It’s the best time of the year for those of us who love both Starbucks and the holidays. For 2021, Starbucks is coming back with many of the classic favorites, plus some new additions.
Starbucks in-store drinks are available starting Thursday, November 4. The new drink for this year is the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, along with many returning favorites including the peppermint mocha.
Keep reading for more details on ALL the options and reviews!
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In-store holiday options
Starbucks is launching its 2021 holiday drinks and red cups on Thursday, November 4. This year most of the traditional favorites are returning with one new drink. Last year, Starbucks also released a new drink (the Irish Cream Cold Brew) in December, so it’s not out of the question that we will see something else soon too.
Drinks and food
Here is what is available for holidays 2021:
- NEW Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte (Make it at home with my recipe!)
- Peppermint Mocha
- Irish Cream Cold Brew
- Caramel Brulee Latte
- Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
- Chestnut Praline Latte
That means these drinks are NOT returning:
- NOT RETURNING: Eggnog Latte
- NOT RETURNING: Gingerbread Latte
- NEW Reindeer cake pop (My kids will be super happy!)
- Sugar Plum Cheese Danish
- Cranberry Bliss® Bar
- Snowman Cookie
Review: The New Sugar Cookie Latte
Bright and early on holiday launch day, I went to my closest Starbucks and ordered their new holiday drink, the sugar cookie latte so I could give you a review.
First, in Starbucks’ marketing and promotions, they are billing this as a cold drink. All the promotions I’ve seen have listed it as the “Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.” You can order it hot, and seeing as how it was a cold and rainy day, that’s just what I did.
By default, this drink comes dairy-free with almond milk. That’s a nice benefit for those of us, like myself, who can’t handle drinking a full cup of dairy.
So, what did it taste like? With the first sip, I tasted almond and a warm sweetness. I kept drinking and then noticed a bit of a smooth butter flavor coming through. Did I enjoy this drink? Yes!
Full disclosure, I’d already been working on recipes so you can make this drink at home, so I had a good idea of what (I hoped!) this drink would taste like.
Personally, I love almond flavors and already order most of my drinks with almond milk so it felt “normal” to me. If you don’t like almond flavoring or are not used to drinking almond milk, it might take some getting used to it. You can always ask for a different type of milk.
This drink isn’t as sweet as some of the holiday ones. Especially compared to a peppermint mocha which is literally sugar in a cup. So, it’s a nice change. It’s a milder flavor and does remind me of spritz cookies.
Just a note on the marketing for this drink. I’ve seen Starbucks refer to it both as being reminiscent of a decorated sugar cookie AND a spritz cookie. This seems odd to me, but the flavor, mainly because of the almond, is much more like a spritz cookie. Which is fine by me, because I love spritz!
Do I think you should run out and order this drink? Well, maybe not run, but next time you’re at a Starbucks, definitely give it a try!
Hot paper cup design for 2021
There are four cup designs for 2021. One design has bands of “frosty lilac,” white and green circling the cup, one has vertical stripes with cute circles, one has a design where ribbons swirl around the cup, and the last features “Starbucks” in bold letters around the cup with ribbon. All feature red prominently as the base color.
A cute and original addition is the “gift tag” design on the back where someone can write a message. It’s a cute idea and it will be great to see how it’s actually used.
Starbucks’ creative director says of this year’s cups, “This holiday, we wanted it to feel magical, we wanted it to be warm, and we wanted it to be inclusive. Our goal was to really bring joy to every customer and every partner.”
What do I think of these cups? I think they feel bright and cheery and are what you want out of a holiday cup. The gift tag idea is a fun and unique way to add something extra to the design. But, these are very similar to last year’s design and I would have loved to see a bigger change.
Cups and tumblers
Starbucks has announced its cups and tumblers merch that will be available to purchase during the 2021 holiday season. All of these items retail for under $30. These will likely launch in-store with the holiday launch rumored to be either November 4 or 5.
Of these merchandise offerings, Starbucks says, “For that person on your list who is always on the go and wants their stocking stuffers to be planet friendly, Starbucks has a variety of reusable color changing cups, must-have drink tumblers and more.”
Color changing hot cup set
This set of hot cups, available to purchase as a 6-pack, change color when hot liquid is added. This is a great gift for anyone who makes coffee or tea at home!
