Holiday coffee: The good, the bad, and the nasty

As the holiday season begins, so does the surge of seasonal coffees. Heres what to get and what to avoid.

Allison Van Horn

As the holiday season begins, so does the surge of seasonal coffees. Here’s what to get and what to avoid.

The holidays are fast approaching, and with the rapid change in season comes the release of the ever-anticipated holiday coffee drinks. For the sake of Beaverton High School students, I tried and tested seasonal drinks from a variety of coffee shops in the Beaverton area. I have here today my non-expert opinion on the drinks offered from roast houses such as Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee & Tea. This one’s for you, avid coffee drinkers!

Panera: Pumpkin Spice Latte

This drink was a vanilla-flavored disappointment. (Allison Van Horn)

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is widely known amongst even the least knowledgeable coffee drinkers. That said, I was expecting more from this drink. It wasn’t too sweet, but it wasn’t too bitter either. But this brew of beans had an overwhelming smack of vanilla. This is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s not the Vanilla Latte. Panera’s Pumpkin Spice Latte is not at all true to its name. There was no evidence of pumpkin flavor, which destroys the point. I noticed only a hint of nutmeg. While the drink may contain “spice,” it doesn’t contain any “pumpkin.” Ditch the Pumpkin Spice and go with the Vanilla Latte instead. You’ll save a little money while you’re at it! 

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Dutch Bros: Caramel Eggnog Latte 

Even for an eggnog lover like me, this drink was just too much. (Allison Van Horn)

The Caramel Eggnog may not sound like the most delicious holiday drink. It may not sound even slightly delicious. It’s true: the Caramel Eggnog from Dutch Bros is revolting. The drink is essentially a caffeinated, slightly thinner, and much sweeter version of the classic eggnog. As an eggnog product, this drink already has a select audience. Being an eggnog enthusiast myself, I expected to enjoy this drink. 

My expectations were largely unmet. The first sip was fine, but from there, it went downhill. The sheer sweetness and thickness of this drink make it too much for one sitting. I could only handle about three or four sips before I began to feel nauseated. This drink has taken sweetness to a whole new level, and that isn’t a good thing. It’s too rich and unpalatable. This is one holiday drink that I will not be trying again. From one eggnog-lover to another: Do not try this drink. Heed my warning this holiday season. 

Rating: 1/5 stars

Starbucks: Peppermint Mocha

This peppermint drink hit the spot (Allison Van Horn)

Per recommendation, I picked myself up a cup of Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha. My first impression was that the peppermint overpowered the coffee flavor. The potent chocolate flavor combined with the peppermint may have accounted for the lack of coffee taste. Also, the fact that the drink itself is a mocha suggests that it can be considered to be a caffeinated hot chocolate. 

Either way, the Peppermint Mocha is sweet and delicious. The scent of the drink can be described as “peppermint dark chocolate,” consistent with its name and flavor. Overall, the Peppermint Mocha is a perfect remedy for those who crave the taste of the holidays. 

Rating: 4/5 stars

Peet’s Coffee: Cinnamon Hazelnut Latte

This exquisite drink is a must-try (Allison Van Horn)

I have one word for you: heavenly. The Cinnamon Hazelnut Latte is one of the most delicious drinks I have tried this holiday season. True to its name, the drink has an aroma of cinnamon with a touch of roasted hazelnut, creating an intoxicating effect. With a taste of coffee expertly balanced with cinnamon and hazelnut, the drink is just sweet enough. (However, if you are a sugar lover, I suggest adding an extra packet of sugar to increase the drink’s sweetness.) All things considered, I would buy this drink again as it encapsulates the fall vibe. If you ever find wander into your local Peet’s Coffee, give this drink a go.