We Tried the Whole Starbucks Winter Menu & Yes, the Pistachio Latte Is Worth the Hype

The winter menu features the Pistachio Latte, a Shaken Espresso lineup, a Nitro Cold Brew, and a Sweet Cream Cold Brew.

Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks
Courtesy of Starbucks
Courtesy of Starbucks

Per usual, the release of the Starbucks holiday menu got its fair share of publicity, but here's my question: Why are we out here fawning over the Peppermint Mocha year in and year out when the coffee giant's Pistachio Latte now exists? Following the brand's late 2021 holiday roster—which included the debut of its Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte—Starbucks announced a new winter menu with both limited-edition and year-round favorites. 

We tried the entire winter menu to see if there were any new faves to be had.

What's on the Starbucks winter menu this year? 

Starbucks' official winter menu features the Pistachio Latte, Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso, and Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso—which first debuted last year—as well as the Nitro Cold Brew and Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. In the name of underdogs (okay, I wanted the caffeine too), we decided to give the entire winter menu a go to see how it stacks up against its more popular holiday season competitors. 

Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks
Mr. Kosal/Shutterstock

What do the different drinks taste like? 

Now let's talk about what really matters. I sampled the Pistachio Latte first and foremost out of overwhelming curiosity. Have you seen the TikTok buzz? I wanted to know what all of the hype was about. Does it actually taste like pistachios? Is that even a good thing? I'll answer the latter two questions first: Yes and yes. The Pistachio Latte boasts the perfect salty-to-sweet ratio that doesn't feel overindulgent (like certain mochas) but manages to satiate my sweet tooth nonetheless—for that, you can thank the brown butter topping. I went with almond milk for my dairy choice to create an even nuttier experience. 

It was the Shaken Espresso lineup, however, that spoke to my personal affinity for strong, bold coffee. Unlike the Pistachio Latte, which was both sweeter and smoother, the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso and Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso packed a more powerful punch. The espresso creates a richer, heavier flavor in the beverages, both of which are still nicely balanced thanks to their respective notes of chocolate and brown sugar and cinnamon.

The Nitro Cold Brew tastes a lot like regular cold brew, but smoother, richer, and with a dash of natural sweetness thanks to the nitrogen. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew compliments the bold flavor of cold brew with just the right amount of sweetness. Though it's certainly more indulgent than its regular cold brew counterpart, you won't find it quite as overwhelming as the chain's other syrup-filled options.

How long will the Pistachio Latte and winter menu be available?  

While the Pistachio Latte (an obvious favorite on and off social media) won't be sticking around for long, Starbucks' Shaken Espresso lineup and cold brew staples will be available year-round.  

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.