Fa La Latte or a fa la flop?

Ava Kleeberger, Writer

Popular coffee chains Starbucks and Caribou have rolled out their drink line for this year’s holiday season. With new drinks being brought to the menu and old favorites having their comeback, which drinks are worth a try and which ones should be left behind the counter? This list ranks every holiday drink on Starbucks and Caribou’s menu, to show whether it’s truly sleigh or not.

Coming in last place is Starbucks’ Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. The drink is made with Toasted White Chocolate syrup, shots of espresso, milk and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. This sweet concoction tastes more like melted sugar than coffee. Though similar to Starbucks’ classic White Chocolate Mocha, this drink just does not live up to its name.

Two out of the box drinks that were pushed out this year with the holiday release were Starbucks’ Irish Cream Cold Brew and Caribou’s Fa La Latte. The Irish Cream Cold Brew consists of Irish cream syrup, cold brew, Irish cream cold foam and is topped with cocoa powder. Although the name makes this drink stand out, unfortunately it is nothing new. It is strikingly similar to Starbucks’ Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, this drink lands itself at the bottom of the list. Caribou’s Fa La Latte is made with eggnog and shots of espresso, another bold choice that unfortunately does not meet expectations. The eggnog combined with the espresso makes for a generally uneventful drink. 

For something a little sweeter for this season, Starbucks’ Caramel Brulee Latte and their Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte are the perfect fit. The Caramel Brulee Latte is made using their Caramel Brulee syrup, shots of espresso, milk and is topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Though the caramel pairs well, this drink can be overly sweet, and the shots of espresso do little to tone this down. The Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte is made with Sugar Cookie syrup, shots of blonde espresso, almond milk and is topped with sprinkles. Though still extremely sweet, the flavor of the Sugar Cookie syrup helps to improve the drink immensely. Junior Chloe Ingvaldson said, “For me, my favorite was the Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte. I really like the Sugar Cookie syrup.” These two beverages are high on the list of best holiday drinks at Starbucks and Caribou.

A classic holiday flavor is peppermint. Both Caribou and Starbucks have returned this holiday season with their own take on a classic flavor. Caribou released their Ho Ho Mint Mocha, which combines melted chocolate, mint flavor, espresso shots, milk and is topped with whipped cream and crushed peppermint. Caribou’s take on the mint mocha is very sweet. The crushed peppermint, though pretty as a decoration, does not complement the drink well. Junior Kiley Knudson said, “The Ho Ho Mint Mocha was really spicy and made my eyes water. I prefer the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.” Starbucks once again came out with their Peppermint Mocha, its twentieth year being on their holiday menu. This drink combines mocha sauce, peppermint syrup, espresso shots, milk and is topped with whipped cream and chocolate curls. Starbucks uses a richer mocha for their drinks, which mixes well with the peppermint syrup. Both Starbucks and Caribou have these drinks available year round, but are available with the chocolate and peppermint toppings during the holiday season. When put head to head, Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha comes out on top.

The top two drinks released this holiday season are Starbucks’ Chestnut Praline Latte and Caribou’s Spicy Mocha. The Spicy Mocha boasts bold flavors of chipotle and ancho chile flavor, and combined with the mocha makes a perfect drink for a cold night. The Chestnut Praline Latte has a sweet and nutty flavor, another drink that pairs well with a snowy day. These drinks, which both sport new and interesting flavors, are the top contenders for this year’s holiday drinks.

That’s a wrap on this year’s holiday drink line. All these drinks and more are available at local Caribou and Starbucks locations.