’Toban staff try the new Starbucks holiday drinks

If Santa was a barista, would he work at Starbucks?

With Halloween being so last week and Starbucks officially having its holiday drinks out, we at the Manitoban tested them all so you don’t have to.

Our tasters ranked each drink — the gingerbread oat chai latte, chestnut praline latte, sugar cookie oat latte, caramel brûlé latte and peppermint mocha — on a scale of one to 10, factoring in taste and holiday vibe.

The tasters

GILLIAN BROWN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I love peppermint. I love peppermint mochas, I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, I had a peppermint mocha for breakfast this morning. I am really happy to be here.

SARAH COHEN, NEWS EDITOR: I love the taste of a good brown sugar cookie.


Gingerbread oat chai latte

GILL: It smells good.

SARAH: Yeah, it does.

GILL: I can’t taste the gingerbread, but it tastes kind of like a milky chai, and I love chai. It smells more gingerbread-y than it tastes.

SARAH: I think it has a really strong gingerbread aftertaste. 

BRADEN: I enjoy it, it makes me smile, but I’m getting almost a cinnamon-y flavour and I’m not a cinnamon head, if I’m being honest.


The tasters agreed the drink tasted more like a gingersnap than gingerbread.


GILL: Considering the taste and the holiday vibe, I’d give it a six, maybe a six and a half. 

SARAH: I’d say a seven.

BRADEN: I’m gonna go a solid six.


Score: 6.5/10

Chestnut praline latte

SARAH: It doesn’t taste like much.

GILL: I’m getting a lot of milk again.

BRADEN: It’s milky. It’s kind of nutty. It does not taste like Christmas. It doesn’t taste like Kwanzaa, Christmas or Hanukkah. None of them.

SARAH: It smells better than it tastes.

GILL: Taking into consideration holiday vibe and taste, I’m gonna go with a five.

SARAH: I’m gonna go with a three. I’m not getting much.

BRADEN: I like that I tried it, but I wouldn’t order it again. I’d give it like a four and a half.

SARAH: I feel like this is what you’d put out for Santa if you wanted to give him an upgrade from just regular milk.

BRADEN: I do think it’d make Santa happy.

GILL: I agree.


Score: 4.17/10

Sugar cookie oat latte

SARAH: This one smells like Christmas more.

BRADEN: It smells nice, it smells happy.

GILL: Full disclosure, I have had this drink before but I get it with almond milk, and I think I like it better with almond milk.

BRADEN: I like this. This is making me feel joy. This feels like a joyous Christmas-y drink.

GILL: It does smell like a sugar cookie.

SARAH: I like the buttery taste.

BRADEN: It’s smooth, it’s kind of rich, it’s good. I like it.

GILL: Taking into consideration holiday vibe and taste, it’s got a really nice holiday vibe, but that taste is not there for me. I just can’t get past the oat milk, so I’m gonna go with a five, happy medium.

SARAH: I’m gonna go with a seven because it is Christmas-y, but I think it’s just a little too buttery.

BRADEN: I’m gonna give it an eight. I think critiquing it for oat milk — that seems almost like user error. I liked it!


Score: 6.67/10

Caramel brûlé latte 

SARAH: This smells like Christmas in my opinion.

GILL: Okay, so we said rich before. This, to me, is rich.

SARAH: Oh, that’s delicious.

GILL: It’s just a caramel macchiato with a fancy name.

BRADEN: That’s the review right there.

SARAH: This one makes me feel like Santa’s coming to town.

GILL: Rating it based on holiday vibe and taste, there’s no holiday vibe and the taste is mid for me, so I’m gonna go with a four.

SARAH: I think this is a solid nine. I think this is good.

BRADEN: I agree that there’s not a holiday vibe other than the cup, but I think the flavour is good, and I don’t know, I enjoy it. It’s rich, richer than the last one even though I said that already. Seven seems fair. It would be an eight if it were Christmas-y or holiday-y.


Score: 6.67/10

Peppermint mocha

GILL: This is Christmas. This is minty chocolate. It’s Christmas.

SARAH: I very much disagree. I feel like, if I was at a fancy restaurant and they gave me an after dinner mint, it would be this.

GILL: And I love it!

BRADEN: It tastes distinctly like the Olive Garden chocolates.

GILL: My favourite chocolates!

SARAH: You know, I thought it was gonna be better.

GILL: This is a 10 for me, taking into consideration holiday vibe and taste.

SARAH: I think this is a six. I think it tastes good. I think there’s too much peppermint.

BRADEN: I’m gonna give it a solid seven for the exact same reasons, but I’m more lenient.


Score: 7.67/10

Jungle juice (all drinks mixed together)

GILL: I just want to say, it smells delicious.

SARAH: Right?

GILL: This is not bad at all.


BRADEN: That’s pretty good.

SARAH: That tastes like Christmas.

GILL: This tastes like Christmas.

BRADEN: We figured it out. I’d give that a nine.

GILL: I give it a nine.

SARAH: I also give it a nine.

BRADEN: I think for a fun holiday activity, you could try this and then try to make it at home. That could be a fun holiday activity.


Score: 9/10