It’s holiday season, and every college girl knows what that means: red cups. Not the Solo kind, though; the Starbucks kind.

This year, Starbucks has introduced a new drink to their line of wintry seasonal beverages, one with just enough sugar to coat your throat and enough spice to make you reminiscent of childhood Christmases past.

The new Chestnut Praline Latte has joined the Holiday Favorites family (of beverages). And it’s actually pretty good.

Unlike the Peppermint Mocha or the Caramel Brulée, which are both a little far on the sweet side, the Chestnut Praline offers the holiday taste without the sickening sugar rush afterwards – a drink you can enjoy for your daily caffeine fix and not just for dessert.


Photo by Lindsey Law

As in any Starbucks flavored latte, the espresso is wholly hidden by pumps of syrup, steamed milk and a light coat of foam on top. But what sets the Chestnut Praline apart from the rest is its lighter taste, with more spice than sweet, evoking a desire to sit by a fire in a log cabin somewhere in the mountains instead of being stuck studying in a Starbucks cafe. Crystallized caramel that Starbucks calls “spiced praline crumbs” on top of the drink’s foamy whip give it an extra touch of “handcrafted” but stick around at the bottom even after you’ve finished your drink. All this deliciousness comes at a price, however– with 330 calories and 13 grams of fat in a grande (16-oz) drink, you may just want to go for an actual bag of pralines. Substitute nonfat milk for 2% and axe the whip, and your treat is down to 210 calories and fat-free.

With more praline than chestnut, this latte is the drink version of candied nuts at the fair minus the incredible smell, but still earns a solid 4 out of 5 stars. In addition to latte form, Chestnut Praline is also available as a Frappuccino or as an additional flavor for an iced coffee. Definitely try it this holiday season!