Starbucks vs. Second Cup at Christmas

Post ImageAs a self-described caffeine addict, I end up spending a lot of money on drinks at Christmas from Starbucks and Second Cup. When I need a good fix, I usually just have my Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, but when it’s Christmas I tend to have a lot of lattes (and I guess, less caffeine). I realize that Starbucks vs. Second Cup is nothing like Coke vs. Pepsi, but it’s interesting nonetheless. My Grandma, for example, prefers Second Cup while I prefer Starbucks – but what about at Christmas? Here’s a quick comparison:

  • In terms of the cups, I think Second Cup wins. I really like the red cup at Starbucks, but the Second Cup one looks so much more festive (and more colorful!). I also like that they make the cardboard sleeve pink too. That being said, Starbucks has the much better marketing campaign! Check out http://www.theredcup.com.
  • My favorite drink of all is definitely the Eggnog Latte at Starbucks. Unfortunately there is nothing similar at Second Cup.
  • Both shops have a Gingerbread Latte, but I think the Second Cup version tastes much better.
  • The Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks and the Candycane Latte at Second Cup are somewhat similar, but I much prefer the Peppermint Mocha.
  • I don’t buy hot chocolate, so I am not sure how their respective holiday versions stack up!

What’s your favorite? Any other coffee houses with good Christmas offerings?

Eggnog Season

Post ImageI mentioned earlier this month that the Starbucks Christmas Drinks are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, and the Eggnog Latte is far and away my favorite (a quick search reveals I mentioned this in 2004 too). I think it’s because I like Eggnog itself so much! Last night I went grocery shopping with Kim and Tom, and bought a litre of Eggnog. As I poured myself a glass in the office, Dickson (who hates eggnog, by the way) asked why they only sell it during the holidays. Good question, and I haven’t found a really good answer. This one is the best I could find:

Today eggnog is used in a very different way. Now stores only sell eggnog around the holidays because eggnog is seen strictly as a holiday drink. Wealthy Brits often celebrated eggnog because it was a new drink that would not spoil. Considering that refrigerators were not yet invented, this was a big deal. This may be an explanation for why it is only served around the time of cheer and celebration. For some, eggnog is a drink that is symbolic of the holiday season in general.

I also found an interesting eggnog history, a recipe for Holiday Eggnog from the Alberta Egg Producers, and a bunch more recipes for things like Chocolate Eggnog and Eggnog Martinis. If you want to try my favorite holiday drink, pour some rum into your eggnog!

Starbucks Eggnog Latte

Post ImageI really don’t like how stores start playing Christmas music and displaying decorations the day after Halloween, but one thing I do like is that Starbucks starts serving their Christmas drinks around this time of year. I am currently drinking my favorite, the Eggnog Latte, but they also have a Gingerbread Latte and Peppermint Mocha as part of the Christmas drink lineup. I am a complete eggnog addict, so this latte just hits the spot.

The barista told me that the red Christmas cups and all the other decorations and stuff will be arriving on November 10th. She also said that in many major cities in the US, they are leaving red cups on cars and other places with gift certificates (or something to that effect). I guess I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled when we’re in California this weekend.