‘Tis the season for festive flavors: Students and faculty prefer Starbucks for seasonal drinks

Dec. 15, 2023

By Nikalena Iacono

Ask any coffee lover, and they will tell you one of the best parts of the holiday season is enjoying a festively flavored cup of joe. 

With the holiday season in full swing, coffee shops have transformed into havens of holiday spirit. Dunkin’ and Starbucks are no exception, welcoming seasonal beverages back to their menus.

According to a survey of 75 LHS students, 87% of respondents said they go to Dunkin’ or Starbucks during the holiday season, with 49% favoring Starbucks and 37% preferring Dunkin’. The remaining respondents said they do not go to either coffee chain. 

Among those surveyed, the sugar cookie syrup from Starbucks was the most popular, with 29% of students who drink holiday beverages saying it is their favorite seasonal flavor. Starbucks’ toasted white chocolate mocha syrup came in second, capturing 20% of respondents’ votes. The most popular Dunkin’ holiday flavor was toasted white chocolate, which got 8% of the votes.

“During the holiday season, getting the Starbucks seasonal drinks is a must.”

Art teacher Mrs. Auteri, who goes to both Dunkin’ and Starbucks, said she favors Starbucks during the holiday season, generally going twice a week. She said when Starbucks released its holiday menu on Nov. 2, she headed there right away to purchase her favorite item, the caramel brulée latte. 

“That is my all-time favorite, and I’m very sad when they stop [making] it,” Auteri said. “But then I think that if it was the whole year round, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.”

 Auteri said during the holiday season, she only buys seasonal drinks, which includes the peppermint hot chocolate from Dunkin’. 

 “Especially if we’re going out or I don’t want to  [drink] coffee, they have the peppermint hot chocolate. Our family, overall, likes the hot chocolate from Dunkin’,” Auteri said. 

Junior Anthony Amaro said he prefers Dunkin’ because it is cheaper and sells donuts. However, during the holiday season, Amaro said he stops at Starbucks at least once a week for a chocolate chip cookie and his favorite seasonal drink, the iced sugar cookie almond milk latte.

“During the holiday season, getting the Starbucks seasonal drinks is a must,” Amaro said. 

He said he does not mind that the holiday menu is  available for a limited time.

“I like that it’s seasonal because it gets people excited about it,” Amaro said. “I don’t wish they were [available year-round] because people would get sick of the drinks.”

 Spanish teacher Ms. Silvelo said her favorite seasonal drink is Starbucks’  chestnut praline latte with two pumps of syrup and whipped cream.

“I just love it. It makes me feel like it’s the holidays. It puts me in the holiday spirit,” Silvelo said. 

She said she tries to limit herself to Starbucks once a week because it is expensive and high in calories and sugar.

Silvelo said she looked forward to the release of Starbucks’ holiday items.

“Starbucks’ marketing is so spectacular because they change their cups for the holidays, [and] they run this promo where you get an actual reusable plastic cup with your holiday drink,” Silvelo said. “[Red Cup Day] brings people out in droves, myself included.”

Starbucks introduced its holiday cups in 1997 and has continued the tradition ever since. This year’s holiday cup features four designs: colorful ribbons, festive plaid, ornament shapes and swirling waves. There is also a plastic holiday cup for iced beverages. 

On Nov. 16, Starbucks gifted a free grande reusable red holiday cup to customers who ordered a holiday drink. The cup consisted of green, red and white designs. If customers bring the reusable red cup back into a participating U.S. Starbucks location, they receive a 10-cent discount on their beverage. Rewards members who use the app also receive 25 Bonus Stars.

Silvelo said she takes advantage of the holiday menu until it is no longer available. 

“I never know when the cutoff is going to be, so I just keep ordering chestnut praline [until the barista says], ‘That’s discontinued. That’s our holiday drink,’” said Silvelo.

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