How Starbucks' Golden Latte Honored Its South Korean Heritage

'Tis the season where hoards of customers rush to Starbucks in anticipation of an iconic merry green and red cup filled with a sweet holiday beverage. In 2022, the U.S. menu features classics like the Peppermint Mocha and Chestnut Praline Latte, with relatively new additions like the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte and Irish Cream Cold Brew, per Starbucks Stories & News. Sadly, the Grinch showed up to discontinue the Eggnog Latte, which lessened the Christmas cheer for many crestfallen Starbucks lovers.

And yet, the grass is always greener. Venture outside the U.S., and you'll find an array of fascinating holiday beverages that we've never heard of here in the States. According to Brit + Co, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa get to enjoy the Christmas Brûlée Latte, which is made with eggnog milk, crème brûlée sauce, and espresso before being topped with special Christmas sprinkles. Latin American customers can try the Cranberry Mocha Blanco Latte, which contains white chocolate mocha sauce, whipped cream, a cranberry drizzle, and cranberry sugar (via Thrillist). And if you're in South Korea, you'll be able to taste the delicious-sounding beverage that pays tribute to its homeland.

It's black-tea based with sour cream, caramel, and a hint of sweet potato flavor

The Golden Wish Latte is an indulgent black tea-based drink made with sour cream, caramel, and roasted sweet potatoes from South Korea's Haenam region (via Starbucks Stories & News). Sweet potatoes are a treasured crop in South Korea, which the Haenam Sweet Potato company says are grown in red soil at the southernmost tip of Korea. According to Tridge, 34,000 tons of Haenam sweet potatoes are produced yearly on 600 farms, with 15.5 billion won of dried sweet potato and sweet potato bread being sold each year.

There are quite a few varieties of Korean sweet potatoes, Crazy Korean Cooking notes, but they're all extremely popular in the motherland. They're commonly wrapped in newspaper and eaten as street food, but they can also be made into fries or eaten as a snack or side dish. And while Starbucks sought to honor Korean sweet potatoes through the Golden Wish Latte, Coffee with Raina reports that there isn't a strong sweet potato flavor in the drink, although the foam did hint at its taste. She said the latte was still delicious due to "the unique blend of flavors, because it almost felt like I was getting three drinks for the price of one."

Other intriguing creations from the South Korean menu include a lavender beige oat latte, dolce black milk tea, and New Year citrus tea, according to Spoon University. And while nothing can replace a Peppermint Mocha, we may have to take a trip overseas to try these beverages or to get our hands on their adorable Starbucks Christmas merchandise.