Fall and winter mean the return of many holiday-only favorites to your favorite coffee shop or bakery. Starbucks seasonal drinks are naturally a big part of this for many; if you are looking forward to trying the drinks on our list it might pay to get there early and order a venti!
Starbucks Fall Favorites
Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato is heavier on the espresso taste but the fall flavors are prevalent here and the oat milk adds a unique spin you are sure to enjoy. This one is a fun alternative for those who don’t really share the love of all things pumpkin spice but still enjoy fall flavors.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte by comparison has a smoother taste and is more milk-forward than a macchiato. If you love the taste of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and of course, pumpkin, but aren’t a fan of bold coffee flavors, this drink is for you.
A Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has been a favorite among some since it debuted in 2019. This drink can be tricky–some don’t realize that drinking from a straw typically delivers a strong taste of cold brew. Instead, try sipping this one without using a straw and see how different your experience is–you may be surprised!
Caramel Apple Spice is not a coffee drink–this one is made with apple juice, cinnamon syrup, and caramel sauce. If you aren’t a coffee fan, you might try this one as a great alternative made even better with a shot of whipped cream on top. But this isn’t the only non-coffee fall alternative you can try.
The Chai Tea Latte is a bolder option than Caramel Apple Spice, but is still coffee-free. Chai is a classic any time of year but the spices in this drink are squarely in the fall flavors category for many. Chai is made with black tea, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. Those who want an extra kick order a Dirty Chai, which is chai with a shot or two of espresso added. It’s a great flavor combination but some need a moment to get used to it.
Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte combines brown sugar and cinnamon to create a latte with a perkier flavor thanks to the cinnamon dolce syrup and you can add another fun little kick to this drink with a little nutmeg over the top.
The Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino is cold, yes. But if you’re the type that doesn’t mind a cold drink on a cold day, the fall flavors are strong with this one and it’s an indulgence you can try in the interest of promoting the holidays–it doesn’t count when you’re celebrating, right? That said, If you want to make this a bit less of an indulgence try asking for a light version of this made with nonfat milk, no whipped cream, and a “light” syrup.
Starbucks Winter Favorites
In wintertime, the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha is an all-time classic. Whether it’s the candy cane mint, or the bite of the chocolate combined with coffee, you really can’t miss with this hot seasonal drink. Those who have never had one before might expect a coffee-forward experience but this really is more like dessert in a coffee cup. Highly recommended even for those who claim to hate coffee.
If peppermint isn’t your thing, you might try the Salted Caramel Mocha Latte, which pairs well with certain desserts. This drink sounds as sweet as the Peppermint Mocha, but some find it more savory. And if you try one of these but find it a bit TOO mellow, try adding an extra shot of espresso. Yes, you might feel a bit zingy at first but that extra kick really makes this latte shine.
It would NOT be a winter holiday favorites list without including the Starbucks Eggnog Latte, which does not shy away from the cream and nutmeg to balance out the sweet eggnog flavor. There is no alcohol in this popular favorite (as served at Starbucks) so you don’t have to worry about anything but what size to order this one in.
But not everyone is into the taste of eggnog, and for many of those people the tried-and-true Starbucks Gingerbread Latte is a great alternative. It’s made with a gingerbread syrup and some ground nutmeg as a garnish, and it pairs well with Starbucks cookies (some swear by the ginger-molasses variety as the best pairing with a Gingerbread latte.
The Toasted White Chocolate Mocha is another dessert-in-cup drink that might work best if you crave a sugar rush from a treat that looks a bit like Christmas. The white chocolate might be a bit overpoweringly rich if not for the bright, clean peppermint flavor that enhances this drink. There is something about chocolate and espresso, and even more so with white chocolate.
Irish Cream Cold Brew has that distinct flavor of cold brewed coffee–and the caffeine punch that goes with it. If you aren’t familiar with cold brew coffee, you could do a lot worse than trying this variety, but expect a very coffee-forward flavor tinged with a bit of sweetness from both the Irish Cream and the brew itself. Some vanilla and a bit of cocoa perk this up nicely for those who want some extra holiday cheer in their cup.
Steamed milk, a double shot of espresso, plus almond milk and sugar cookie syrup and you have a Starbucks Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. Get this one hot or iced, either way you get a fun and unique winter drink you might not be able to replicate at home so easily unless you find a supply of sugar cookie syrup!
The Caramel Brulee Latte is another drink made with a unique seasonal syrup. Lattes in general are less centered on coffee flavors and more about the overall blend of tastes. In this one you get the espresso flavor mixed with a unique Crème Brulee type sauce that some add whipped cream and even more caramel to for a far more decadent drink. As you might guess, part of the appeal of some of these seasonal drinks is the idea that it’s NOT something you can easily duplicate at home…and naturally there may be a good pairing to be had from the pastry case. And speaking of unique flavors…
The Chestnut Praline Latte has a unique chestnut flavor that may not be for everyone, but those who like it tend to LOVE it. The flavor profile of this drink includes caramelized chestnuts but also cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. American kids today might not be inclined to roast chestnuts over an open fire the way the old holiday song encourages us to, but the drink might give you an idea of what all the fuss was about roasting those chestnuts in Christmas holidays of decades past.
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Joe Wallace has been covering real estate, mortgage and financial topics since 1995. His work has appeared on ABC, The Pentagon Channel, Veteran.com plus a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.