Starbucks’ Newest Latte Will Make You Google What Juniper Berries Are

by Alli Hoff Kosik

When you think of Starbucks and the holiday season, there are plenty of delicious directions your imagination can take you. The coffee giant — while a pretty big deal 365 days of the year — has carved out an especially beloved niche for itself around the holidays, serving up snacks and beverages (most importantly, beverages) that look, taste, and smell just as you would expect them to for the most wonderful time of the year. Starbucks is brewing up yet another seasonal treat for 2017, but before you decide to totally change up your usual holiday drink order (Peppermint Mocha, anyone?), I'm sure you'll want the details on what's in Starbucks' Wintry Juniper Latté, which just hit Starbucks Reserve stores around the country.

You're probably most familiar with juniper as it relates to trees, right? Junipers are coniferous trees that are one of a handful of types typically sold for trimming at Christmastime. And while you won't find actual pieces of juniper trees floating in your latte (because that would be weird), one whiff of the Buxs' Juniper Latté will most definitely make you feel as if you're trudging through a tree farm, bundled up in your coziest wool, arguing with your siblings about which tree is the tree, and silently wishing it was time to sit in front of the fireplace with a toasty (in more ways than one) beverage.


The Juniper Latté can take you there mentally thanks to a unique blend of flavors that also yields an amazing aroma. The beverage starts with the Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2017 coffee blend, which features Latin American beans with orange and mulled spice notes. Indonesian beans — spicy and aged just long enough to bring out sweet, dark flavors of cedar and licorice — are also included in the blend. The Reserve Christmas blend is brewed as espresso, then mixed with a steamed milk infused with a syrup made from dried juniper berries, sage, and mandarin (doesn't that just sound festive?). Starbucks baristas will finish the drink with latte art, some juniper sugar, and a sprig of fresh sage.

"With the first sip, you'll inhale that woodsy aroma and the savory woodiness of the juniper," says Starbucks research and development rep Lillian Ontiveros in a press release. "On your second sip, you'll get the mandarin. The sage follows on the backend. It's a well-rounded experience."

While a hot, steaming latté seems to perfectly match the mood of this cozy season, there's another option available for the cold beverage lovers among us: The Juniper Affogato, which is made with a scoop of Mora juniper ice cream and a shot of rich, woodsy Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2017 espresso. Assuming you live in a colder winter climate, you'll already be ready with your mittens, anyway, so your fingers won't even freeze when you reach out to grab your Affogato! If anything, it's a great excuse to indulge in ice cream at pretty much any time of day. Breakfast ice cream is totally cool as long as it's seasonal.

Sadly, the Juniper Latté and Juniper Affogato aren't available everywhere this holiday season — but you can get them at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle and at the other Bux locations that feature Reserve coffee bars (you can find these locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cupertino, Redwood City, Los Gatos, Sacramento, Palm Springs, Birmingham, Dallas, and Austin). And if you aren't lucky enough to live near one of these Roastery locations — I am sorry about that — there's always the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha. Or the Toffee Almondmilk Hot Chocolate. Or the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha.

Pretty much anything that comes in the Starbucks holiday cup is bound to be delicious.