Christmas: Coffee shop 101

If you know me you know how much I love the Christmas drinks that the coffee shops bring out, and I am always the happiest when the pumpkin spice everything disappears (sorry but I’m not a fan) and the festive drinks explode into every coffee shop. A nice hot festive drink makes the perfect edition to Christmas shopping to warm you up and give you the motivation to continue fighting through the shops. I wish they did the festive syrups all year round! Plus don’t even start on the limited edition festive cup designs, as I fall in love with them every year. 

Christmas drinks are such a big industry now and as soon as November rolls around all of the Christmas drinks follow behind them. Its been good that I’ve been able to try a lot more than usual this year now that I live in Leeds and every coffee shop is on my doorstep. I obviously can’t try them all (I would be very fat and very poor) so instead I’m going to share my top picks from each shop and which ones you should try. Just as a bit of a warning- I am definitely more of a hot chocolate person over syrups in coffee at Christmas, so you will soon see that my faves are very hot chocolate orientated. 

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So here we go…

Costa 

Im just going to say it, costa do the best Christmas drinks in my opinion and every year they get it right, and I always just keep going back. The change the menu each year to jazz it up but still keeping the favourites, and it gets me going back year after year. I love them, plus the cups are so cute this year! 

This year they introduced the ‘little luxuries’ in both chocolate and caramel flavour, which are around the size of a flat white. The chocolate one (or something similar) has happened before (the Lindt one last year was my fave) but this year they have introduced caramel alongside it. I love them both, I still prefer the chocolate but I would definitely recommend them both. I will go as far to say that the chocolate one is my fave Christmas drink of this year as its not sweet like all of the others and is more rich. A very unique taste and one that I would recommend if you love your Christmas drinks but don’t like the typical ‘spiced’ ones.

Costa actually gets two features on the list this year as my other fave has to be the gingerbread latte. I’ve only had it once but I really enjoyed it for a cosy drink, plus it came served with a little gingerbread man on the top which I think was just the nicest touch. Overall I prefer the hot chocolates over the festive coffees, but nevertheless this tasted really good and I think it was worth a mention. 

Starbucks 

Before we start with the global coffee giant, this post is not going to be a debate about the infamous red cups and we will save that for another day. Lets focus on the drinks yeah? 

The standout drink from Starbucks this Christmas for me has to be the salted caramel brownie hot chocolate. It was like gold dust to find, and I went to so many branches to find it with me finally ending up getting it in Leeds city centre one morning (before the rush happened)… its clearly in high demand! It is so rich and sweet but tastes amazing, although I’m not sure I could drink a large one without feeling sick! I knew it was going to make the top 5 before I even tried it, this is the one I was most excited to try this year out of all of the coffee shops. The little brownie pieces on the top are such a nice touch as well! It won’t replace my white chocolate mocha from Starbucks but equally so nice, and I would definitely recommend it if you love your Christmas drinks. 

Nero 

Nero was never my coffee shop of choice but I have one directly below my flat block at uni so it has quickly become my go to coffee shop to work in, as it is literally a 30 second walk from my flat. So handy! They do have a nice selection of Christmas drinks this year, and I do think that they have upped their game compared to previous years. 

They have brought out two hot chocolates, one named sweet and one named spice. I haven’t tried the spice one (that doesn’t appeal to me) but the belgian truffle hot chocolate in the sweet section was so nice. I’ve had a few now and they have become a classic this year, its like a normal hot chocolate but with something a bit… well more. I don’t know how to explain it but if you aren’t usually a fan of the overpowering festive drinks I think you would like this. Worth a try! 

Pret 

In my opinion, I would have never associated Pret with Christmas drinks but they have also jumped on the trend this year, and I have been slowly trying them when I am at the train station (because there is a Pret near my platform). They don’t have a huge collection but the ones they do have are very nice, with my favourite being the mint hot chocolate. Mint chocolate is my favourite so I was bound to like it, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Pret are the only people doing the mint hot chocolate this year. I miss when Starbucks used to do peppermint syrup all year round! Plus if you take your reusable cup into Pret, you receive 50p off any hot drink, which makes it an affordable choice too. 

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So there is my round up of the coffee giant’s Christmas drinks this year and my top picks, I hope that this post was useful to find out my faves and let me know if you have tried any on my recommendation. Most of the Christmas drinks are around until January time so you still have plenty of time to try your faves. I am always in coffee shops at this time of year trying all of the seasonal flavours, especially now I’m in Leeds! What have I not mentioned here that I need to try? Let me know!

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