There is enough caffeine in my body to keep me awake up to Christmas. After trying every festive drink in the high street, I am now running on coffee and Christmas cheer, constantly smell like cinnamon and spice, and type surprisingly fast. After finishing Starbucks and Cafe Nero, there was one place left to walk into.
Admittedly someone could say I am a bit biased about Costa. I have found refuge in its warm surroundings during lunch breaks, existential dilemmas, moments of calmness, turbulence, creativity, lazy afternoons and answer-seeking-outside-of-window-staring.
I wrote the first post of this blog in a Costa, the very Costa I am sitting in now, on my favourite table, with a sweet treat and a festive cup next to me; so, someone might be right to assume that I would be biased towards it, but I assure you, I am not. I put on my research goggles on, my journalistic integrity badge shining on my lapel, and a steely determination to end the quest for the perfect festive drink in check.
With the most options in the festive menu, Costa would be a mountain of festive tastes; if you saw it as the Everest of Christmas drinks, I was Edmund Hillary, ready to conquer it. I walked in, looked at the menu, and decided to start from the beginning:
My first drink was the Chocolate and Orange Mocha Latte, a drink that literally left me speechless, with a moustache of foamy deliciousness framing my content smile. I have to say that I could not bring myself to order something else the next day I went, so I thought I had already found my favourite. The taste was a tiny bit too strong towards the end, but it did deserve a 8/10, no doubt about it.
The rehabilitation for my addiction to this great latte started with the White Hot Chocolate, and this is the point where you hear the needle scratch the record and sit and watch the tumble weeds roll through. I did not really enjoy it, as I found the consistency quite bland and sometimes lumpy, and had to agree with some harsh words on my Instagram about it. For that reason I gave it a 5/10.
If my trust was shaken even for one moment, it was swiftly restored after my first gulp of the Gingerbread Latte. Coming with a lovely mini gingerbread man, it was like Christmas in a cup. I gave it an 8/10, and had it again the next two days.
This is why the baristas were surprised when I ordered the the Black Forest Hot Chocolate next. Now, I have to explain that I do not like black forrest cakes, and I am not a huge fun of cherry flavours; even so, it was delicious, and deserves a 7/10.
The Salted Caramel Latte was a refreshing option, but I have to say that it was not my favourite, as I found that the salted caramel was not coming off strong enough. A subtle flavour though, good consistency and a good after taste, so overall 6/10.
Just as I was ready to crown the chocolate and orange mocha latte my favourite Christmas drink, I noticed I had not ordered the Honeycomb and Cream Hot Chocolate. So, I thought of getting it out of the way, ordered it, went to my table, took a bite of my poppyseed muffin (I would not have it by itself now, would I?), and then almost absent-mindedly took a sip. OMG. All capital, loud, bold, three lettered OMG. A strong flavour with a subtle effect. Creamy, frothy, and simply delicious. The best part about it was the after taste: it achieved what every other drink I tried during the past few weeks didn’t: leaving a subtle pleasant hint. It was love at first gulp, so I gave it a 9/10.
So there it is: I had a winner! After trying every coffee in the high street, my top 3 are:
1) Honeycomb and Cream Hot Chocolate from Costa
2) Chocolate and Orange Mocha Latte from Costa
3) Praline Latte from Cafe Nero
I also wanted to give an honourable mention to the Gingerbread Muffin from Costa. It is seriously the best thing you have tried, and my moans during eating it make Meg Ryan look like a nun at ‘When Harry Met Sally‘. Try it now, thank me later.