Starbucks vs. Caribou: Which has Better Holiday Drinks?


Y'Lan Aloi

This years’ Starbucks and Caribou holiday cups.

Holiday themed drinks from coffee shops have become analogous with the beginning of the holiday season. It is no surprise nothing has changed this year, as Starbucks and Caribou have released new festive drinks and decorations that are sure to spark holiday cheer. These cheerful types of drinks get people excited and bring happiness into the upcoming season.

Coffee shops gain a lot of customers because of their holiday drink lines. Popular holiday flavors include peppermint, eggnog, and white chocolate. Many students, such as seniors Leslie Godinez and Cat Dowden, go to Starbucks and Caribou numerous times a week, so they are familiar with the holiday drink menus. “I go to Starbucks or Caribou around four times a week. It’s like a warm treat in the winter,” Dowden said.

Currently, Starbucks has two more holiday drinks on their menu than Caribou. Although Starbucks has more drinks, Godinez thinks they could have even more to choose from. “I wish there was more variety. There’s only like six. There could always be more options,” Godinez said.

Though Starbucks and Caribou compete with each other year-round, the holiday season gets especially intense. People who favor Caribou Coffee over Starbucks often state that the coffee is of higher quality than Starbucks. To Dowden, the main difference boils down to the quality of ingredients. “I like Caribou better because their coffee is better and they use real chocolate in their drinks instead of chocolate syrup,” Dowden said.

Godinez loves peppermint drinks for the holiday season. “My favorite is the peppermint mocha with two pumps of peppermint instead of four…it’s chocolatey, but then it’s refreshing because it’s minty after. I like it better than Caribou’s Ho Ho Mint Mocha because there isn’t enough caffeine in it for me,” Godinez said.

Marketing is a huge factor during the holiday drink season. Holiday marketing brings sentimental value, outstanding discounts, cheerful drinks, and new cup designs to new and prospective consumers. Although Dowden is a regular customer at Caribou for their holiday drinks line thinks that Caribou needs to step it up with their marketing game. “I think Starbucks does a better job with marketing, but Starbucks has been lacking with their holiday drink cups. Caribou has cuter holiday cups than Starbucks,” Godinez said.