Philippa Baker samples some of the festive drinks from Costa and Starbucks, to showcase what each organisation has to offer
With the German Christmas market underway, there can be no denial that the festive season is fast approaching. If you haven’t felt the festivity, then Costa and Starbucks winter drinks are sure to spark the Christmas spirit in you. In this seasonal showdown, I compare their new festive menus to help you decide where to have the best festive treat. So, Costa or Starbucks, coffee-lover or hot-chocolate-indulger, there are plenty of Christmas options whichever side you choose.
Resurrecting the 1986 classic, the Eggnog Latte (small £3.15) from Starbucks receives a little extra nutmeg to its signature style, guaranteeing more flavour than before.
Fancy something different? Starbuck’s Latte with Turmeric (small £3.15) offers a spicy kick which is guaranteed to bring a little heat to the cooler climate.
If you would prefer to keep it simple but still festive then Costa’s Honeycomb Latte (small £3.30) is ideal with its infusion of honeycomb syrup swirled into a creamy coffee.
For coffee lovers with a stronger palette then Costa’s Salted Caramel Cappuccino (small £2.85) is exactly what it says, frothy, sweet and bursting with coffee flavour.
No seasonal battle would be without the Gingerbread Latte. The festive competition is on, with Starbucks infusing their latte with gingerbread syrup, decorating it with gingerbread whipped cream and accompanied by a wafer (£3.15).
Not content with a wafer? Costa may have upstaged Starbucks in this classic Christmas beverage, adding a sprinkling of berry crumb to the top of the cream and a mini gingerbread man (small £3.30).
If the trimmings and coffee craze isn’t a tempting treat, then Costa’s Hot Spiced Apple (small £2.30) or Starbucks Festive Cold Brew (£3.15) keep things simple. Providing a symphony of traditional and festive aromatic infusions, these are drinks full of comforting and soothing notes without the fuss.
Winter is for indulgence so if you are a hot chocolate lover then Costa provides four variants of the milky-classic. Inspired by Black Forest Gateau, the Black Forest Hot Chocolate (small £3.35) is fused with cheery syrup, trimmed cherry sauce and black forest chocolate sprinkles, or alternatively opt for it as a Frostino for a cooler experience (medium only £3.80). If that sounds too sweet choose the Mini Hot Chocolate (small £3.35) which has a slight twist of mint.
For some winter luxury and irresistible indulgence, Costa’s Lindt Hot Chocolate (small only £3.35) is pure heaven. Don’t let the size put you off. It comes in one size (small), but provides the ideal amount of bitterness and chocolate intensity that you would expect from Lindt chocolate.
At Starbucks there is one Christmas hot chocolate option, which shouldn’t be ignored. Despite the lack of variations, the Fudge Hot Chocolate (small £3.15) turns the classic golden, with fudge flavouring, fudge pieces, and fudge cream which is finished with golden chocolate curls, rivals Costa’s selection.
Whilst drinking-in means sipping from the regular annual cups, the take-out counterpart provides the opportunity for festive creations and unique designs.
At Costa the cups keep their signature red background with Christmas characters including Nutcracker, Elf, Santa, Gingerbread or Snowman as the colourful central icons.
This year Starbucks have produced a hand-drawn design which features a pair of coffee holding hands, swirling ribbons and festive scenes in red and green. Far from this just being a cup, Starbucks have introduced their first colour-in Christmas cup for customers to bring their own style and creativity to their drinks – a truly personal touch.
My Starbucks Recommendation
Get your toffee and nut fill with the Toffee Nut Latte (small £3.15). This is deliciously frothy with a crunchy hazelnut topping, without question this is a creamy-caramel-nutty-coffee delight. For more drinks, visit Starbucks’ website.
My Costa Recommendation
Billionaire’s Hot Chocolate (small £3.35) is a triple indulgence with a shot of caramel syrup, whipped cream and golden chocolate pieces. Also available as a latte (medium only £3.60) or a chilled Frostino (medium only £3.80). For the full menu, visit Costa’s website.