Starbucks Peppermint Mocha: What To Know Before Ordering

No one can deny that Starbucks' wide range of flavored coffees can please just about anyone. Add in the potential to customize each drink to your heart's content and the fact that the chain gives you the freedom to go all out with their flavors, and you have the perfect combination for a great beverage experience. When Christmas rolls around, Starbucks takes their drink game up another notch. From cheerful red cups to the addition of a bunch of seasonal hot and cold coffees, there's nothing that makes winter feel quite right like the holiday season at Starbucks.

Depending on where you live, you can find a wide selection of festive coffees around the winter holidays (via Starbucks). In the United States, expect to find Toasted White Chocolate Mochas, Chestnut Praline Lattes, Caramel Brûlée Lattes, Gingerbread Lattes, Eggnog Lattes, and Peppermint Mochas. While all these options sound equally good, Delish ranked the Peppermint Mocha as the best beverage on Starbucks' holiday menu last year.

As you count down the days until Starbucks rolls out its festive winter menu, here's everything you need to know before you order a Peppermint Mocha this year.

Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha debuted in 2002

While the Peppermint Mocha stands as one of the top rated drinks on the Starbucks holiday menu, it wasn't the first to enter the seasonal rotation. According to Starbucks, the chain's first holiday menu started in 1984 and featured the Christmas Blend, a seasonal bag of coffee that you could brew at home. The Eggnog Latte came next in 1986, followed by the Gingerbread Latte in 2000, and the Peppermint Mocha in 2002. 

A drink as good as the Peppermint Mocha couldn't be created by just one individual either. According to Peter Dukes, the product manager for espresso-based beverages at the time, a group of 10 people from different departments came together to form a Research and Development team that tasted new holiday drinks. After many taste tests and plenty of wacky flavors, the group decided that the combination of a classic Starbucks Caffè Mocha and the peppermint flavor of candy canes needed to merge together. Just like that, the first Peppermint Mocha came into existence. Baristas now serve the drink in over 30,000 stores across the world and it ranks one of the most popular festive drinks each year.

What's in a Peppermint Mocha?

The Starbucks Peppermint Mocha essentially tastes like a Starbucks Caffè Mocha with the addition of a peppermint flavor (via Starbucks). The Peppermint Mocha features a signature Espresso Roast that Starbucks uses for most of its espresso-based drinks as its base, with the addition of a peppermint-flavored syrup, mocha sauce, and steamed milk. The drink then gets topped off with a swirl of whipped cream and dark chocolate curls.

A tall Peppermint Mocha has one shot of espresso with 3 pumps of peppermint syrup and mocha sauce each. A grande cup has two shots of espresso with four pumps of the sauce and syrup and a venti cup has two shots of espresso with five pumps of the sauce and syrup. Considering that the difference between a Caffè Mocha and a Peppermint Mocha lies in the use of peppermint syrup and dark chocolate curls, Taste Of Home found that you can easily order a Peppermint Mocha all year-round. Simply ask your barista to add peppermint syrup to your ordinary Caffè Mocha and top it off with some chocolate chips to get this seasonal offering anytime.

You can buy the Peppermint Mocha in various forms

As with most Starbucks holiday drinks, the Peppermint Mocha comes in hot, iced, Frappuccino, and hot chocolate forms (via Starbucks). Unlike their other holiday drinks, you don't have to stand in a long queue at a Starbucks café to get your hands on a Peppermint Mocha. Bustle reports that in 2020, Starbucks rolled out a ready-to-drink bottled version of a Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino specifically for grocery and convenience stores. A 13.7-ounce bottle featured an average price of $3.09, a little less than what the full version of the drink costs at the store. According to Starbucks, the chain also added Peppermint Mocha Lattes to their range of VIA Instant coffees so you could make the instant coffee version of the holiday drink at home. You also have the option to stock up on K-Cup Peppermint Mocha Coffee Pods too (via Walmart).

If those options can't tempt you, Starbucks has a few more tricks up their sleeve when it comes to promoting the Peppermint Mocha. According to Business Insider, Starbucks surprised all of their customers who ordered a Peppermint Mocha in drive-thrus on December 10th last year with a free Peppermint Mocha air freshener. If last year's holiday menu provides any indication for the future, Starbucks customers can expect tons of Peppermint Mocha surprises this year.

How much does the Peppermint Mocha cost?

Although the prices of Starbucks holiday drinks vary based on locations, most locations have a standard price for these festive beverages. Cheat Sheet reports that a tall Peppermint Mocha should cost you about $4.45 and a grande-sized drink sets you back $4.95. A venti-sized Peppermint Mocha costs another 50 cents and comes in at $5.45. A tall Peppermint White Hot Chocolate costs about $3.45, a grande goes for $3.95, and venti-sized version sells for $4.15. You could also get a kid-sized Peppermint Hot Chocolate for $2.85. The bottled versions of the Mocha cost significantly less. You need to pay $3.09 for a 13.7-ounce drink, a little less than a tall-sized Starbucks drink (via Bustle).

If you'd like to stock up on Peppermint Mochas and have them all year round, a box of five VIA Instant sachets of Peppermint Mocha Latte sells for $5.92 at Walmart and a box of 22 K-Cup Peppermint Mocha Coffee Pods goes for $14.96 (via Walmart).

Nutitonal information for the Peppermint Mocha

A Caffè Mocha ranks as one of the unhealthiest drinks at Starbucks. As a result, a Peppermint Mocha is sadly no different (via Insider). A 16-ounce grande Peppermint Mocha has 440 calories and 54g of sugar, making the drink particularly unhealthy. Insider reports that the hot chocolate versions of the drink packs in up to 550 calories, making them the unhealthiest drinks on the Starbucks holiday menu.

If you need a wholesome festive drink, the Peppermint Mocha won't do you any favors. Considering its bittersweet chocolatey taste can win almost anyone over, it may be hard to avoid this delectable festive treat if you want a sweet pick-me-up when the holidays roll around. If you need to downsize your drink's sugar count, Popsugar recommends using fewer pumps of flavored syrup or skipping the whipped cream to significantly decrease the drink's calorie count. Even if you need to follow a diet, have no fear when you indulge in this ultimate festive drink.