It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least it is for all you coffee connoisseurs and lovers of hot chocolate on campus. If you're like me, you live for that time of year where the shops begin to play Christmas music and it starts to get chilly and the perfect thing to warm you up is a Christmas coffee. Well, lucky enough for you I’ve tried a selection of Christmas coffees and hot chocolates on campus, so I can guide you.
On campus, there are only two places that will serve you your perfect Christmas coffee and that is Starbucks in RGU Sport and the Costas found in the Sir Ian Wood Building, the Aberdeen Business School, The Faculty of Health and Social Care as well as Gray’s School of Art.
Automatically Costa is winning the most points for convenience, there is almost a Costa in every building on campus and if not, you tend to pass one or two on your way to the Annex. Whereas, RGU Sport is a little less convenient to get to unless you’re on your way to a lecture in ABS or heading home after a gym session.
This year both Starbucks and Costa have released similar drinks. Starbucks have released a Gingerbread Latte and the Toffee Nut which was already available, but, was lacking some key ingredients such as the sprinkles on top which should be available soon (the barista assured me). Meanwhile, Costa has not only brought their Christmas cups to campus but also a selection of eleven drinks including a Gingerbread Latte and the decadent Billionaire Hot Chocolate. Both companies also offer similar prices to students so there’s no need to go breaking the bank in one of the more mainstream stores in Union Square.
But which is better? I will go to my grave saying that Starbucks coffee is better than Costa. It’s a nicer blend and has a better taste but having had both a Gingerbread Latte in Starbucks and in Costa on campus my taste buds much prefer the latter. The simple addition of whipped cream and gingerbread sprinkles on top makes this a drink worth every sip while the Starbucks version left me unimpressed and lacking in Christmas spirit. I’m not a coffee snob but some coffee’s taste simply better than others and this is the case for Costa's Gingerbread Latte.
As far as hot chocolate is concerned any hot chocolate is good but if its Christmas hot chocolate you are looking for Costa is the way to go - they have more choice. With hot chocolate at Costa, you can choose from a Billionaire, Mint, Lindt or Black Forest hot chocolate. The billionaire hot chocolate is based on millionaire shortbread and it tastes exactly like that; it’s chocolatey, caramelly, and, it has shortbread crumbs throughout the drink. The mint hot chocolate is simplistic, it’s just a hot chocolate drink with a few pumps of peppermint syrup, it's subtle, but there’s a hint there and it’s topped with green sprinkles and whipped cream, however, it's not my favourite. The Lindt version was even less impressive than the mint, it just tasted like normal hot chocolate and not worth the title of a Christmas drink.
And if this hasn’t convinced you that Costa’s Christmas drinks are better on campus than the Starbucks, Costa has even started playing Christmas music in their Sir Ian Wood store, if you want to get into the Christmas Spirit in November head to Costa on campus.