Peppermint takeover: Seasonal holiday coffee returns to US chains

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Dunkin' will reinstate the Peppermint Mocha after leaving it off its 2018 holiday menu.
Dunkin' will reinstate the Peppermint Mocha after leaving it off its 2018 holiday menu.

Related tags Coffee Seasonal Christmas flavor trends

Major coffee chains in the US have reintroduced their seasonal offerings for the holidays, including new peppermint, caramel and mocha-flavored launches.

A new season marks new opportunity for beverage, and winter is known for its indulgent flavors and hot drinks. From peppermint and gingerbread syrups to creamers and spice blends, coffee shines in the colder months.


The number one coffee chain in the US made its customers wait an extra week this year before kicking off its holiday festivities. Last year, Starbucks flipped from autumn to winter on November 2, but in 2019 its Christmas menu didn’t kick in until November 7.

starbs holiday 2019

It brought back its popular reusable cup initiative for a second year--on November 7, customers could receive a free limited edition red cup with the purchase of a handcrafted holiday beverage of any size.

Through January 7, customers can bring the reusable cups back to Starbucks and receive $0.50 off Grande-size holiday drinks after 2pm. Four new holiday-themed paper cup designs will also be available throughout the season.

All the Starbucks winter classics drinks are back, including the Peppermint Mocha, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Chestnut Praline Latte, Caramel Brulée Latte and Eggnog Latte.

Also returning are Starbucks’ bagged coffees in Christmas Blend, Christmas Blend Espresso, Christmas Blend Blonde, Reserve Christmas and Holiday Blend. The seasonal food items include the Turkey & Stuffing Panini, Cranberry Bliss Bar, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, Snowman Cookie, Gingerbread Loaf and holiday Cake Pops.

Jen Quotson, VP of Starbucks Creative, said “We came up with this idea of wrapping the stores in holiday joy and wrapping the cups like a gift to our partners and customers. We wanted coming to Starbucks to be like uncovering a present.”

In retail, shoppers can find Starbucks-branded seasonal products like the Holiday Blend K-Cup Packs, Holiday Spice Cold Brew Pitcher Packs, Peppermint Mocha Flavored Ground Coffee, Peppermint Mocha Latte K-Cup Packs, Holiday Cookie Straws and VIA Instant Peppermint Mocha Latte.

dunkin xmas 4


Dunkin’s 2019 holiday lineup is its largest yet, featuring new bright pink, snowflake-covered cups available throughout the season. Dunkin’ said the design was inspired by the ‘unbridled joy’ of childhood that can be ‘overshadowed by adult pressures.’

The full Dunkin’ winter menu rolled out to stores nationwide between November 4-6, anchored by the return of the Peppermint Mocha flavor. Dunkin’ left it out of its holiday rotation in 2018 but decided to include it this year after hearing consumer feedback.

Four new signature lattes join Dunkin’ this year--Holiday Eggnog, Merry Mocha Mint, Toasted Gingerbread and Frosted White Chocolate. Returning are Caramel Craze and Cocoa Mocha, and all are available hot or iced.

The holiday flavors--Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread S’mores and Winter White Chocolate--can be added to Dunkin’s hot or iced coffee, Cold Brew, espresso drinks, frozen coffee and frozen chocolate.

A new Holiday Brownie Crumble Donut will join Dunkin’s other donuts “dressed in their holiday best, with classic varieties decked out for the season with dark green icing drizzle and festive Holiday Blend sprinkles.”

Peet’s Coffee

The seasonal drinks offered in Peet’s Coffee locations take inspiration from citrus and festive mulling spices, the craft roaster said. A new Citrus and Spice Latte joins the return of Peet’s Dark Chocolate Orange Mocha, Holiday Spice Latte and Peppermint Mocha.


Patrick Main, beverage innovator at Peet's Coffee, said "We are so excited to unveil our Citrus and Spice Latte, which we infuse with real baking spices and our very own Fiori di Sicilia, a syrup made with natural flavors of bright citrus, sweet vanilla, and subtle orange blossom.”

"The same festive citrus flavor carries through in our returning Dark Chocolate Orange Mocha, mixed with Peet's house-made chocolate sauce and additional unsweetened Dutch cocoa steamed into fresh milk. With all our holiday beverage offerings, we are using innovative techniques and real ingredients to capture the warm and bright mood of the season."

The brand’s bagged Holiday Blend coffee is made with ‘the year’s best beans.’ Peet’s said its 2019 edition includes coffees from Kenya, Sumatra, and Panama for a stout and spicy dark roast with festive fruity notes.

Peet's will donate $2 to No Kid Hungry for every pound of Holiday Blend sold in coffeebars and on during Giving Week (December 1-7). 

Doug Welsh, roastmaster at Peet's Coffee, said "This big hearty blend takes months to complete because we create it from scratch and only from the year's most spectacular beans. This year, the superb, silky and cassisrippled Kenya also brings brown sugar and blackberry tones to complement Panama's sweet Meyer lemon top notes and Sumatra's syrupy depths.”

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