Getting in the holiday spirit with Starbucks

November 29, 2016 — by Esha Lakhotia and Muthu Palaniappan

Sophomores give initial thoughts on returning Starbucks' holiday drinks. 

It's that time of the year again: Christmas lights in downtown Saratoga are twinkling and the scent of fresh pine is in the air. And, of course, we can't forget the long-awaited holiday drinks and snacks that are finally back on the Starbucks menus.

From the oh-so-famous pumpkin spice latte (PSL) to the rich peppermint mocha and eggnog latte, the seasonal drinks never fail to get coffee enthusiasts in the holiday spirit.

Surprisingly, neither of us had tried any of these special drinks, so we recently went to Starbucks to sample these widely publicized drinks for the first time.

Among the seasonal drinks Starbucks offers, the PSL ranks as one of the most popular drinks, and for right reason: it tastes like a liquified pumpkin pie fused with a variety of fall spice flavors, finished off with a bit of espresso and whipped cream.

Since lattes are usually more bitter than sweet, the PSL was the perfect balance of sweetness and highlighted the different spices of nutmeg, pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger, giving the perfect fall beverage that puts us right into the holiday spirit.

We both loved the peppermint mocha as well and thought it had the perfect level of sweetness balanced with minty and dark chocolatey flavors. A nice change from the regular mocha, the peppermint mocha tasted like liquid candy canes and chocolate, while still having the subtle taste of freshly brewed espresso.

It was definitely a pleasant change from the usual Starbucks lineup and drinks that we usually get. Normally, we find ourselves getting a basic frappuccino or iced latte, all tasting simple and sugary, not giving us the enjoyment that holiday drinks bring us. However, with the new drinks, Starbucks mixed their older drinks with seasonal flavors to spice up the holidays.

Along with the new holiday menus, Starbucks introduced a limited-edition green colored cup during the presidential elections in November for a limited time to enforce a theme of unity. Even though the company had its good intentions, customers were disappointed in the new color and the lack of the holiday spirit — instead of the usual holiday designs, the cups sported drawings of different Starbucks workers.

We were surprised by the green cups; but, we didn’t mind them. For us, the company’s theme of unity also related to the purpose of the holidays: to spend time with friends and family.  

Now that the elections are over, Starbucks has brought back its signature red holiday cups, decorated with intricate drawings of Christmas lights, snowflakes and birch trees.

With Christmas nearing upon us, Starbucks’ holiday spirit takes our mind off finals and school, allowing us to enjoy the season before it ends.

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