Signaling the start of the holiday season, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts began revealing new, festive beverages for their winter menus in late fall.
“My favorite holiday drink is the Caramel Brûlée from Starbucks because it tastes special,” said junior Karina Castillo, a regular Starbucks customer. “It tastes like gingerbread cookies and makes me feel the warmth of the holidays.”
Starbucks now offers the Chestnut Praline Latte, its first new holiday drink in five years.
According to starbucks.com, the new drink is a blend of fresh espresso and flavors of caramelized chestnuts with freshly steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and spiced praline crumbs.
“I like the Chestnut Praline latte because I love the smell of roasted nuts and enjoy the sweet praline crumbs, which really enhance the taste,” said Castillo.
The Chestnut Praline Latte, which is intended to combine nutty chestnut flavor with brown sugar and spice, was tested in a few U.S. markets last year and became available at stores in the U.S. and Canada Nov. 12.
Just as their Pumpkin Spice Latte contains no actual pumpkin, there are no pralines (sugar-coated pecans) or chestnuts of any kinds in the new Chestnut Praline Latte. Starbucks aims to satisfy more customers by allowing those with nut allergies to enjoy the drink without any health risks.
“The Chestnut Praline Latte tastes like a sickly sweet liquefied gingerbread cookie,” said junior Nicolas Lopez, another regular Starbucks customer. “Those with a sweet-tooth would enjoy it.”
Like all Starbucks espresso beverages, the Chestnut Praline Latte can be customized and is available hot or cold. According to starbucks.com, the grande Chestnut Praline Latte contains 330 calories, which is about 50 calories less than the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
The latte joins returning favorites such as the Peppermint Mocha, the Gingerbread Latte and the Caramel Brûlée Latte.
Dunkin’ Donuts also unveiled two new holiday beverages, the Snickerdoodle Cookie Latte and the Sugar Cookie Latte. Returning are the Peppermint Mocha coffees and lattes, which combine cool peppermint flavor with rich chocolate.
“The Sugar Cookie Latte was tasty and went well with [Dunkin’ Donuts’] glazed donuts, but it didn’t really give me the sugar cookie flavor I was looking for,” said Tan Lu, senior.
Dunkin’s two new cookie-flavored drinks are meant to evoke feelings of warmth, comfort and nostalgia people associate with this season, according to Jeff Miller, Dunkin’ Brands’ Executive Chef and Vice President of Product Innovation.
The Sugar Cookie Latte imitates the taste of traditional frosted cookies and is topped with red and green sugar. The Snickerdoodle Cookie Latte mixes sugary sweetness with cinnamon spice and is topped with real cinnamon.
Starbuck’s 16 fl. oz., or grande, Chestnut Praline Latte is $3.95, while equally sized versions of the Sugar Cookie Latte and Snickerdoodle Latte cost $2.79.
Both flavors are available in hot or iced coffees and lattes throughout the holiday season at select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants. The nearest Dunkin’ Donuts opened in September at 9070 Firestone Boulevard in Downey, and at 14215 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, on Dec. 9.
According to statista.com, Starbucks is the biggest coffee chain worldwide, with 19,767 stores worldwide in 2013; Dunkin’ Donuts is the second largest, with 10,858 stores worldwide.
The owners of Dunkin’ Donuts stores are hoping that the success of last year’s holiday drinks, the Red Velvet Latte and the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, will be repeated this year. The owners of Starbucks stores hope their new Chestnut Praline Latte can prove as popular and lucrative as their fall Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Limited edition holiday drinks have become a festive tradition at various coffee shops; with new beverages from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, the trend continues to spread winter joy.