Starbucks Holiday 2014: So many new mugs, tumblers, Starbucks cards, and the Chestnut Praline Latte is officially unveiled.
Today marks the official launch of the 2014 holiday season at Starbucks. There are so many things to mention, it’s hard to know where to start!
CHESTNUT PRALINE LATTE:
Today marks the official first day of the new Starbucks holiday beverage: the Chestnut Praline Latte. While the drink had a “soft launch” (meaning that it was not advertised but available upon request) as of November 8th, today is the firm start of the all-new seasonal beverage.
It’s absolutely delicious. You can get it hot, iced, or as a Frappuccino. I’ve always said that Starbucks is the king of delicious drink toppings and this is no exception. It’s not too sweet either, which is nice.
CHRISTMAS BLEND AND HOLIDAY BLEND:
Christmas Blend and Holiday Blend have arrived in stores. (You’ll also find whole bean Espresso Roast Christmas Blend in Starbucks stores, which is a darker roast version of Christmas Blend).
To eliminate confusion, I want to simply state that Christmas Blend and Holiday Blend are NOT the same coffee. I’ve overheard many partners telling customers that Holiday Blend is Christmas Blend in different packaging. That simply is bad information. I think I know where that comes from: I think many many years ago, Starbucks did repackage Christmas Blend as Holiday Blend but that is not the case now.
Christmas Blend has been a consistent favorite for 30 years, and its hallmark is the spicy aged Sumatra coffee beans. Notice that StarbucksStore.com describes Christmas Blend as a dark roast blend of “lively Latin American beans, mellow Indonesian coffees, and rare aged Sumatra.” It is “full bodied and bold,” and “spicy and sweet.”
Holiday Blend is a “balanced blend of coffees from Latin America and Indonesia, layered with herbal and sweet maple notes.” Notice that it does NOT have aged Sumatra beans in it. This makes a dramatic difference in how it will taste. It won’t have the spicy flavor that is the cornerstone of Christmas Blend. Holiday Blend is a medium roast coffee described as “balanced, smooth, and rich.”
Holiday Blend might not be found at smaller Starbucks locations.
Christmas Blend is one of my favorites and this year’s is absolutely delicious. It’s great from the Clover brewer, and the Espresso Roast Christmas Blend makes a great shot of coffee. I admit, I definitely buy the Verismo version of Christmas Blend every year too.
Please don’t get tripped up thinking the two coffees are the same. 🙂
(I am enjoying a Clover-brewed Christmas Blend right now as I write this. Delicious. Not too spicy but incredibly bold and flavorful. Best year for Christmas Blend in years, and I happen to particularly like this year’s made via the Clover.)
LOTS OF NEW STARBUCKS CARDS:
There are so many new Starbucks cards that I don’t know where to start.
One thing to point out is the beautiful mini sterling silver Starbucks card. Each (company-operated) store received a small supply of them. These little cards are $200 each and will be activated with $50 on it.
The actual cards are kept behind the counter, so you’ll have to ask your local barista if they have them available for purchase. These were briefly online at StarbucksStore.com but quickly sold out online.
At the register area of every Starbucks, there are small number of this year’s “core” Starbucks holiday cards, which should easily be found at Starbucks stores everywhere.
Many stores received an extra selection of cards. There were two different displays sent to stores: a display of 33 new cards and a display of 99 new cards (which includes the same cards in the display of 33 cards). You might find something like this at your local store:
NEW MUGS: (The Dot Collection)
There are an overwhelming number of new mugs. From what I’ve heard, each of the 99 cards has a corresponding mug or tumbler to pair it with, though I’m not convinced that there are matches for all the cards to tumblers. There are some matches though. Look for signs for the “Dot Collection.”
IGNITE THE WARMTH:
Even the pastry bags get a holiday look this year. I particularly like this year’s pastry bags. They say “Ignite the Warmth” on them. In 1998, the Starbucks store holiday theme for Christmas Blend was “Embrace the Warmth.” I think “Ignite the Warmth” is a nice modernization of that. Though it’s quite possible that the current designers of the pastry sacks weren’t thinking about 1998 at all, but I still like it and want to point it out.
PEPPERMINT BARK and PEPPERMINT COOKIE CHOCOLATE BITES:
You’ll find little treats in stores called Peppermint Bark, and separately, there are tubes of little Peppermint Cookie Chocolate Bites.
Every year these tend to be surprisingly delicious little treats, and this year doesn’t disappoint. The Peppermint Cookie Bites have the right amount of crunch and a lot of peppermint flavor. I feel like the Peppermint Bark changes a little from year to year, and this year’s tastes a bit like a white chocolate candy cane. In fact, it appears to be a mix of milk chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint flavors, and candy cane shaves atop it. I’m sure none of this is good for my waistline, but then most of the holiday season is bad for the American waistline.
