On November 27, Starbucks debuted a new seasonal beverage: the Juniper Latte, promising a "wintry" forest-inspired espresso drink. As someone who can barely survive a day without a visit to the Seattle-based chain — er, I mean, in the interest of good journalism, I tried the Juniper Latte from Starbucks on its release day.



The photo above is the official image of what they say the drink will look like. This drink is part of the holiday collection, and it's a traditional latte with the addition of juniper syrup, which Starbucks describes as having "notes of juniper and sage." It's topped with a pine-citrus sugar, which they say has "an evergreen aroma and citrus notes."

The Reality

Julie Tremaine

Pictured above is the reality of what I ended up with. I'm giving them some leeway on the foam quality because I ordered ahead with the app — gotta get those stars — and because I substituted almond milk for regular milk. I also asked the barista for extra topping because I think all of mine sank by the time I picked my coffee up.

First Impressions

My first impression was that the flavor was subtle and not too sweet. Given how sugary and heavy-handed their other holiday beverages are (Caramel Brûlée Latte, I'm looking at you) I was expecting this coffee experience to be kind of like skiing down a mountain and getting whacked in the face with a pine tree branch. It was not.

It took me a few sips to start to get the pine scent, and a few more to get the juniper flavor. The more I drank, the more I liked it. All I kept thinking of was the clean, woodsy smell of a snowy nature walk. (To clarify, I like that activity a lot more in theory, while I'm drinking coffee in the comfort of my living room, than I do in the actual woods or snow.) 

Final Thoughts

So: all in all, 8/10, would recommend. If you're more of the Eggnog Latte sort, you probably won't like this coffee. But, if you're someone who already enjoys the subtlety of juniper and citrus in other combinations — like, say, in a gin and tonic — this drink is for you.