Our favourite chains are back with their festive menus, guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit! But with their ridiculously hefty prices, which ones are really worth it on a student budget?
First up, and spoiling us for choice this year, is Starbucks. Providing four festive coffees and a new hot chocolate flavour, this coffee giant has something for everyone. Returning to its menu are the Toffee Nut, Gingerbread, Caramel Waffle, and Eggnog lattes, which have earnt respected reputations over the years.
Its most exciting beverage is its latest addition: the Praline Cookie Hot Chocolate. This drink is currently in high demand, and understandably so. Flavoured with notes of buttery cookie and caramelised nuts and sprinkled with biscuit crumbs, this velvety concoction is to die for.
Also turning heads is Caffè Nero’s Salted Caramel Brownie Hot Chocolate. Ladled with salted caramel and topped with fudgy brownie pieces, just the thought of this drink is enough to get you salivating!
Caffè Nero has also introduced two new Christmas-inspired coffees: the Black Forest Macho and the Cinnamon Swirl Latte. My sister – a caffeine addict – jumped at the chance to help me review them.
The Cinnamon Swirl Latte is an infusion of gingerbread and cinnamon syrups, doused in caramel sauce and dusted with cinnamon. Finding it extremely warming and “surprisingly tangy,” my sister thought it the perfect drink for a winter’s day. Rating it an 8.5/10, she recommended adding some marshmallows and cream to take it all the way to a ten.
She also tried the new Luxury Blackforest Cake, noting that the sour cherries complimented the white chocolate frosting perfectly. Her only criticism was that it tasted too sugary, so maybe avoid it if you don’t have a sweet tooth! Despite this, her aggressive texts describing the cake as “INCREDIBLE” and “INSANELY NICE” suggest it was a definite winner.
Pret A Manger
Next up is Pret with their festive lineup. The classic Gingerbread Latte is my go-to drink for the season, but my allegiance could switch to their new Praline latte. Its rich nutty flavour, enhanced by a dusting of chocolate powder, makes it the perfect drink for Ferrero Roche lovers! Pret’s new Macaroon Hot Chocolate, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about.
Last, but certainly not least, is Costa.
My friend, Belle, ordered the new Latte Inspired by Toblerone and an adorable Reindeer Muffin. Not only was the latte beautifully decorated with a Festive Twinkle and Toblerone chocolate, but it tasted delicious. Although the Toblerone flavour wasn’t extremely powerful, the rich, smooth chocolate taste combined with the honey-flavoured sauce was glorious. Belle was also giving high praises to the vanilla muffin which was moist and filled generously with raspberry sauce.
I couldn’t resist comparing Costa’s Gingerbread and Cream Latte to Pret’s equivalent. I have to admit – my expectations weren’t high because Pret’s lattes are difficult to beat. However, I was pleasantly shocked!
Usually, at Pret, I only get whipped cream when I remember to ask. On the other hand, my Costa latte was a masterpiece to behold! Not only was I asked if I wanted whipped cream (duh) and a dusting of chocolate powder (obviously), but a mini gingerbread man was added on top.
Perhaps a little more artificial tasting than Pret’s version, the Costa Gingerbread Latte still won overall. Its impressive presentation and generous toppings made the whole experience more enjoyable, and I’d rate it 9/10.
With beverages that cost the price of a small village, it is vital that you choose your drink carefully. But it looks like every coffee shop menu offers something too good to resist.