Top 5 Seasonal Drinks (That are Coffee!)

Top 5 Seasonal Drinks (That are Coffee!)

by Ben Banks

Due to Ruby’s weak constitution not being able to stand caffeine in high doses, we sent our roving reporter and coffee connoisseur Ben Banks on a mission to find the best Christmas coffee out there. These were the results…

christmas coffee

 

Gingerbread Latte
Starbucks

We begin our festive coffee journey at Starbucks, with a gingerbread latte. My wait was short and sweet, which was a shame because I could not say the same thing for my little coffee. The first thing I met when I took the lid off was the whipped cream and an embarrassingly shy sprinkle of gingerbread. As I started to sip my way thought the drink, my expectations for a warm and cosy mouthful of dreamy gingerbread and coffee were quickly doused, like a fire hose crushing a house of cards. The gingerbread flavours were slightly off and tasted metallic, and sadly the coffee half of the drink did nothing to excite me either.

2/5

 

Creme Brûlée Latte
Pret A Manger

As we now move onto the fancy french cuisine part of our jingly journey, I thought Pret A Manger, the most fancy french cuisine of coffee shops, would only be fitting to sample a creme brûlée latte. The drink was small, smelled very tempting, and briefly made me feel très bourgeois just holding the thing. Little did I know how fleeting these good feelings would be.

The creme brûlée latte flavours did not remind me of a real creme brûlée. Or Christmas. Or anything. My mind became totally blank and grey, and I simply consumed the rest of it as an empty, hollow person. I was left very disappointed and not wanting more, but just wanting…better.

2/5

 

Caramelised Orange Latte
Costa

This is where things began to turn around. As I ordered my drink, I watched the master barista add a small hard orange wedge into my cup before preparing the coffee, and completing the triage with whipped cream. I’ll be honest here, I was initially very unsure what to expect with this drink. As I puckered my lips ready to take my first sip, like a nervous teenager about to kiss a crush, I was washed with the warm and seductive smell. I took a sip. Then another. Followed by another. Before I could even put pencil to paper to begin to describe my feelings, I found myself holding an empty cup in my hand. The flavours were rich, romantic, and left a sweet aftertaste have introduced sweet memories of Terry’s chocolate oranges.

4/5

 

Caramelised Almond Brittle Latte
Caffe Nero

Well that was a mouth full. I’m not sure what it is about the Christmas season but coffee shops just like to caramelise everything they can get their hands on. In the next chapter of my java journey, I swung by Caffe Nero. The festive menu was a little smaller than the other cafes – there were two hot chocolate drinks and two lattes. I asked for one Caramelised Almond Brittle Latte, and with each word came a look of surprise and confusion from the Barista – I hope I pronounced all of those words right. It was served with whipped cream and a light sprinkle of crunched up almonds. This drink had a calm, comforting and familiarly nutty flavour that made me want to cuddle it in both hands. Then maybe wrap it in a scarf and make a snowman with it. Before I could make this fantasy become reality however, I was left with an empty cup and a whipped cream moustache. If you’re a fan of a sweet, but also cosy drink, this one has your name on it.

4/5

 

Flat White with Cinnamon Sprinkles
Starbucks

We finish back where we started, at the little old global franchise Starbucks. This time however for a flat white with cinnamon sprinkles. Now, I live and breathe flat whites – I usually sink two to three a day just to feel normal (admittedly where normal is a feeling of constant agitation and poor sleep quality). So I was keen to try one sprinkled with cinnamon. I might be a bit of a festive hermit but does a sprinkle of cinnamon make something Christmassy? Who knows. This drink was small, and during the first few sips I couldn’t escape the cinnamon cloud around my throat and nose from the topping. Once I was past this asphyxiation phase though, I could enjoy the hot and spicy coffee. It leaves a sweet aftertaste that reminds me of curries. I just wish they could sell larger servings.

