The Difference Between Starbucks' Christmas And Holiday Blends

When Christmas is in the air, decorating your tree, wrapping your presents, and cooking your holiday feast can leave you in need of a holly jolly pick-me-up. And many tired holiday goers are likely to ask Santa for a cup of one of Starbucks' famous Christmas coffees to help get them through the season. Of course, Fox Business reported the popularity of seasonal in-store drinks, like the coveted caramel brulée latte, helped Starbucks break a personal holiday sales record in 2022. But Christmas fans also love to fuel their holiday merry-making with Starbucks' collection of at-home holiday sips.

However, while the coffee giant's seasonal grocery store blends have been known to feature flavors, like peppermint mocha and gingerbread, you have probably heard coffee enthusiasts gush over the varieties that started it all — the Starbucks' Holiday and Christmas Blends. And although these two Christmas coffees are a seasonal staple for Starbucks and coffee lovers alike, you may be wondering what exactly sets them apart from each other. After all, even their names (holiday and Christmas) are similar. From their tastes to their histories, we're going to break down the Christmas magic that makes each of these seasonal blends as unique as they are iconic.

The Christmas Blend, the rich and spice packed coffee that led the way for Starbucks' Christmas menu

1984 was full of firsts for Starbucks, according to the brand's website. It was during this year that the company previously known for selling coffee beans, teas, and spices opened its first full-on coffeehouse. And it was also during this year that the now famous company sold its first seasonal coffee variety — which was none other than its iconic Christmas Blend.

As Starbucks notes, the Christmas Blend that captured the hearts of coffee lovers past and present is primarily composed of Sumatra beans that have been carefully aged for the best taste. The at-home coffee favorite is also mixed with beans from Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, and Colombia, which are some of Latin America's most prominent coffee producers. However, Starbucks Stories reports that the Christmas Blend's subtle nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and orange flavors are what make this coffee variety taste like the holiday season.

A dark roast that Starbucks reports is best prepared by drip machine, the Christmas Blend is described as rich and "full-bodied." Which is one of the many qualities that set it apart from its lighter-roasted sibling, the Holiday Blend.

The Holiday Blend, the sweet answer to Starbucks' first seasonal coffee

If you have trouble making out the difference between the Holiday and Christmas Blends, it turns out you're justified in your confusion. According to Starbucks, the Christmas Blend's coffee actually used to be sold under the Holiday Blend name. However, in 2013 the brand created a new, completely unique variety to take over the Holiday Blend mantle. And so the second half of the iconic seasonal at-home coffee blend duo was born.

But what went into this new and improved Holiday Blend? Starbucks reports that, like the Christmas Blend, the Holiday Blend variety is also composed of coffee beans sourced from Latin America and Indonesia. However, its flavor is more sweet-centric than its spice-infused counterpart. By sipping on a cup of coffee brewed from the Holiday Blend, you'll be diving into mostly maple flavor with a backdrop of herb and cheese-like tastes. A medium coffee roast that Starbucks states is best prepared through the pour-over method, the brand describes the Holiday Blend as being the perfect brew for more casual coffee fans.

So if you're trying to decide which variety to bring home from the store, take note: the Holiday Blend makes for a sweeter and lighter-tasting coffee and the Christmas Blend brews a dark and more spice-heavy cup of holiday cheer. But no matter which variety you choose, making a pot of either of these holiday favorites will surely get you in the Christmas spirit.