The 12 Lattes of December

Just when I thought lattes couldn’t get any weirder….

Starbucks is now selling Chestnut Praline Lattes.  Pumpkin Spice lattes are so yesterday.  Coffee shops are falling all over themselves to entice customers with new taste sensations.  Now you can choose from peppermint, gingerbread, cinnamon, sugar cookie, eggnog, brown sugar shortbread and chestnut.  The chestnut one is a puzzle, as chestnuts themselves don’t have a strong flavor.  Mixing it into coffee doesn’t sound like a winning idea, but perhaps the praline topping overpowers it and you don’t notice the lack of chestnuttiness.

Starbucks isn’t alone in this effort to add even more calories to the holiday season.  Caribou Coffee, Peet’s, Dunkin Donuts and your local coffee cafe are all in on the act.  It’s not hard to do, as the syrup flavors can be purchased by anyone.  I’m surprised no one has come up with Fruitcake Latte yet.  Or Plum Pudding.  Silly me.  Starbucks made a Fruitcake Frappuccino last December.

I think we can rewrite “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to “The Twelve Lattes of December.”  Sing along:

🎶 On the 12th day of December, my barista made for me:  🎵

12 chestnut praline

11 brown sugar shortbread

10 gingersnap mocha

9 sugar cookies

8 peppermint mocha

7 cinnamon hazelnut

6 caramel brûlée

5 pumpkin spice

4 eggnog

3 holiday spice

2 gingerbread

🎶 And a Fa La La La Latte with extra whipped cream.

If you want to indulge in one of these calorific drinks, that’s your choice.  I taste-tested the Chestnut Praline and the Gingerbread.  Honestly, if someone had handed me the Chestnut latte and said “What does this taste like?”  I would have said “A latte with some sort of spices added.”  Not identifiable to me as anything to do with chestnuts.  And not something I’d try again.  The Gingerbread had a strong ginger flavor, but otherwise was indistinguishable from any other spiced latte.  My real problem with all this stuff is that the flavorings completely spoil mask the flavor of the coffee, so why bother with coffee at all?

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