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Let’s start with Starbucks’ description of the Holiday Spice Flat White:

“Ristretto shots of espresso infused with warm holiday spices. Topped with whole milk micro-foam and finished with a “signature dot” or latte art!”


What’s a ristretto shot? It’s a shot that is “pulled” for a shorter duration of time, resulting in a sweeter, less-bitter tasting espresso.

My Recommendation

I recommend getting any and all hot Starbucks lattes with breve, extra shots of espresso, and fewer pumps of syrup/sauce (or in this rare case, fewer scoops of powder). The Holiday Spice Flat White is on the lower end of sugar content for a Starbucks drink, but at 35 grams in a Grande, it’s still pretty extreme. Taste the espresso and save yourself the issues that excess sugar consumption causes by reducing the scoops in this one. It’ll be good, I promise.

My Experience

This year was the first time I tried the Holiday Spice Flat White, and I didn’t know what to expect. Starbucks lattes are typically made with syrup or sauce for sugar and flavoring, but this one is made with a powder. So, what’s it like?


The predominant flavor here is cinnamon sugar. If you’re not familiar, Starbucks already has a cinnamon drink: the Cinnamon Dolce Latte, but the Holiday Spice Flat White is different. This tastes more like cinnamon as you know it, while Cinnamon Dolce tastes more processed. While that’s not always a bad thing, it can end up being a little more cloying, especially if you don’t request fewer pumps. The flavor of the Holiday Spice Flat White is more of a natural one, and because it’s made with a powder, there’s a lot more body to it.

The other spices in this drink (ginger, nutmeg, clove) blend well together, and are not immediately detectable as separate spices. This gives the drink a lot more depth than what you’d get from a syrup. Because this is made with quite a lot of powder that has quite a lot of spice in it, the flavor’s just a lot more robust than what you’d get with a syrup.

Because of the powder used in this drink, it’s possible that you may receive yours not quite as well-mixed as your syrup drinks are. Because of this, I had more flavor at the bottom of my drink than at the top. You know how hot chocolate powder doesn’t always fully mix into milk, leaving you with extra sitting at the bottom of your mug? It’s like that, so if your barista doesn’t give your cup a few extra swirls after adding espresso to the powder, you may get the same effect. Not a huge deal, but your mileage may vary.




I like cinnamon, sugar, and coffee, so this is a winner in my book. Go pick one up before it’s gone for the season!


I appreciate that Starbucks is willing to be a little flexible with their drink recipes, using a powder for this drink instead of a syrup. In my opinion, the ratio of spice to espresso and milk in this drink makes it a much more satisfying experience than something like the Gingerbread Latte, which, while still good, isn’t best served by its syrup, due to its inherent lack of body.


Nutritional Information (Courtesy of Starbucks.com) For the Standard-Recipe Grande Holiday Spice Flat White:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (16 fl oz)
Calories 280Calories from Fat 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 35mg12%
Sodium 150mg6%
Total Carbohydrate 32g11%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 30g
Protein 12g
Caffeine 195mg**
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
**Each caffeine value is an approximate value.

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