Welcome to the second part of the Holiday Edition of Coffee Wars! In this death match, I will be looking at two different hot chocolates that are only available this time of year. Again, I am pitting Starbucks against Second Cup – who will come out victorious? Like the previous caffeinated battle, I will be judging the two drinks upon appearance, flavour balance, and overall enjoyment.
Second Cup’s Candy Cane Hot Chocolate
Again, I’d like to note that despite the fact that I love Second Cup, I’m going to try to not be biased.
I want to point out first before I forget that I don’t believe this drink really tastes like a candy cane. Now while some people may find that to be a hindrance or work against this hot chocolate, I think it’s a definite plus as far as taste goes. I have to admit, I really hate candy canes. I don’t mind the taste of mint or peppermint or anything, but I suppose pretty much every candy cane I’ve ever had has been a little stale. That or they just taste kind of gross. Thankfully this hot chocolate does not taste like stale, year old, mint candy that has been sitting on the shelf for a whole year before it was sold. This hot chocolate is made with the white hot chocolate, so it is a fairly sweet drink. The whipped cream really adds to the richness of it too. I find that the peppermint flavouring added to it is subtle enough to not be overpowering. On that note though, it’s not a super strong flavour either, so if you’re looking for something mintier, this may not be for you. Appearance wise, I think all of Second Cup’s drinks look really nice, they always take extra care to make it presentable. There aren’t any additional “garnishes” for this drink, but I don’t think it really needs any. With any of the hot chocolates, whether it be the holiday one, or the regular one, they are very sweet, so I find that a small one is sufficient.
Appearance – 4/5
Flavour Balance – 3.5/5
Overall Enjoyment – 4/5
Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Starbucks has a few different holiday hot chocolates, and for this edition of Coffee Wars, I picked my favourite of their bunch. Like Second Cup’s hot chocolate, this one is very sweet as well. I have to say I think this one is sweeter; a coworker of mine tried it and had a “sweet overload” (he was flipping out a little). This is surprisingly one of the few extremely sweet drinks I can really tolerate. I think it really has a lot to do with the salted caramel part of the drink. I know it sounds kind of gross, but I love sweet and salty combinations, it’s just amazing. I think the saltiness of the caramel really makes the extreme sweetness bearable. I also like how this one isn’t really in your face about being a holiday drink – it’s not really festive or anything, but it’s only available this time of year. Bastards. Presentation wise, I love the combination of the caramel and the salt on top – it just finishes the drink really nicely. And like I said, I definitely am not one to enjoy really sweet drinks, but this is one I can drink a bit more often than I probably should, it’s just really tasty.
Appearance – 5/5
Flavour Balance – 4.5/5
Overall Enjoyment – 5/5
After tallying the scores with my super advanced score tallying machine (ok, it’s a calculator), I have determined that for this edition of Coffee Wars, the victor is Starbucks. Though it is a much sweeter drink, the more unique flavour makes it a much more memorable drink – and it is definitely one that I find myself getting a craving for.
Oh, and I wanted to apologize for the delay again, a lot of crap going in my life! But hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track 🙂 Have a great weekend! Oh and remember to check back tomorrow for the community networking meme!