Student Perspectives on the 2023 Starbucks Christmas Drinks


Image Courtesy of Starbucks

By Anthony Curioso

This is an independently submitted op-ed for our Quill section. Views and statements made in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  The Tower.

Starbucks has never seemed to wane in popularity among CUA students. 

Since Starbucks launched its 2023 Christmas drinks on Nov. 2, I have heard many people talk about their love for these drinks. Some of this year’s Christmas beverages are relatively new to the Starbucks Holiday lineup, while others have become cult classics worldwide. Here is a brief overview of this year’s Starbucks holiday drinks and what I  and/or some fellow CUA students think of each beverage.

Gingerbread Oat Milk Chai Latte

This one is new to the Starbucks Christmas lineup for 2023, and it is a personal favorite this year. I love gingerbread cookies partly from the nostalgia I get eating them. The hot version of the Gingerbread Oat Milk Chai tastes exactly like what would happen if you were to take the flavor of gingerbread cookies and put it into liquid form. My rating of this drink is a ten out of ten.

Junior Theology and Philosophy Pre-Law double-major Andrea Suarez said, “While the Gingerbread Oat Milk Chai Latte meets my expectations, the iced version of this drink does not have as noticeable of a gingerbread flavor as I was hoping for. I would probably rate this drink at around an eight out of ten.” [Emphasis mine]

Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

I had high hopes for this three-year veteran of the Starbucks holiday menu and looked forward to getting it again because I loved it last year. However, for some reason, it was so bland this year that I could not bear to finish it. My rating of this drink is a three out of ten.

Freshman Politics and Theology double-major Clare Cey commented, “As someone with a dairy allergy, I like that this drink is dairy-free by default. It’s creamy and sweet, and I feel like I’m getting a warm, buttery [sic] hug. I would give the Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte a rating of eight out of ten.” [Emphasis mine]

Chestnut Praline Latte

I enjoyed this drink last year, and that feeling continued this year. The Chestnut Praline Latte is an excellent choice for people who dislike overwhelmingly sweet coffee. The flavor reminds me of Nutella, which is a highlight. My rating of this drink is seven out of ten.

Caramel Brulée Latte

I am always pleased with the flavor of this drink when I get it, and this year is no different. The hot version of the Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte is just as good as the iced version; as such, I give it a rating of nine out of ten.

Suarez remarked, “While the standard iced Caramel Brulee Latte does taste good, I had to remove the whipped cream to be the most satisfied with this drink. I would probably give the Caramel Brulee Latte a nine out of ten rating.” [Emphasis mine]

Gingerbread Latte (Made with espresso)

I have little to say regarding the espresso-based Gingerbread Latte because I love it for the same reasons I love the Gingerbread Oat Milk Chai Latte I discussed earlier in this article. I rate the espresso-based Gingerbread Latte nine out of ten.

Peppermint Mocha

The Peppermint Mocha celebrated its twentieth anniversary during the Christmas drink season in 2022. I have never cared for the smell or taste of mint, so I do not wish to try the Peppermint Mocha; thus, I asked some of my friends for their opinions.

Sophomore Criminology major Madeline Haverback said, “The first few sips of the Peppermint Mocha are delicious. Over time, though, the chocolate curls tend to sink to the bottom, which makes it disgusting. Also, for some reason, the Peppermint Mocha tends to get colder, faster than other hot drinks do. For me, it gets about an eight out of ten.” [Emphasis mine]

Sophomore Criminology major Brooke Stromberg and sophomore Philosophy and Marketing double-major William Schroeder also had glowing reviews of the Peppermint Mocha. 

“I believe that holiday drinks are better hot, and the Peppermint Mocha has a perfect flavor balance,” Stromberg said. “I don’t mind the chocolate curls sinking to the bottom as much as other people might. For me, the drink gets a perfect ten out of ten.” [Emphasis mine]

Schroeder added, “The Peppermint Mocha is the perfect way to launch into the Christmas season. I would easily rate it nine out of ten.”[Emphasis mine]

Overall, most of the drinks on Starbucks’ 2023 Christmas menu seem well-received. For people ordering a Starbucks Christmas beverage for the first time this year who prefer sweet drinks, I recommend starting with the Caramel Brulee Latte. I recommend the Chestnut Praline Latte if you choose to have more of the coffee flavor. Finally, I recommend the Gingerbread Oat Milk Chai Latte for those who don’t like coffee but want to try something from the Starbucks Christmas menu.

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