Starbucks Chestnut Praline Latte: because coffee is dessert now

Starbucks will release its Chestnut Praline Latte for the holidays nationwide this year. The Chestnut Praline Latte will join the Gingerbread Latte and Peppermint Mocha in Starbucks' ever-growing lineup of sweet holiday drinks.

Yuriko Nakao/Retuers/File
A mug bearing a Starbucks logo is pictured next to coffee beans during a news conference in Tokyo. Starbucks will start selling a Chestnut Praline Latte in stores next month.

This may come as a shock, but there are people on this earth who still enjoy their coffee in its traditional "drink" form – perhaps with a splash of cream, a dash of sugar, or just as it is, often served alongside dessert. Starbucks, however, has never met a dessert that it couldn't turn into a coffee drink, and made a killing off the concept  with its army of flavored, sugar-packed concoctions.  

The latest? The Chestnut Praline Latte, which will hit Starbucks stores nationwide Nov. 12 following a successful test launch in select markets last year. It's the Seattle-based chain's first new holiday drink in five years, joining the Gingerbread Latte and the Peppermint Mocha in a growing lineup of seasonal holiday coffee drinks. 

For those of you unfamiliar, a chestnut is the big round thing in your unshelled nut mix that looks like an acorn. Praline is a hard sugar candy made from nuts and hardened sugar syrup, sometimes caramel-flavored. Now, in the Starbucks fashion, they will be available to all in liquid form. 

The holiday coffee drink trio seems to be part of Starbucks' ongoing campaign to dominate our favorite seasons. It conquered Fall long ago with the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which has become as synonymous with the season as colorful leaves and college football. Since launching the drink a decade ago, Starbucks says it has sold over 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and its success has prompted the inclusion of pumpkin spice flavoring into virtually every conceivable food, including pancakes, bagels, bacon, and even Pringles potato chips.

The Christmas season is next on Starbucks' path to full calendar-year domination. "Since last winter, the company has completely reimagined the holiday experience in stores for this shopping season, staying true to many time-honored traditions, such as the arrival of the iconic red Starbucks cups in stores, while adding innovative and relevant products for holiday shoppers," Starbucks said in a press statement. "In addition to the arrival of the...Chestnut Praline Latte, Starbucks will offer the 30th anniversary of Starbucks Christmas Blend and unveil the first-ever 100 uniquely designed Starbucks Cards in a full collection. This holiday season Starbucks is also launching a unique opportunity for a select number of customers to win 'Starbucks for Life' by simply swiping their Starbucks Card or paying with their mobile device."

Starbucks also hopes its holiday push will help boost its holiday sales, which lagged in 2013 thanks to dwindling retail foot traffic and double-digit growth in online shopping. “Customers researched, compared prices, and then bought the brands and items they wanted online, frequently utilizing a mobile device to do so," CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement.  "Since that time, we have been focused on radically redefining the Starbucks retail experience for our partners, customers, and stores.  As a result of the work we’ve done, Starbucks is poised for a great holiday."

Initial reaction to the Chestnut Praline Latte was largely positive, even positioning the drink as a possible challenger to the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But neither praline bagels nor potato chips have been spotted as of yet, so stay tuned. 

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