor is sure to appeal to people with a sweet tooth.

Unlike the two former drinks, this Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino is suited for warmer winter days; it incorporates a frappuccino base with mocha-peppermint syrup along with whipped cream and slivers of dark chocolate. Its sister drink, the Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino, is also a seasonal offering. Despite its mouth-watering appearance, it was the most disappointing of the bunch. The frappuccino tasted like a iced version of a cheap peppermint ice cream sold at the local drugstore.

Overall, the drinks are of the typical sort found in Starbucks: sweet and standard. Perhaps a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Toffee Nut Latte will suffice for the holidays.