peppermint mocha taste test
Tis the season for peppermint and more specifically peppermint mocha, which OBVIOUSLY is the best thing to happen to coffee since a mug. I usually rejoice in late November when I see the return of peppermint mocha coffee creamers in my grocery store. Early in December I can count on Starbucks to shower me with affection, but this season it seems like this flavor profile has really taken off in popularity. I am thrilled about this.

It does bring out my need to discover who has the BEST peppermint mocha. If I am going to luxuriate in this seasonal moment of awesome I want to know that I am doing it with the most wonderful version. The last few days I have been sleep deprived so it was the perfect opportunity to undertake the…

The Great Peppermint Mocha Taste Test

I sampled five different, easily obtainable, coffees and am rating and reviewing them according to my tastes and preferences. At the end of the post I will have a poll for you to share your favorite.

international delight peppermint mocha1. International Delight Creamer: Peppermint Mocha
available, seasonably, in your grocery store
I’ll just begin and say that I can’t stand when coffee creamers use the metallic protective seals under the screw top lid. I always have to remind myself that this brand does this because it really is that much of an annoyance for me. This creamer has a higher mocha/chocolate flavor than peppermint. The taste is not super sweet and I am ok with that. The creamer didn’t mask any of the flavor of my coffee and that was a nice surprise. I still kept searching for more peppermint with each sip. 

coffeemate peppermint mocha2. Coffeemate: Peppermint Mocha
available, seasonably, in your grocery store (there are plans to make this product available year round)
Just to show you what I mean about the protective seals, this brand of creamer has the pull top plastic thingy that I have become used to in 1/2 gallons of milk. This creamer is super pepperminty and not very mocha-y. It is a thicker creamer than International Delight and sweeter. 

{a note about all out of house beverages: in ALL cases I ordered nonfat/skim milk versions with no whipped cream.}

McDonald's peppermint mocha3. McDonald’s McCafe Peppermint Mocha
I have heard a lot of people talk about how much they like the peppermint mocha’s from McDonald’s so I was really excited to give them a try. There is a bonus of being able to grab one in a drive-thru – so you really could, conceivably, still remain in your jammies to get a mocha from here. My first sip was a shock to the system. It was VERY strong peppermint. The 2nd sip made me realize where else I experience a peppermint that strong- my mouthwash. I couldn’t pick up any sense of mocha in the coffee. I did one more sip and just couldn’t do anymore. It was not for me. 

panera peppermint mocha4. Panera Bread Company’s Peppermint Mocha
I didn’t know that Panera had this seasonal drink until a few days ago and don’t know anyone else that has tried it. The peppermint and mocha were really well combined and I could still taste the shot of coffee. It was smooth and easy to drink without being super in your face with the peppermint. The biggest downside is that this time of year it is hard to find a time of day when Panera is not jam-packed with patrons wanting bread bowls of soup. This means that in order to get your mocha you have to wait in line behind the guy picking up lunch for his entire office or the indecisive cake craver. 

starbucks peppermint mocha5. Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha
Obviously this is the go-to fancy pants version that I think of. Oddly I have only ever had it two or three times before today. I remember it being so divine that I gave myself specific instructions to only have X number per season. I don’t know if it was just an off day, but when I finally treated myself to the Starbuck’s version I was underwhelmed. Something about it tasted artificial. When I later looked at my cup I saw that it said “skinny” on it. While I had ordered a nonfat version I didn’t ask for one with sugar-free mocha and peppermint stuffs. CLEARLY this was my error, so I’ll say, from memory these are wonderful. Just don’t order skinny unless a doctor is telling you to. for a regular version. for a “skinny” version.

After trying these various versions of peppermint mocha I realized that my favorite is coffeemate. Yes, even over the memory of a great Starbucks. At the core I love peppermint and out of all the options it succeeded in being the best and most delicious peppermint flavor. It didn’t have enough mocha for me but on days where I feel that extra love in warranted a small squeeze of chocolate syrup does the trick.

Is anyone else doing a peppermint mocha that I missed? Let me know!

[poll id=13]

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