Starbucks and Ugly Mug Seasonal Coffee review


Sophia Campbell

Local coffee shop, Ugly Mug Coffee caters to all tastes during the holiday season. The shop offers four different seasonal flavors: Maple Praline Chestnut, S’mores, Toasted Marshmallow, and Pumpkin Spice iced, hot, or frappe.

Imagine walking down the street bundled up in a comfy sweater, holiday music playing in the background. As the sun sets, all the decorations light up in the darkening sky. Two things are missing from this winter wonderland: the perfect seasonal coffee drink to warm numbing hands, and fresh snow falling from the sky. I cannot bring snow, but I can bring you along with me on my journey to find the perfect cup of coffee this season. To find the most suitable coffee, I decided to test Starbucks and Ugly Mug coffee; one a chain and the other a local family owned business. 


Starbucks Holiday Menu:

Chestnut Praline Latte

The Chestnut Praline Latte nicely paired chestnut with coffee; neither overshadowed the other. The spiced praline crumbs took this drink to the next level. 

“This one is somehow different, Emmy Yang (9) said. “When you feel it go down, you just feel at home and you get that kind of ‘I just woke up and saw snow’ kind of feeling.”

Peppermint Mocha Latte 

The Peppermint Mocha is a classic that screams “Happy holidays!” If you love peppermint, but you are not a fan of strong coffee, I definitely recommend it. The dark chocolate curls and whipped cream topping calmed the strong peppermint flavor. 

“You couldn’t taste any coffee in the drink whatsoever; it tasted like a hot chocolate with peppermint,” Noor Alabes (11) said. “I didn’t expect the peppermint flavor to stand out like that; it was too much.”

Caramel Brulee Latte

The Caramel Brulee Latte was very good, but it was definitely not what I was expecting. From the name, I thought it would resemble a creme brulee dessert, but that was not what I got from the drink. It tasted like a less-sweet, toasted caramel latte.

“When I first tried the drink it wasn’t what I was expecting; it tasted a little more burnt than I expected,” Alabes said.

Overall, these drinks were definitely geared towards a young crowd: all the drinks were very sweet and did not have a strong coffee flavor. However, I would definitely order them again, despite the high cost.. My favorite was definitely the Chestnut Praline Latte because of the prominent chestnut flavor that pairs well with the coffee flavor. After trying these three drinks, I will definitely be back to try the other drinks on the holiday menu.


Ugly Mug Coffee Seasonal Drinks:

S’mores Latte

The S’mores Latte is great for anyone  looking to try something new but unsure if they want to spend $5 on something they might not love. The s’mores flavor is achieved with chocolate and vanilla graham cracker crumble, a basic flavor combination that is almost impossible not to like. 

Toasted Marshmallow Latte

The Toasted Marshmallow Latte is the best seasonal drink for someone who does not favor sugary drinks. The latte is very flavorful ,balancing the slight bitterness of the coffee. The toasted marshmallows floating on top were a perfect addition. 

“My favorite is the Toasted Marshmallow Latte because the foam tastes like toasted marshmallow, and it is great for cold weather,” Rachel Lambert, an employee at Ugly Mug Coffee said. 

Maple Praline Latte

The Maple Praline Latte will satisfy any sweet tooth; the sweet maple syrup complimented the light-roast coffee exceptionally. I was not expecting  to taste the maple when I ordered the drink, but as soon as I took a sip, the sweetness brought me back to my childhood. It was like experiencing the same rush of flavors as trying ice cream for the first time.
The three drinks were all very unique in taste, making it very hard to choose a favorite. Like Starbucks, they were all pretty expensive  for the size, but the strength of the coffee enhanced the taste. To make the  drink taste more like a dessert, I would recommend getting it iced or as a frappe. 


My Conclusion: 

Either of these coffee shops would fulfill your caffeine cravings: all the drinks were very rich in flavor and I could taste the holidays with every sip. The customer service at both, per usual, was remarkable. Although Starbucks wins for the cutest cup designs, the one thing that puts the family owned Ugly Mug Coffee on a higher level is the pronounced coffee taste in every drink.