There are certain signs that Christmas is on its way; Cocoa Cola TV adverts, Christmas lights switch ones and the return of festive mugs in coffee shops. So when I heard Starbucks in Birmingham’s Selfridges was launching their red cups a little early to coincide with the department store’s Christmas launch, I couldn’t help but go find out more.
With Selfridges choosing a treasure theme for this year’s Christmas display, Starbucks have followed suit in their two in-store venues (the other being in London). This means that as well as the red cups making a return early, the store has some exclusives including gold merchandise and gold sprinkles, which I was a bit too enthusiastic about (glittery sprinkles make everything better).
Now I consider coffee to be two different things; stuff I’ll drink neat with nothing added to it, and what I call ‘Disco Coffee’ – coffee, mainly lattes, with flavoured syrups. If I’m in Starbucks it’s nearly always because I’m ordering a Disco Coffee. So trying their new Christmas blend coffee neat was a new experience for me. I found it a lot more drinkable than their regular filter coffee (which I’ve tried once and instantly vowed never again); it doesn’t taste as bitter and unusually tickles the sides of the tongue, which was kinda fun. I’ve been given some to take home, so I’ll be giving this another try.
Their new drink this year is the Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate. I had mine with soya milk and for someone who’s not overly keen on hot chocolate, I managed to drink the lot – the sweetness offset by my lack of lunch. There’s a definite and delicious nuttiness from the almond syrup which is complemented by the honey. It wasn’t too rich or sickly sweet either, which made it a nice little indulgence, though I don’t think you’d want to drink too many unless you were looking to gain a Santa style belly. Also, mine was covered in gold sprinkles which are always going to help win me round.
There were some other Disco Coffee drinks returning; Eggnog, Toffee Nut and (my personal favourite) Gingerbread lattes. I was surprised to hear that Starbucks estimate there are 80.000 different ways to customise their drinks, so next time I find myself in one I’m going to try a gingerbread hot chocolate.
The red cups return to Starbucks UK stores officially on 4th November, with reward card holders being able to get them from the 30th October if they ask nicely. This means I just need to see a ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert and Christmas is officially on its way.
Disclosure: I was invited down to Starbucks in Selfridges and given products to try, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t obliged to give a positive review, which you’ve probably realised from my views on their filter coffee. Photos belong to Starbucks and/or their PR people.