Review: Starbucks Holiday Spice Flat White (New/Limited Time Only)

Merry Christmas, Snobs!

We are here with another Christmasy review for you, our dear readers.  Think of it as our gift to you!

Starbucks has a new holiday drink for your pleasure (or substitute your own word for pleasure!).  We have already told you why we cover Starbucks (remember our review of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte), so we won’t do it again.  The bottom line is, we like coffee.  This drink is marketed at Christmas.  Good enough for us.

Starbucks’ website says, “Our new Holiday Spice Flat White combines Christmas Blend Espresso Roast with velvety-steamed whole milk infused with cinnamon, ginger and cloves. All together in perfect harmony. Happy holidays.”  The page that the second link takes you to describes it as, “Smooth ristretto shots of Christmas Blend Espresso Roast and perfectly steamed micro-foam are infused with warm holiday spices to create a festive version of an espresso classic.”

OK, people.  This is pushing our pissy limit.  But we shall go on…

We are absolutely NOT getting into a political debate here, people.  That said, we will mention that the drink uses the word ‘holiday’ in the title, but says that it is made with ‘Christmas’ blend.  Seems to us that Starbucks is pleasing everybody with that.  We approve.  Because we are easy to please.  We would be easier to please if this drink came with booze.  But that’s another story…

We went to our local Starbucks and ordered a grande.  That’s medium, for all of us normal people.  And here we have it…

IMG_20151222_132728662We tried to give you a nice closeup of the cup.  Why?  It may be kind of hard to see in the pic, but there was coffee (and some other sludgy looking stuff!) all over the cup.  Look, maybe all that matters is what is in the cup, but for the price that Starbucks charges, we would like a nicer presentation!  NO!  We are NOT being snobby!  We would just like a cup that doesn’t have sticky coffee pouring down the sides.  And yes, this is how it was when the “barista” handed it to us.  Not cool, Starbucks.

We opened the lid (but were hesitant.  This didn’t go so well last time!).

IMG_20151222_132826158Pretty?  You decide.  There was a pretty decent amount of foam on the top of the drink.  There is a white spot of steamed milk in the middle.  Nifty.

Take a closer look.

IMG_20151222_132902170Note that the cup was NOT full.  Again!  We don’t understand why.  There is no whipped cream being added to this drink.  Surely, people will not add cream.  FILL THE CUP, YOU CHEAP BASTARDS!  There is no excuse for this.  Starbucks charges a FORTUNE.  This is ridiculous.  And this isn’t the worst we have seen.

IMG_20151222_132949926Herman expertly moved the foam to the side to get a good shot of the drink itself.  In the actual liquid, you can clearly see spices.  We suppose this is a good thing.

We should quickly mention that while taking these pictures (thanks, Herman!), we noticed the smell of the drink.  The aroma certainly is that of Christmas spices.  Whatever the hell that means.  It struck us as a Christmasy smell, anyway.  Cool.

So, we tried it.


That would be the best way we can describe this drink.  It is just bland.  There is virtually no flavor, people!  There is a slight coffee flavor, but it is VERY subtle.  Herman thought the flavor was a little bitter, like he would expect from espresso.  Herman thought the coffee part was ok, but nothing spectacular.  Denny thought the coffee part tasted fine, but there needed to be more of it.  A LOT more of it.

That leads us to the most amazingly sad part.  We could not taste the spices AT ALL.  We could smell them, but we could not taste them at all!  The spices are completely undetectable.  This doesn’t even make sense to us.

The main problem here is that the dominant flavor is the steamed milk.  It tastes like a glass of warm milk!  That’s it!

We mentioned that we ordered a medium…excuse us…grande.  The cost before tax was $4.95.

Look, we know Startbucks is expensive.  We don’t expect it to be cheap.  But well over five bucks with tax for what amounts to a cup of warm milk is insane.  It is stupid insane.

Needless to say, we won’t be getting this drink again.  It isn’t very good.  It costs way too much.  There is nothing to recommend it.

Save your money and go microwave a cup of milk.  Put it towards your Christmas gifts.  Send us some, too.  We take donations.  And beer.

We hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!