Peppermint Mocha Taste-off


Imaan Moten

After trying multiple different drinks, Starbucks wins the title of the best peppermint mocha!

Imaan Moten, Photojournalist

To me, the start of the holiday season is when the holiday drinks come out and Christmas music starts playing on the radio. Personally, I am a sucker for anything sweet, sugary, and festive. With this comes my favorite drink of all time, as well as many others around the world: the Peppermint Mocha. Ideally, the perfect peppermint mocha is smooth, creamy, and has a really nice chocolate flavor. Paired with hints of peppermint, it provides for a blast of wintery goodness at any time of day. This drink has always been extremely popular, with a lot of different places selling it, so I would love to see which one has the absolute best. 

First, I went to a local favorite Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders Café, which is frequented by many Yorba Linda high school students. Their regular peppermint mocha is 16-ounces with a cost of $6.25. This is a pretty costly drink, regardless of getting it hot or iced. My first impressions of this drink were that it was super clean and smooth and had a really nice coffee flavor. One thing really cool about this café is that they roast their own beans in-house, so you are getting a fresh and authentic flavor. In terms of the actual peppermint mocha part, I felt that I was underwhelmed. There was a very subtle hint of peppermint that only came out in the end, and the chocolate flavor was extremely mellow and not very sweet. If you are a fan of really good coffee and just want a little bit of flavor in your drinks, I highly recommend this for you. Between my preference for drinks being on the sweeter side, as well as the cost being above average, I would give this a rating of 6 out of 10. 

The next drink that I sampled was from Starbucks, which is definitely the most popular spot to get this beverage. At Starbucks, 16-ounce peppermint mocha is $5.45 and only comes hot. This drink was definitely my favorite. It was not as smooth as Bodhi Leaf, and you can definitely tell the coffee quality was closer to average. However, the taste and the overall experience were high quality. It had a nice cohesive chocolate flavor with a strong peppermint flavor. This drink also had foamed milk and whipped cream on top, which really added to the experience and made it a more complex drink overall. Altogether, I have nothing bad to say about this drink except that it doesn’t really taste like coffee and certainly has a lot of sugar. I really enjoy this drink, and definitely would get it again, so I’m going to give it a rating of 9 out of 10. 

The last peppermint mocha that I got was from Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ was the most affordable out of the bunch; its price was $3.99 for a 16-ounce hot drink. To me, this drink essentially just tasted like milk with hot chocolate powder. There was little to no coffee taste and it was thinner than the other two. What I mean by this is that there was no creamy or rich component. The drink had an aftertaste of toothpaste which is definitely not pleasant, and once I got to the bottom of my cup there was a layer of bitter powder sludge. I would not recommend this drink if you are looking for a high-quality peppermint mocha experience. However, the cheaper price is an advantage if you want that experience at a more manageable cost. I would give this drink a 4 out of 10 and would not recommend it to those who want that higher experience. A Yorba Linda High School student who also sampled this drink with me, Adil Ismail (10), stated that the beverage was “bland and not at all good.” This drink is definitely subjective to the taster, but in terms of a peppermint mocha, it is not the best around.  

The final verdict is that the Starbucks drink is definitely the best with the combination of a medium price range, and a high quality coffee. However, if you do not mind the money, and are looking for the best around, I would say Bodhi Leaf all the way.