**The following is a reiteration of views expressed by this contributor on New Orleans Mom Instagram story earlier this week and does not necessarily reflect the views of New Orleans Mom. Apologies in advance if you find this too controversial**
Every year, I try a sip or two of the highly revered Pumpkin Spice Latte, and every year, I just don’t like it. It’s just not in the stars for us, we aren’t meant to be, we are never, ever, ever – gonna get together. I’ll spare you a description of what it tastes like to me because I know so many people who love it so much, they set calendar alerts for it. I’m not here to rain on the Pumpkin Spice parade, I promise.
No, what I look forward to all year is a Peppermint Mocha. The headliner of the second act in the yearly show of Holiday coffee beverages.
I’m not a coffee expert, but here’s the basic thing about espresso drinks that I know: a Latte is espresso and steamed milk; a Mocha is espresso, steamed milk, and CHOCOLATE.
Any adjective or description added to these basic recipes is primarily done via syrup flavoring, (i.e. “Dolce Cinnamon Latte” is just a latte with cinnamon syrup) which does make the drink a little sweeter, but not necessarily richer or creamier. That is chocolate’s job, and it has been up to the task for centuries. Caramel in my opinion is too sticky and doesn’t dissolve properly, thereby making it a poor choice for holiday drink addition. But, I digress.
I have noticed an alarming trend at coffee shops this year, with some aberration they are calling “Peppermint Latte.” This is WRONG. Like, “write to your congress representative” wrong. The peppermint flavoring is nice, of course, but it simply isn’t enough of a flavor to stand alone with only espresso and steamed milk or (I can barely say it) – foam to support it! Think of it this way – would you ever just drop a candy cane in a cup of regular coffee? Not if you want to get into heaven! You plop a Hershey’s kiss (or a Hershey’s Candy Cane Kiss if you’re feelin’ naughty) into that cup and then add your peppermint! PSL has earthier, almost savory flavors that pair better with plain espresso. But if you’re gonna go to peppermintville, you need CHOCOLATE to take you there.
I don’t know why they’re doing it. Maybe I’ve been bad this year? I don’t know. I have even had to specify at several coffee shops (after being bitten by the cruel snake of disappointing coffee) “I would like a Peppermint Mocha with chocolate, please.” Of course, I don’t mind being specific, but in this case, I just shouldn’t have to. Imagine having to verify that there would actually be pumpkin spice in your pumpkin spice latte. You’d probably rant and rave about it, wouldn’t you?
The truth is, I don’t drink mochas year-round. My “ordinary time” coffee order is a skim milk (or nonfat or skinny or whatever the “Celestial Single Dollar” corporation is calling it that day) latte with no sweetener. It’s like, a hundred calories and I do enjoy it, sure. But it is NOT a treat. Somehow, having to specify that I need chocolate in my drink makes me feel like it’s not as special. More importantly, what if someone has heard all about Peppermint Mochas and strolls into a coffee shop and instead gets THAT excuse for a drink? It’s just wrong.
So, you may find that you come off abrasive if you suggest to every bored, eye-rolly barista that they should tell their bosses that Peppermint drinks should have chocolate in them. Personally, I don’t mind being a little annoying, but I do wait until I have drink in hand. But I would appreciate it if you would show your support on this important issue by speaking up for me.
After all, I order a PSL every year. The least you can do is keep the “M” in the PM.
Thanks for your support.