Bling and jeweled cold cups
These jeweled cold cups and bling cold cups are both fan favorites, and coming back this holiday season. Hopefully you can find them in stock before they run out!
The bling cups are being offered in black and ice (or as most of us know it, white.) The jeweled cups are available in gold, blue and red.
At-home grocery products
Increasingly more Starbucks products are made available at grocery stores for at-home beverage making and consumption. It’s a welcome addition for those of us who love coffee at home!
I’ve noted below where products can currently be found. I usually have good luck finding Starbucks grocery options on Amazon or at Target.
The 2021 holiday grocery store products that are officially released by Starbucks are:
- Starbucks Iced Espresso Peppermint Mocha
- Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint tea sachets
- Starbucks® Peppermint Mocha Flavored K-Cup® pods and Ground Coffee
- NEW Starbucks® Gingerbread Flavored K-Cup® pods
- Starbucks® Holiday Blend K-Cup® pods and Ground Coffee
Last year also included an option for peppermint mocha latte in Via Instant packages which is not offered this year. (Although, Amazon is still selling Via Instant Peppermint Mocha packets.)
Another missing item, that was first launched last year is the Starbucks Frappuccino Peppermint Mocha that was sold in glass bottles. It doesn’t look like that’s happening this year either.
Starbucks Iced Espresso Peppermint Mocha
Starbucks says of this product, “Inspired by our seasonal handcrafted favorite, this ready-to-drink version is full of minty, chocolaty joy. Starbucks espresso and milk are combined with the cheery flavors of peppermint and chocolate.”
I love this option to have in my fridge. It’s so versatile and easy to use. You can drink it cold or warm it up in the microwave, and in moments you have a delicious holiday treat. It’s simple to use for a holiday party or when you have an unexpected guest show up.
So far, I don’t see this actually being sold in stores yet. But stay tuned, over the next few weeks it will become available. I’ll update you when I see it!
Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint tea sachets
These Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint tea sachets sound delish! I’m not a huge tea drinker, but I am a sucker for teas that feel unique and original. I’m going to try this soon and will then post a review.
Starbucks says, “This indulgent herbal blend features notes of creamy white chocolate, cocoa, and smooth rooibos balanced with cool peppermint.” They also note that it can be served hot or cold, which makes it a versatile option to have on hand.
These tea sachets can be found through Amazon or at several grocery stores including Walmart and Fred Meyer.
Holiday blend, Christmas blend, K-cup and ground coffee options
For 2021, Starbucks’ ground and whole bean coffee offerings include peppermint mocha, and the classics—Holiday Blend, Christmas Blend. There are also K-cup offerings in the holiday blend, peppermint mocha, and exclusively to K-cups, gingerbread.
Of the peppermint mocha coffee options, Starbucks states, “Together our lightest roast and winter’s celebrated flavors create a festive favorite with just the right amount of cocoa-peppermint sweetness.”
The gingerbread K-cups are new this year, and only available in K-cup form, not ground coffee beans. Starbucks says, “Aromas of cinnamon and clove and a note of sweetness are blended with our lightest roast coffee for a heartwarming treat.
The gingerbread K-cups are available on Amazon right now, but only in a large quantity. Keep checking there and in grocery stores, and more will be listed soon!
The Holiday Blend coffee beans which have been offered by Starbucks for many, many years is also back. Starbucks says of the 2021 blend, “We combined bright, lively Latin American and smooth, earthy Indonesian beans and roasted them to bring out their full flavors. Layered, balanced, and sweet with herbal and maple notes.” This is a perfect coffee to pair with any holiday or winter brunch or dinner.
Seasonal favorite Christmas Blend is also coming back. Starbucks says this blend, “features aged Sumatra blended with dark-roasted beans from Papua New Guinea, Guatemala and Colombia. With notes of herbs, baking spices and a chocolate finish, every sip of this flavor-rich coffee is an invitation to feel the wonder and warmth of the season.”
Looking for gift ideas?
Does all this holiday talk have you thinking about gifts for friends, family, and co-workers? If you need ideas, check out my gift guide for teachers who love coffee and also 7 coffees roasted in Portland that make amazing gifts.