Well, hopefully we’re far enough into November that it’s now acceptable to…

FREAAAAK OUUUUUTTT!!!  The incredibly delectable Holiday drinks are back at all your local coffee shops, and I couldn’t be a bigger nerdy fan.  There will always be people who deplore this time of year, but they have anger in their hearts where gingerbread should be.  They’ll say they aren’t Holiday bigots but instead want the Holiday season relegated to a week, or a day.   Yeah, you got your good things and I got mine.

Of course, we all probably think of Starbucks first when we think of the Holiday drinks, but this year, Coffee Bean is coming up with some sturdy rivals.  Let’s Battle them, shall we?

Starbucks Gingerbread Latte


Coffee Bean Gingerbread Cookie Latte

Like so much Jack in the Box tacos, the Starbucks Gingerbread doesn’t really taste much like actual gingerbread.  It’s its own flavor.  The company tried to shake up this standard last year and call it the Gingersnap Latte and throw some crystalized ginger on top instead of the nutmeg.  That’s very good intensions-y but here’s the problem with that:  the drinks that are seasonal and depend on a topping out of a shaker always eff up when it counts.   Stores are auto-shipped a certain amount depending on their volume.  They start in early November.  People buy up the drinks.  Employees sometimes shake on too much.  Stock runs out.  Store tries to order more.  The company is out of stock, can’t ship anymore, because this drink’s only got a two month life on it, and if they stockpile too much beforehand, they’ll be left with crates of unused product in January.  Plus, the drink’s still okay without it.  So, they run out early, and anywhere near Christmas good luck getting some ginger topping topping on the Gingerbread latte.  The aforementioned Holiday bigots that actually catch the Holiday spirit in late December want the drink, they’re all out.  And so deepens the Holiday Latecomers’ hatred for us Holiday Early Risers.

My point is, don’t mess with a classic.  That’s Coffee Bean’s job.

Their Gingerbread Cookie latte tastes closer to an actual gingerbread cookie, hence the name, I’m sure.  It’s a fine alternative if you’re like me and already have enough Gingerbread Lattes to put the whole country of Uganda into the Holiday Spirit.

The drink is tasty, and it does a fun little thing where they put ground up cookie shit in, so there’s a little cookie crumble in every sip.  Wait, that isn’t fun, that’s gross.  Stop it.

ADVANTAGE:  Starbucks Gingerbread Latte.

Starbucks Eggnog Chai


Coffee Bean Candy Cane Tea Latte

YOU’RE LATE FOR TEA!  These two options you’re gonna have to look for a little, but they’re hidden diamonds.  Coffee Bean advertises their drink (albeit on the bottom of a very long menu), but Starbucks years later has yet to officially endorse the Egg Nog Chai.

MADNESS!!  The Eggnog Latte, made with espresso, is fine and dandy, but even Egg Nog dislikers have admitted to the savory qualities in the combo Chai.  It’s simple.  Unless you grew up in a 15th century cave, you are aware that Egg Nog is best with…say it with me…Nutmeg.  Chai is a spiced tea that contains…Nutmeg.  Chai Lattes are Chai Tea syrup, mixed with hot water and steamed milk.  The Eggnog Chai is the same, save for it replaces the milk with steamed Nog.  Do I really need to keep pitching this?  This doll is best for folks who find too much Egg Nog a all-too-rich experience because half the drink is water.

On the other side, Coffee Bean dusts off their Candy Cane tea bags and does their usual Coffee Bean Tea Latte vanilla-magic on it.  Yummy, but tastes a wee bit too much like a watered down Peppermint Latte.

ADVANTAGE: Starbucks Eggnog Chai.

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha


Coffee Bean Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Mint and Chocolate go together better than almost anything else on this big blue ball, and this drink is so much of a standard that it has to be its one drawback:

You can get the Peppermint Mocha year-round.  Peppermint syrup is always available, and while it may not be advertised, all you have to do is drop its name, and you’re drinking it at the 4th of July.

Come on!  Devalue much?  Set boundaries for us, damn you!  Disallow!  Disallow!

Meanwhile, Coffee Bean busts out a new evil to set fire to all our villages.  Red Velvet Hot Chocolate.  It’s everything you dare not let yourself dream it to be.  It’s pink, it’s creamy, it’s chocolatey, it’s not heavy.  It’s rich but light on its feet, an astonishing surprise, like when Fred Flintstone would go up on his twinkletoes to bowl a strike.

Stop reading this article right now and go get one!

ADVANTAGE: Coffee Bean Red Velvet Hot Chocolate.

Seriously, why are you still here?  I mean, thank you so much for your commitment to reading Stay On Fountain, but please, get out of your house and go get one right now.  This could be in your mouth as we speak!

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Written by Adam Sass

Adam Sass

ADAM SASS is a journalist and copy editor for Mediaplanet, which prints in USA Today. His short story appeared in the anthology STARLING SCI-FI: NEW TALES OF THE BEYOND and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Story by Writer’s Digest. He lives in New York City with his husband and two dachshunds.

Keep up with Adam’s pop culture blogging at GeeksOut.org and on his (over)active Twitter: @TheAdamSass.