Demystifying the Starbucks Seasonal Blends—‘Tis the Season After All

There’s something special about the Starbucks seasonal holiday coffee blends…and even the most cynical among us are likely to have at least 1 cup of a seasonal blend, at some point between Thanksgiving and New Years, assuming we drink Starbucks coffee, of course.

First…There was the Christmas Blend

Initially,  of course, the decision to create a seasonal holiday blend was a marketing decision that dates back to 1984, when Starbucks first introduced the Starbucks® Christmas blend, a full-bodied, dark roast that is different every year, but always has hints of spiciness and notable depth.

The Christmas blend is made from beans sourced from Latin America and Indonesia; however, the thing that separates the Christmas Holiday Blend from other coffee blends is the infusion of select Sumatran beans. These beans are like magic beans.

Each year, the Christmas blend is made with spicy Sumatra beams that are aged for 3 to 5 years in order to create a full-bodied, rich coffee blend. This year’s Christmas blend is true to its roots; it is sweet, spicy, deep, and dark, with hints of cedar and black licorice.

I personally love it.

New multicolored reusable cups

Then Came the Holiday Blend

The Starbucks® Holiday Blend was introduced in 2013 as a medium roast, full-bodied coffee.

My experience of the Holiday Blend is that it is perfectly balanced in terms of depth and flavor---with a tiny bit of a kick that can be modulated based on what you put in it. Best drunk very hot. It is intended to be bright and mellow.

To me, the Christmas Blend is the coffee equivalent of a very good chai latte. (I drink my chai lattes with black chai, Oregon chai mix, milk, cayenne pepper, ginger, and honey).

My favorite pairing with the Starbucks Holiday Blend is oat milk. And if I’m in the mood for a sweet, this blend is a perfect accompaniment.

According to a description of the Starbucks Holiday Blend on “This coffee is distinctive, yet you can drink it all day long. It is definitely sturdy enough for the holidays and foods of the season, but approachable enough to bring to a family gathering.”

The Starbucks seasonal winter/holiday blend coffee options are rounded out by Starbucks’ Christmas Decaf Blend, VIA Christmas Blend, and the Christmas Reserve Blend.

And another important difference: While the holiday blend is available at retail stores, as well as Starbucks locations, the Christmas blend is only available at Starbucks. Both blends are available for a limited time.

Considering that the Christmas blend pretty much disappears after the winter holiday period, it’s worth a trip to a Starbucks café to try this year’s blend. I for one thought it was well worth the trip.

Happy holidays!


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