With Halloween now well and truly over, the retail world is moving swiftly onto the next big event: Christmas.
Keen to wave goodbye to pumpkin spice latte season, in which Starbucks actually ran out of pumpkin spice syrup in the weeks leading up to Halloween, the coffee chain is now stocking all of the festive drinks – with three new additions to choose from.
Christmas brûlée lattes, salted caramel brownie hot chocolates and a flat white with cinnamon spice are joining old favourites on the menu.
Those who can’t stomach Christmas in early November might want to look away now, as stores have gone full-on winter wonderland with festive songs on repeat, wintery window displays and, in some cases, Christmas trees.
Big news for fans of the classic red cup (and not so great news for the planet) the retailer has released two new disposable takeaway cup designs for the first time since 1999 - one is a striped red number, while the other is green and features stars and an argyle pattern.
Regulars can now buy a reusable red cup for £1.
The retailer also seems to have taken on board concerns around the sugar content in its seasonal drinks, with three sugar-free syrups on offer: vanilla, hazelnut or caramel; and many of its seasonal drinks containing reduced amounts of sugar compared to previous years.
Old-time favourites including the eggnog latte, gingerbread latte and toffee nut latte are back in stores as of today, but we know that’s not what you came for. Without further ado here are the new kids on the block this Christmas.
The Christmas Brûlée Latte
A seasonal take on the traditional crème brûlée. Eggnog milk, which contains 11 per cent reduced sugar, is steamed with a crème brûlée sauce and mixed with fresh espresso. The drink is then topped with a sprinkle of ‘crème brûlée twinkle’.
Our Verdict: On first sip, it was hard to tell the difference between this drink and a normal Starbucks latte. A bit of detective work soon revealed that all of the syrup had sunk to the bottom and it just needed a good stir.
After stirring, the drink was pretty delicious and, yes, it actually tasted somewhat like coffee-flavoured crème brûlée. A good one for those with a sweet tooth, not so great for those who hate sugary beverages.
It was definitely our favourite of the three new drinks on offer.
Salted Caramel Brownie Hot Chocolate
The drink combines steamed milk with mocha and salted caramel sauces, and is topped with a salted caramel brownie whipped cream. It’s then finished with a blend of brownie crumbles and salted caramel brittle, and contains 16% less sugar than Starbucks’ holiday hot chocolate in 2015.
Our Verdict: This was the biggest disappointment of the three, by far. The drink wasn’t very chocolatey at all and it was watery, whereas the picture makes it look like you could stand a teaspoon up in it.
Flat White With Cinnamon Spice
Cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon spice is mixed with Starbucks’ espresso. The coffee chain has used a new cinnamon spice sugar, meaning the drink contains 13.6 per cent less sugar than standard syrups.
Our Verdict: Too. Much. Cinnamon. The coffee was overpowered by cinnamon (which, did we mention, there was tons of) and we just wanted our original flat white back. It did smell delicious, though.