Reviewing Caribou Coffee’s Holiday Menu


Rachael Driskill

Many Caribou locations have already rolled out their holiday cups and sleeves, but a few still have regular ones to use up. The holiday ones feature a winter scene and bright red sleeves.

One of the many things that minnesotans look forward to every holiday season is the release of the Caribou Coffee Holiday menu. The main focus of this yearly release, though it does contain a wide selection of holiday themed Caribou merchandise, is the 3 beverages and the single bakery item.

The “Ho Ho Mint Mocha” is by far the most popular of these three beverages. Available hot, iced, blended, crafted, or as a “nitro” cold press (a draft cold brew infused with nitrogen), it mixes white chocolate with mint for a candy cane-like flavour. For those who enjoy coffee a little less than others, the nitro and the blended both contain far less caffeine than the others. While it is a very popular option, the mint is very prominent, which may be troublesome for those with a more sensitive palate. For those with less of a sweet tooth, the crafted press is a popular choice. It contains a great deal less chocolate and mint, and uses a drip coffee and cream base instead of espresso.

For lovers of Mexican hot chocolate, the “Spicy Mocha” is a great option from the holiday menu. It is also available in the hot, iced, blended, crafted, and nitro options. The default chocolate for this one is milk chocolate instead of white, but like all other beverages that can be substituted for white or dark. It’s essentially just a typical mocha, but with a spicy mix added. It is only mildly piquant, but for those really sensitive to spice it may not be your best bet. The spicy powder also contains a significant amount of sugar, so the spicy mocha does end up being sweeter than your typical mocha. The spice in the mix does pair remarkably well with the sweetness of the chocolate, but this isn’t a beverage to get as a side for a meal, as the flavours are likely to drown out anything else.

The last of the three returning holiday beverages on the Caribou menu is the “Fa La Latte”. It’s only available in hot, iced, and nitro form, because instead of using milk or cooler base like the other drinks on this list it uses eggnog. It’s made up of eggnog and espresso (or nitro cold brew in the case of the nitro Fa La Latte). One of the more common complaints about this holiday staple is that the eggnog makes it extremely thick, but if you enjoy eggnog on its own it’s a great choice. If you love the taste of eggnog but want it less thick, the iced form is a better choice as the majority of the space in the drink is taken up by espresso and ice, and thus ends up more fluid than its hot or nitro counter parts.

Gingerbread is also making a comeback this winter at Caribou. Made of soft gingerbread with a vanilla icing, if you enjoy ginger and cinnamon this bakery item is a tasty holiday treat. The notes of molasses stand out stupendously, and it really does taste like the holidays. It does however have the negative of being very dense and can be quite dry, so it is better paired with a drink of some sorts.