Wonderful winter flavors

Story by: Caty McGovern, Staff Writer
Photos by: Caty McGovern, Staff Writer

starbucks

When winter and the holiday season comes around, many places start using all the elated holiday seasonal feelings to market seasonal drinks. Many of these drinks are based off holiday favorites like peppermint candy canes, gingerbread and chestnuts. The flavors often come in hot latte form such as the peppermint mocha latte, gingerbread latte, and chestnut praline latte. These are some of the flavors the popular coffee franchise Starbucks has. I found similar flavors at the school coffee shop, Coffee Connection.

My question is: How do all these flavors taste from coffee shop to coffee shop?

When I tried these flavors, there were both hits and misses. I started with peppermint mocha latte. I enjoyed the Starbucks drink over Coffee Connection’s, as the Starbucks drink had the delicious peppermint flavor I expected. Now, mocha wise, Coffee Connection nailed the chocolate to coffee flavor ratio. Yet, overall, Starbucks has the better of the two peppermint mochas.

The next drink I tried was the gingerbread latte. In the Coffee Connection drink, I could actually taste the ginger, but it was rather strong for my taste. The Starbucks gingerbread latte was outright disappointing, as it had zero ginger flavor and was just nauseatingly sweet. If I had to recommend this drink to anyone, I would say to go to Coffee Connection as they will not disappoint ginger-wise.

The next flavor I tried was the chestnut praline latte. It is also known by the simpler name, coffee connectiontoffee nut latte, as both are made with toffee nut syrup. I preferred Coffee Connection’s toffee nut latte over Starbucks’ similar drink, the chestnut praline latte. The reasoning behind my decision is that the toffee nut latte has the nutty taste that one might expect when hearing any type of tree nut in the name of a drink. It also had an undertone of caramel that caused the drink to be great.

I think each coffee shop had their strengths and weaknesses. Neither shop was an obvious winner since both had lackluster moments.

The coffee conundrum

Story by: Sydney Shurman, guest writer

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the hallway. Every day, the long line is a telltale sign that the students of Mt. Vernon are serious about their coffee. With this being the case, the group serving the coffee becomes very important.

While having a personal coffee shop is a fairly new concept for MVHS, there have already been two different places: Java Junction and Coffee Connection. This leads to one very important question: which is better?

Java Junction may have had some great qualities, but the winner soon becomes clear.

There are several factors that go into making a coffee shop great, but first and foremost is the coffee itself. In terms of flavor, both places seem to be pretty similar, with Coffee Connection having a slightly sweeter flavor to their drinks.

What really puts them in first place though, is their options. Coffee Connection offers a variety of different drinks for everyone’s needs. Their choices range from iced coffee to Americanos to lattes. They also have smoothies, chai tea, and hot chocolate, so even non-coffee drinkers can find something to love.

In addition to specialty drinks, they also sell honey buns, cinnamon rolls, Mountain Dew, Monster and Pepsi. These all help to make the menu a bit broader.

“I like the fact that you can customize your drinks, like adding espresso to a caramel frappe,” Mrs. Ballard, media assistant, said.

Not only does Coffee Connection have great coffee and an even greater variety, but they also make the experience personal, which was something Java Junction was always lacking.

Coffee Connection writes names on their order slips to provide an experience reminiscent of Starbucks where a name is called every time a coffee is made. Java Junction’s methods were similar to this, but they often got names wrong, whereas anyone who visits Coffee Connection on a regular basis will soon be greeted by name each time they stop by. Plus, it is always an added bonus to be met with a friendly smile and a peppy attitude, especially at 8 o’clock in the morning.

“The friendly atmosphere makes me want to keep coming back,” said Hailey Patton, 12.

While these reasons alone would be enough to determine a winner, there is one other factor that sets Coffee Connection above Java Junction: discounts. In Java Junction’s defense, Coffee Connection is not the first to offer discounts on coffee. Both offered staff member discounts, but Coffee Connection is the first to offer them to students with their punch cards. For every seven items purchased, the eighth is free.

All the signs seem to point to an obvious winner, so Coffee Connection takes the cake.