3/5

 

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Top Five Seasonal Drinks (That Aren’t Coffee)

Top Five Seasonal Drinks (That Aren’t Coffee)

by Ruby Martin

beverage blur candy candy cane
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

It’s officially winter now, and that means it is the season for wrapping stylish mittens around beautiful festive cups, sipping coffee and walking down the street like a true Richard Curtis-esque romantic heroine. However, if any of you are like me and cannot drink coffee to save your life/intestinal system, worry no longer. I have tasted the festive menus non-coffee options so you don’t have to!

 

5. The Gingerbread and Cream chocolate

Costa

 

Costa gets off to a good start by giving you a mini-gingerbread man which is a fun bonus, although it doesn’t seem to decide whether it wants to be crunchy or chewy, instead going for something unsatisfying in the middle. Whilst the flavour is delightful, it is much stronger than the gingerbread in the chocolate itself. Instead I notice the gingerbread in the actual drink is far subtler to the point it almost tastes orangey. It is nice however and the creamy chocolate blends quite well with it, hitting you first before the note of ginger. After a while though it did get a bit cloying and I couldn’t finish it due to it being a bit much, but overall it was enjoyable festive/

 

3/5

 

4.Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate

Costa

 

Costa definitely has to get a kudos for having so many non-coffee options, something which others lack (Starbucks in the meantime hasan abysmal ONE). This one I had on the way back from work on a particularly cold evening and it felt like the definition of a treat.

 

It is essentially a liquid milk chocolate Kinder Bueno, so if you like praline, you’ll love this. The nuttiness keeps it from being too sweet and it left no weird aftertaste as these flavoured syrups are often known to do. However I will say it is rather filling and if you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t need more than a small.

 

3.5/5

 

3.Winter Spiced Hot Chocolate

Caffe Nero

 

So this is one of two non-coffee options Caffe Nero has offered, the other being Belgian Truffle and I must admit that Winter Spiced intrigued me more due to its ambiguity. What exactly does Winter Spice consist of?  Nutmeg? Ground Mistletoe? The Taste of Your Families Disappointment?

 

Turns out, cinnamon. It’s just a sweet cinnamon hot chocolate. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The cinnamon isn’t overpowering and in fact the mild earthyness of the flavour grounds the sweetness. I will say it got more sugary as time went one so became difficult to finish but still easier than the hazelnut praline.. Also, despite being in an opaque mug and covered in whipped cream, it is for some reason glittery. Not sure why but it is just is I guess? Overall though still delightfully festive without being too much (taste-wise, visually on the other hand very secretly extra).

disappointing glitter
The disappointing glitter in case you didn’t believe me

4/5

 

2.Hot Spiced Apple

Costa

 

So this is actually an old favourite of mine which I am glad has made a return. It is essentially mulled apple juice, which I presume they left the juice off the end of the name either to charge more or so they didn’t have to legally fill some restrictions of what juice consists of. It is the first non-dairy/non-chocolate option we have been presented with, which is nice for all those lactose intolerants out there or people like me who hot chocolate makes them feel sleepy. The bonus of the juice means it is less heavy, and whilst it is pretty sweet due to its juicy nature, the spices and sharpness of the apple counteract that. It is also feels slightly more hydrating in comparison to the milkier drinks (although I am definitely not a scientist so don’t trust me in this one.)

 

The only downside is the spice mix does mean it’s slightly grainy as you get to the problem.  But at least you don’t have to worry about caffeine!

 

4.5/5

 

1.Spiced Apple Steamer

Soho Coffee

 

Whilst it has not the best name, this drink is, to put it simply, dreamy. The flavours blend beautifully together with the sweet apple being offset with the kick of the chai. It remains creamy but light thanks to the oat milk and left no weird aftertaste. It’s comforting, wintery and actually interesting.Overall this drink stood tall where others faltered, to the point that I have had this drink several times after the first tasting (including with normal milk as well where it becomes super luxurious)

 

The only downside is that if you don’t normally drink caffeine,this may take time to adjust to as this drink is still a black tea, it did give me an unexpected buzz.

 

5/5

 

Whilst I hope this helps, tastes vary so if you guys have any of your personal recommendations for your favourite festive drink, comment below or tweet us at @trashfiremag!