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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Ho Ho Ho, Holiday Drinks Are Ready To Go!

Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks
The red cups available during 2022’s Red Cup Day.

Starbucks has just launched its new festive holiday drinks on Nov. 2. As a Starbucks barista myself, holiday drinks tremendously boost Starbucks’ sales and business. However, the question still lies: Are they really worth the hype?

This year, Starbucks returned some fan favorites, including the Peppermint Mocha/White Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte, the Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte and the Chestnut Praline Latte, as well as food items like the Snowman Cookie, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish and the Cranberry Bliss Bar. New additions to the holiday menu include the Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai Latte, Gingerbread Latte, the Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop and the Gingerbread Loaf.

From the customer’s perspective, I’m beyond excited for the holiday cups and overall cheer to be back. From the barista’s perspective, I’m intrigued to see which drinks are the most popular this year, as some may not live up to their name. Keep reading to see my opinion on the new items from the 2023 Starbucks Holiday Menu.

1 – Gingerbread Latte

Gingerbread Latte: Starbucks Coffee Company

I hate to say it, but I’m not a fan. Starbucks went heavy on the gingerbread items this year, and I can’t say it’s for the better. I tried both the hot and iced versions and neither were good; however, I enjoyed the hot version just a little more than the iced version. It doesn’t really have that sweet gingerbread cookie flavor I was expecting. It just tasted like there were a bunch of holiday spices mixed together into a syrup and not in a good way. As someone who loves lattes, I’m really disappointed with this one.

2 – Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai Latte

Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai Latte: Starbucks Coffee Company

On the complete other side, I love this drink. There are two versions of it, iced and hot, and are slightly different from each other. The hot version is made by pumping chai concentrate and gingerbread syrup into the bottom of the cup, adding some hot water, then steamed oat milk and topped off with pumpkin spice topping. The iced version is made by pumping chai concentrate to the bottom of the cup, adding oat milk and ice, and topping it off with an oat milk froth that has two pumps of gingerbread syrup in it. I prefer the iced version because I liked that I could actually taste the chai in the drink itself, making the gingerbread flavor very subtle as it only rests on the top. The hot version has equal amounts of gingerbread and chai flavoring in it, so the gingerbread taste overpowered the chai, in my opinion. This one was a win and so far, has been very popular at the Starbucks I work at.

3 – Gingerbread Loaf

Gingerbread Loaf: Starbucks Coffee Company

This may not surprise you, but I do not like this one. I had high hopes, but I was extremely disappointed. Once again, I was expecting a sweet taste of gingerbread, but in all honesty, I think it just tasted like plain ginger. I liked the top part of the loaf with the icing, but only because it added the sweetness I was looking for. I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the loaf, but I personally will never order this again.

4 – Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop

Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop: Starbucks Coffee Company

Out of all of the new items, this was the one I was the most upset with. Out of all the regular menu cake pops, the chocolate one is my favorite, so I was expecting a lot for the chocolate cake pop with a holiday twist. I’m sad to say I was very disappointed. I couldn’t tell if there was too much peppermint or too much brownie, but I am certain that it was way too dry. It was also very dense, making it hard to chew. It wasn’t entirely unbearable. The icing coating also had sugar sprinkles on it, creating some interesting texture. I didn’t love or hate that. Although a very cute idea, it wasn’t executed properly and I can’t say that I’ll be ordering this again.

Although I’m quite disappointed with the new holiday menu this year, I’ve always stayed true to a classic Peppermint Mocha and the Sugar Plum Cheese Danish. Lately, I’ve grown to love chai, so I will be ordering more of the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai Latte while it’s here, but I will always have the classic holiday menu items to fall back on.

I hope to see you ordering one of the holiday items, new or old, at my Starbucks, especially with Red Cup Day approaching on Nov. 16. These items will be around until mid-February, so get them while they last!

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