Review: Starbucks Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai Is A Holiday Hit We'll Continue To Order

Each year, the arrival of the holiday season is marked by the return of our favorite seasonal treats. For some, that means a grocery aisle lined with peppermint products; for others, it takes the form of a heavy dusting of cinnamon on top of everything from pancakes to hot cocoa. But the most reliable sign that the holidays are truly here is the long-awaited release of the 2023 Starbucks Holiday Seasonal Sips menu

This year, many Starbucks holiday favorites are returning, including the Caramel Brulée Latte and the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, but there is one beverage available at Starbucks this holiday season that is brand new: the Starbucks Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai. 

Gingerbread is an iconic flavor, synonymous with holiday music, festive lights, and a general sense of cheer. What better way to embrace the season than with a beverage entirely dedicated to the flavors of gingerbread? Tasting Table had an opportunity to taste test the new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai before its official release at Starbucks. Here's what we thought.

What's in it?

The new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai at Starbucks features chai tea, which is a spice mix combined with black tea that was created thousands of years ago in India and is known for its striking flavor notes of cloves, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom. 

Starbucks' new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai blends chai spice with oat milk and infuses gingerbread flavored syrup and a mix of warming cinnamon and pumpkin spices both within the beverage and generously dusted on top. While the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai is featured as one of the few iced holiday drinks on the menu, it's also available to be enjoyed hot if you prefer cozying up with a warm beverage during the wintertime. 

The new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai was inspired by Starbucks' longstanding holiday favorite, the Gingerbread Latte, which was discontinued in the U.S. in 2019. The Gingerbread Latte featured a blend of brewed espresso, gingerbread syrup, and pumpkin spice toppings, with your choice of milk and the option to add whipped cream. The new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai presents a tea alternative with a promise of intensified flavor due to the combination of creamy oat milk and rich chai spices.

Price and availability

Seasonal drink lovers, rejoice! Starbucks' full holiday food and beverage menu will be available at stores throughout the U.S. beginning this Thursday, November 2nd, 2023. That means you'll soon have a chance to try the new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai at a store near you in your choice of either hot or iced. What Starbucks holiday season would be complete without new holiday cups? 

This year, each Starbucks holiday cup was designed with geometric patterns in mind as well as touches of seasonal influences like ribbons and ornaments that appear in a vibrant color palate of reds, greens, and pinks. The clear iced holiday cups include a signature feature that extends across all of this year's designs: a subtle twinkle of starlight. 

As with all Starbucks beverages, pricing varies depending on the region of your local Starbucks. When you order a grande Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, you can expect to pay between $5.95 to $6.95 for the holiday-edition 16-ounce beverage. 

Nutritional info

Starbucks specialty beverages are often very delicious but generally aren't known for being particularly health-conscious. So what are the nutritional facts for the new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai? The drink, which is made with a combination of oat milk, chai, spices, and gingerbread syrup, contains 360 calories in total, with 90 of those calories coming from fat. The total fat content is 10 grams, and the saturated fat content is 1 gram. 

For those conscious of their sugar intake, the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai contains 45 grams of sugar, which comes very close to exceeding the general guidelines for daily sugar intake. In terms of sodium, there are 126 milligrams. In total, the beverage contains 69 grams of carbohydrates. On the plus side, the new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai has 0 grams of trans fat and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. There are 3 grams of protein per 16-ounce cup and 100 milligrams of caffeine. 

Taste test

For dedicated fans of Starbucks' since-discontinued Gingerbread Latte, we have good news for you. The new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai is sure to scratch your Gingerbread Latte itch. The flavors in this new holiday drink are simultaneously awakening and nourishing. The pop of cinnamon, cardamom, and warming spices that immediately hit your lips (thanks to a generous dusting overtop) fuses wonderfully with the rich and creamy oat milk. It delivers a gingerbread chai flavor that is surprisingly not cloying but will certainly satisfy any sweet tooth. 

The texture of the topping on the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, a blend of spices and small sugar crystals, adds a level of decadence that propels this holiday drink to the top of our seasonal treat list. While we don't always go for cold beverages during the winter time, we recommend having the Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai iced. The cold temperature enhances the overall flavor. 

How does it compare to the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

Before taking the plunge to taste the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, you may be wondering how the newest iced holiday beverage compares to Starbucks' Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, which is also returning to the holiday drink menu for its third year. The Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte is made with sugar cookie flavored syrup, almond milk, Starbucks Blonde Espresso, and an ornate topping of red and green sprinkles. Like the new Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte is available hot or iced and can also be made into a Frappuccino. 

When sampling the two drinks side by side, we found that there was really no competition. Similar to the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte is somehow not too sweet, despite its name. But that lack was also felt in the overall flavor of the beverage, which tasted more strongly of water than sugar cookies. The most delicious part of the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte is the topping of sugar sprinkles, but the taste pales dramatically in comparison to the intense spices of the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai.

The other major difference between the drinks is that the latter is an espresso-based beverage while the chai is a tea-based one. This might lead some dedicated coffee drinkers to presume that the beverage with espresso would be more flavorful, but that was decidedly not the case. 

Is it worth it?

This holiday season, we wholeheartedly recommend indulging in the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai at Starbucks. What could capture the festive nature of wintertime more fully than the unique spices of gingerbread enveloped in oat milk and a thick cinnamon sugar spice topping? While this likely won't replace your everyday caffeinated beverage order — given the relatively high fat and sugar content — it's the perfect treat to enjoy from time to time to help you get into the holiday spirit. 

Because the Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai was specifically designed to be enjoyed iced, that also means you can start savoring the flavor earlier in the season while the weather is still fairly warm. One of our favorite aspects of the Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai is that because the flavors are so rich and creamy, the drinking experience mirrors the enjoyment of digging into a sumptuous baked good. For the perfect drink and food holiday pairing, savor your Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai alongside a slice of Gingerbread Loaf, returning for the holiday season at Starbucks this Thursday, November 2nd, 2023.