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Photograph: Dutch Bros

Which coffee chain has the best holiday drinks in the USA?

We ranked America’s largest coffee chains to find the most festive holiday drinks of the season

Written by
Emilee Lindner

If you’re keen to caffeinate this time of year, it’s smart to investigate the best holiday drinks at Starbucks and Dunkin’ — but these nationwide favorites alone don’t have every peppermint mocha enthusiast wrapped around their mittened fingers. In fact, several other U.S. coffee chains are even giving Starbs a run for its money with Santa-approved beverages guaranteed to give you a jolly jolt.

Tim Hortons, Peet’s, Dutch Bros, and other on-the-go chains have seasonal, sugar-dusted menus that’ll keep you buzzing while you’re Christmas shopping this year. The options range from drinks inspired by Christmas cookies to famous holiday spirits (like eggnog) and concoctions that sound like famous Christmas songs (like the Fa La Latte).

Ready to sample this season’s drinks for yourself? Below, we’ve ranked each of America’s largest chains’ tastiest holiday drink menus — see who comes out with whipped cream on top!

RECOMMENDED: visit the best Christmas towns in the USA

Best holiday drinks in the USA

Biggby Coffee
Photograph: Biggby Coffee

1. Biggby Coffee

Michigan-based chain Biggby Coffee has the most over-the-top seasonal menu — it seems like it comes straight from the North Pole. From their Snow Mint Mocha to their Eggnog Creme Freeze and Sweet Foam Cookie Butter Cold Brew, there’s a caffeine boost for every palate. For the record, their regular menu features over 50 different lattes alone, so going big is always part of the equation at Biggby Coffee. They also list things like love, smiles, and joy as ingredients for drinks (...does Buddy the Elf work here?), so we have a cozy feeling that Biggby has exactly what you need to get into the holiday spirit this year.

Our ranking: 10 out of 10 candy canes

Dutch Bros
Photograph: Dutch Bros

2. Dutch Bros

Oregon’s Dutch Bros is a relative newcomer. Their first franchise opened in 2000, but now they have locations up and down the West Coast and as far east as Texas. Dutch Bros has a sleighful of festive drinks on their seasonal menu: a Hazelnut Truffle Mocha, a Salted Caramel Breve, a White Chocolate Chai Latte (with whipped cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg), a Cinnamon Swirl Oat Milk Latte, and a Peppermint Bliss Cold Brew (white chocolate and peppermint with candy cane sprinkles). They also have something completely unique: the Glacier Peak Rebel holiday energy drink. 

Our ranking: 8 out of 10 candy canes

Photograph: Starbucks Coffee Company

3. Starbucks

Each year, the switch from pumpkin spice to peppermint is a big event. Starbucks — the world’s largest coffee chain — takes holiday cheer seriously, which is reflected in its holiday menu. This year’s signature offerings include the beloved Peppermint Mocha, a Chestnut Praline Latte, a Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino (with whipped cream and sugar sprinkles), an Irish Cream Cold Brew (with sweet cream cold foam and a touch of cocoa powder), and a Caramel Brulée Latte. And, new for 2021, an Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte takes the menu over the top. Oh, and don’t forget to get the reusable red cup to help cut down on single-use cup waste.

Our ranking: 7 out of 10 candy canes

4. Caribou Coffee

Founded in Edina, Minnesota, Caribou Coffee understands the cure for the winter blues — their three seasonal drinks are sure to warm your body and spirit. For starters, their Ho Ho Mint Mocha is a classic combination of espresso and mint that’s topped with whipped cream and candy cane bits. Next up is their Fa La Latte, a drink made with espresso and steamed eggnog topped with whipped cream and nutmeg. And if you really need some heat, there’s also the Spicy Mocha, a bold espresso drink with real melted chocolate, ancho chile, and chipotle flavors.

Our ranking: 6 out of 10 candy canes

Photograph: Clint Blowers courtesy of Dunkin'

5. Dunkin’

While Dunkin’s holiday beverages are nationwide favorites, their seasonal menu is surprisingly on the smaller side. There’s a Peppermint Mocha Latte (of course), and two new drinks for 2021: a Toasted White Chocolate Latte (topped with whipped cream, caramel, and cinnamon sugar) and a White Mocha Hot Chocolate. Both sound tasty, but they don’t necessarily scream of holiday spirit, either. Dunkin’ also has a new Holiday Blend Coffee with notes of molasses and dried fruit, which feels like a solid stocking stuffer for your Dunkin-obsessed relatives.

Our ranking: 5 out of 10 candy canes

6. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s seasonal menu has two main flavors: Peppermint Mocha (have you noticed a trend yet?) and Speculoos Cookie Butter. Both are available in a few different forms, including latte, iced latte, and also a blended drink with whipped cream and cookie crumbles on top. For the non-coffee drinkers, there’s also a Winter Dream Tea Latte that blends black tea, rooibos, vanilla, and sweet spice. It’s not exactly mind-blowing stuff, but these drinks will work in a pinch.

Our ranking: 4 out of 10 candy canes

Peet’s Coffee
Photograph: Peet's Coffee

7. Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee, which is based in San Francisco, also has its own Peppermint Mocha (available hot or iced) on its small holiday menu, but edges out Tim Hortons with the addition of Holiday Spice Lattes. The options range from cinnamon to ginger, cloves, and nutmeg (can’t you just smell it already?) in a latte or frappe, and the holiday spices have us feeling warm and cozy already! Peet’s has the added bonus of a holiday blend (with notes of blackcurrant, dark chocolate, and spices), which you can brew right at home.

Our ranking: 4 out of 10 candy canes

8. Tim Hortons

While Tim Hortons wrangled Justin Bieber with their recent TimBieb collab (for limited edition flavors of their Timbit donut holes), their holiday drink menu lacks the same star power. The Canadian chain’s selection of seasonal beverages includes a few variations of the season's quintessential peppermint mocha, but they don’t go over the top with crafty Christmas drinks (they all come with a sprinkling of peppermint pieces, which isn’t terribly exciting). Grab a festive drink if you’re already in the store picking up some TimBiebs merch (yes, we’re serious), but don’t hold out for an entire menu’s worth of holiday options.

Our ranking: 3 out of 10 candy canes


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