Peppermint Mocha vs Pumpkin Spice: Battle of the Coffee


Art by Veronika Maynard

Esther Guevara and Madisyn Rummel, Reporter

This story was originally published in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 13th, 2021).

During the fall to winter transition, our typical pumpkin fall flavor slowly gets pushed aside by winter’s peppermint, forming two different types of drinks. Cold or hot versions of these flavors are available, which makes for a more diverse comparison. The two drinks being compared are Starbucks’s peppermint mocha and their pumpkin spice latte.

Peppermint Mocha
This very special holiday drink is seasonal. It gives off a hot chocolate-y taste rather than just being straight coffee but for those that prefer a stronger taste of coffee, like with most mochas you can ask for espresso shots to be added.

The peppermint flavor isn’t overwhelming at all, you can taste it in every sip as you take in the warmth it brings, reminding you of sipping hot cocoa with a tiny candy cane on the side by the Christmas tree. And maybe it’s because the cold, the iced peppermint mocha seems to have a stronger mint flavor (if that is something you enjoy).

This drink is obviously superior, the winter season and it’s classic flavors are loved by people all around the world – unlike pumpkin spice which is mostly associated with Thanksgiving, which is only an American holiday.

It’s winter so of course what better choice is there than the traditional peppermint – the clear and obvious choice out of the Starbucks seasonal drinks.

Whether cold or hot, the drink is delicious either way, and the perfect choice of a drink for the next time you find yourself in a Starbucks.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
The pumpkin spice latte has been a fall favorite for many years, becoming such a customer’s favorite that it was made a staple of a fall millennial stereotype.

Something about the balanced blend of cinnamon and pumpkin instantly brings you to a feeling of comfort and joy. This drink is a crowd favorite and isn’t easily messed up (I mean, how can you even mess up pumpkin?!).

The peppermint mocha on the other hand… is. It’s extremely difficult to perfect this flavor, and with every winter peppermint season rolls around, many restaurants remain unable to ace the technique of achieving wintery peppermint bliss, without tasting completely like toothpaste. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a drink that reminds me of brushing my teeth.

The pumpkin latte, if it will remind you of anything, it would remind you of pumpkin pie and warm, rich spices. The pumpkin spice latte is even served from August all the way to January. The longer timeframe clearly shows which drink the people are reaching for more, a further piece of proof of which drink is better.