A coffee lover’s guide to getting your festive fix this Christmas


The winter season brings with it dark nights, chilly temperatures, and the perfect opportunity to snuggle up on the sofa with a homemade hot chocolate or to pop into the nearest cafe to pick up a delicious coffee. Whatever you choose to do, this season brings plenty of choice in the different types of festive hot drinks that are available. Let me share with you what the big-name coffee shops have on offer this year, as well as some of the more independent cafes in the local Durham area. I will also give you a couple of tips on how to make your very own festive hot drinks at home!

It goes without saying that Starbucks and Costa pull out the stops every year with the different types of promotional hot drinks that they have on offer. As a lover of mint flavoured hot chocolates myself, Costa’s After Eight hot chocolate, which comes with an After Eight on the side and the option to add whipped cream, is a personal hit with me. Their Terry’s Chocolate Orange hot chocolate is also very popular, and the wedge of chocolate on the side is a nice added touch.

Whatever you choose to do, this season brings plenty of choice in the different types of festive hot drinks that are available

In competition with Costa, Starbucks’ toffee nut lattes are a favourite amongst nut lovers, and their new chocolate fudge brownie hot chocolate (with chocolate whipped cream on top, yum) seems like it would be perfect for those with a real sweet tooth. Although both Costa and Starbucks can be quite expensive for their luxury hot chocolates and coffees, their loyalty schemes mean that every now and then you receive a free coffee, which is always a nice reward.

If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option, Greggs’ peppermint hot chocolate is one of my all-time favourite festive hot drinks, and you can also get it included in your meal deal, which is an added bonus.

In terms of independent cafés, the Coffee House on the corner by the Gala Theatre is a personal favourite of mine. Its cosy atmosphere, friendly service and extensive festive menu mean that it is perfect for this time of year. Their coffees and hot chocolates are at a very reasonable price point, most of them not exceeding the £3 mark. Their festive hot chocolates (ordinary or peppermint flavour) at the £3.50 mark look very cute and festive and taste amazing. And that’s without even mentioning the student discount that can be applied!

However, sometimes all you want is to sit at home in front of the TV drinking a delicious hot drink out of your favourite mug. This is where festive flavoured syrups come in handy! You can buy all sorts of flavours – cinnamon, gingerbread, festive spice, candy cane, etc. A set of flavoured coffee syrups could also be a fantastic idea for a last-minute Christmas gift for the coffee lover in your life. Just pop a couple of pumps into your coffee or hot chocolate and before you know it, you have your very own Christmassy hot drink in the comfort of your own home! Add whipped cream, marshmallows and a candy cane in your most festive mug for extra Christmassy vibes. Here is a festive hot chocolate I made myself.

Whether you’re nipping into a coffee shop after doing a spot of Christmas shopping, or having a hot chocolate at home whilst watching Love Actually, I hope you enjoy your festive drinks and have a fantastic and relaxing Christmas. 

Image credit: Pixabay,

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