HOLIDAY REUSABLE 2 DOLLAR CUP:
If you use one of the plastic, reusable cups, you can now get a seasonal version of it, for two dollars. The $1 plastic reusable Starbucks cup was first introduced in the fall of 2012, and has been so successful that it is still offered.
Starbucks offers a ten cent discount on your beverages when you bring your own cup. There official policy is that there is no cup discount when you use the store’s for-here ware (though I’m aware that some baristas will give the ten cent discount to customers, nonetheless.) And there is no discount when you’re buying ready-to-drink beverages from the cold case in the store.
That’s it for now! I have highlighted some things you’ll find inside Starbucks stores right now. I will end up writing about the holiday offerings again soon – I still have to talk about the special holiday food too!
Please weigh in!
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@Charlotte – Hi there. It looks like customer service gave you the right information. No Christmas Bearista bears this year for either the US or Canada, though they continue to be produced for certain Asian markets. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen very many people complaining about the lack of Bearista Bears, though I certainly know those bears have their loyal following.
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Do you know how many (or rather, what %) of stores got the displays of 99/33 cards? I went to many Starbucks looking for them, and only found 2 with 99 cards and none with 33 cards.
I collect Starbucks cards, but don’t find it practical to try to get all 99 of them. 😛 So I’m just trying to focus on my favorites, and trying to do things the right way by putting $5 on each card and then transferring the balance to my main card. I have 11. I’ll probably end up with no more than 20 or so. Although this creates more work for both me and the barista. There are a couple of cards I’ve taken when activating a couple at a time (like 1 for every 3 or 4 cards actually loaded), but most of them I load.
Also…only a few of the 99 cards say 2014 limited edition. Does this suggest that most of the cards will come back next holiday season (or at some other point next year?)
So, we still don’t have the Holiday Blend here in Chicago. So tonight I finally asked for it. I was told that Christmas Blend and Holiday Blend are the same coffee in different packaging and each location will only be getting one or the other. We won’t be getting Holiday Blend in Chicago. The barista said they had a meeting on it.
@Carol – Your story makes me cringe a bit.I’m sorry that your partners got it wrong. If they even looked at what StarbucksStore.com says about Holiday Blend and Christmas Blend, they would know that they are two different coffees. They are NOT the same coffee in different packaging. It’s like a bad urban legend.
It is true that Holiday Blend was sent only to the much larger, busier Starbucks stores. It’s possible that stores near you didn’t get it.
Thank you for the comment.
I have been collecting the bears for years.This really upsets me.And this is a product that every time I did not buy it right away they were sold out. This is so sad..
jeff from costa mesa
as a follow-up to my previous post about the limit of one 8oz bag per customer. I returned to the store last week and was able to buy to two bags. the partner admitted that there was some confusion at the beginning of the Xmas product release in regards to qty limits. balance has been restored to the universe and I am enjoying my Christmas Blend again…
I am disappointed about the Bearista Bears as well. No 2014 bear sold in US. I am collecting them since 2005.
I wasted hours today looking for Beears as well…a Huge disappointment sine I’ve made a tradition buying these for my wife and 2 daughters for many years…
If I’d known this a month back the I would have sought them out on the open market.
Seems Starbucks could have we this info out via their App easy enough…
Yesterday, I’ve discussed about Christmas and Holiday Blend, somebody tells me that are same. Thank you, it helps me to be correct.
Melody – I did look at the coffees on the Starbucks Store and could easily see that they were completely different. We finally found Holiday Blend at 24 hour Starbucks. They were having a Buy One, Get One Free and we got last two bags. And then when we were back at our regular store, I saw that barista and he said the day after he told me that, he found out that THIS year it was different. 🙂
@Carol – It’s been different for the past 2 or 3 years, though for many years they were the same. I’m glad you found it – it’s late in the year for that. Enjoy! Hope you’re well and thank you for the comment!
Treasures By Brenda
Thanks for sharing your finds. I didn’t realize Starbucks had a reusable cup that you could buy. I am sorry to read that there wasn’t a teddy bear. That’s disappointing for sure to customers.
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So what is the deal with the 2014 Christmas bearista bears? I just spoke with someone at Starbucks customer service who said the bears were NOT made this year. However, when I google 2014 holiday bear Starbucks — I see images. We they made for the Asian market perhaps, as I see Japan and Thailand mentioned in the posts? How come more people aren’t complaining about this? I know people who’ve been collecting these little gems for years. First the JL Hudsons Co. Santa bear, now this. Bummer.