I Tried Starbucks' Christmas Tree Frappuccino

A Starbucks Christmas Tree Frappuccino, fresh from the barista. (Photo: Robin Shreeves)

Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha is the only specialty drink I enjoy at the coffee chain, so when I heard they had turned it into a Christmas Tree Frappuccino, I thought I'd give it a try.

To give you my thoughts on the drink, I thought I'd deconstruct it, looking first at how the drink I was made compared to the Frappuccino Instagram photo. (Starbucks' Frappuccinos have their own account.)

I'm going to give each element of the drink a +1 or a -1, and see what the score is when I'm done.

This is the description of the drink offered on the website.

Delicious mocha and peppermint are blended with milk and ice, topped with a festive tree made of matcha infused whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and candied cranberries finished off with a strawberry tree "topper."

With that in mind, let's deconstruct:

  • Compared to some of the photos on Instagram of other people's Christmas Tree Frappuccinos, I can't complain about mine. It came with a lid, which I probably should have asked them to withhold. Considering the whipped cream was compacted a bit by the lid, my tree top doesn't look so bad. So, +1 for overall appearance.
  • The mocha and peppermint blend was watery and thin. It had some of the same flavors as the hot Peppermint Mocha, but they were weaker and flat. -1
  • The festive, matcha-infused whipped cream was really good. I've read that their base whipped cream is real whipping cream and vanilla, and this is infused with matcha tea for the green color. The matcha gave it a bit of an earthy taste that was unexpectedly pleasant. +1
  • The caramel drizzle was exactly what you would expect, but I didn't like it with the candied cranberries. The flavors didn't complement each other. -1
  • The strawberry topper was freeze dried and tasted awful. I think perhaps you're not actually supposed to eat it, but I did. -1

Total: - 1

The negatives in this drink outweigh the positives, and I left over half of it unfinished — but that's actually better than the time I tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte and couldn't get past a few sips.

The special Christmas drink will only be around until Dec. 11, but in my opinion, there's no reason to rush out and get one before it's gone. If you need more reasons to stay home and make your own holiday beverage, here are two more: My tall Frappuccino (which is "small" in Starbucks speak) was $5.08 and according to Starbucks it has 320 calories plus18 grams of fat (11 of them saturated).

I'll be sticking with some homemade Peppermint Mochas made with DIY Peppermint Simple Syrup for the rest of the season when I want a peppermint chocolate drink.