We tried Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks' hottest holiday drink - and the winner is clear

Peppermint Latte 3

Hollis Johnson

As pumpkin spice is the sweet flavor of fall, peppermint is the refreshing taste of winter.

Holiday drinks have returned in full force and it's time for a peppermint mocha latte battle.

Previous taste tests have included Dunkin' Donuts, Panera Bread, Pret A Manger, and Starbucks - but Panera and Pret A Manger aren't serving peppermint mocha lattes this season.Advertisement

So, our holiday battle royale has become a duel between two coffee giants - Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks. Here's our taste test to see who serves the better warm holiday drink.

Marina Nazario contributed reporting on a previous version of this article.

Two coffee giants. Two minty lattes.

Two coffee giants. Two minty lattes.

Dunkin' Donuts narrowly won the battle for best pumpkin spice latte, so now the heat is on... literally.

Dunkin' Donuts narrowly won the battle for best pumpkin spice latte, so now the heat is on... literally.
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First up, Dunkin' Donuts. The aroma is deliciously light, but lacks a whiff of peppermint.

First up, Dunkin' Donuts. The aroma is deliciously light, but lacks a whiff of peppermint.

... And with one sip, we took double takes at the receipt. This latte has only the faintest flavor of peppermint — we questioned if it even was the right latte. The mocha and coffee flavor is present, albeit drowned in milk, but the peppermint is just an aftertaste. It's very weak — but cheap at $3.19 for a medium.

... And with one sip, we took double takes at the receipt. This latte has only the faintest flavor of peppermint — we questioned if it even was the right latte. The mocha and coffee flavor is present, albeit drowned in milk, but the peppermint is just an aftertaste. It's very weak — but cheap at $3.19 for a medium.
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Next, Starbucks. A medium costs $4.65, which is quite a price jump over Dunkin' Donuts.

Next, Starbucks. A medium costs $4.65, which is quite a price jump over Dunkin' Donuts.

But perhaps worth it. This peppermint mocha latte is sweet and rich, and it still tastes like coffee. The peppermint mocha flavor is balanced nicely between sweet and light mint with a robust chocolate taste.

But perhaps worth it. This peppermint mocha latte is sweet and rich, and it still tastes like coffee. The peppermint mocha flavor is balanced nicely between sweet and light mint with a robust chocolate taste.
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So who wins round two of the seasonal latte face off?

So who wins round two of the seasonal latte face off?

The battle of the peppermint mocha latte goes to Starbucks. Its rich, complex flavoring won our taste buds over. Dunkin' Donuts' drink is weak and milky in comparison. While our pumpkin spice latte faceoff was a close call between Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, this was an easy choice. Starbucks has a more distinct taste in correspondence to a peppermint mocha.

The battle of the peppermint mocha latte goes to Starbucks. Its rich, complex flavoring won our taste buds over. Dunkin' Donuts' drink is weak and milky in comparison. While our pumpkin spice latte faceoff was a close call between Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, this was an easy choice. Starbucks has a more distinct taste in correspondence to a peppermint mocha.
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One classic holiday favorite, but two very distinct tastes — Starbucks has taken back the crown.

One classic holiday favorite, but two very distinct tastes — Starbucks has taken back the crown.