Every year Nottingham’s favourite coffee shops race to bring out a new inventive drink that customers can spend all of December drinking to get them into the festive mood.
But with the masses of independent businesses and chain stores dotted around the city, how do you know which are worth spending your money on?
After testing out five different festive coffees from a range of cafes, the best tasting, the best value for money, and the best service have been ranked.
Possibly the most popular coffee chain on the list, there were high expectations going into Starbucks.
The brand is very well known for its Christmas drinks and it is highly anticipated what new additions will be added to their festive collection each year.
However, the most famous drink that the chain offers is its toffee nut latte.
Advertised as offering ‘rich, buttery sweet toffee notes combined with the warmth of toasted nuts’, the drink has been a fan favourite for over five years now.
Walking into the store, at 1 South Parade, it was evident that Starbucks is a popular coffee choice amongst the Nottingham residents as a queue leading from the till all the way to the door was formed.
The drink cost £3.85 for a small cup so for the average person this would be an expensive treat.
After around a 15 minute wait, the iced toffee nut latte had been made and it was time to test it out.
The smooth coffee taste of Starbucks’ famous espresso roast mixed with the warm and toasty notes of the toffee nut combination made drinking the coffee an extremely enjoyable experience.
The only negative was that its small size meant it was finished very quickly so it is recommended for coffee lovers to go for a medium or larger.
Flavour – 9/10
Service – 5/10
Value for money – 4/10
Overall – 7/10
Located in Hockley on 9 Pelham Street, Fox Café is an independent cosy coffee shop.
The seating outside and inside the café has a vintage feel to it with the décor fitting the fox theme as small fox figurines are dotted all around the area.
Greeted with a smile at the door, staff offered a table and gave a range of Christmas drinks that they offer, with the pumpkin spice latte sounding the most appealing.
The drink took around five minutes to come and arrived in a very aesthetically pleasing green cup and saucer, again matching the woodland theme.
Although the coffee was a regular it was around the same size as the rest of the drinks tested, which were smalls, but for £3.45 it was a similar price to the bigger coffee brands tried out.
The coffee flavour was not as evident but with the mix of the pumpkin spice flavouring a subtle cinnamon flavour created a sweeter taste, perfect for anyone who is not as much of a coffee lover.
Flavour – 7/10
Service – 9/10
Value for money – 6/10
Overall – 7.5/10
Pret a Manger:
Another large coffee chain store in Nottingham, Pret a Manger is a favourite amongst students due to its subscription deal and its wide range of drink options.
The festive drink that stood out the most was the chain’s new love bar latte, inspired by their famous love bar.
The store was extremely busy when walking in and staff were rushing around to get the drinks served to each of the customers, proving the business’ popularity over the festive period.
Staff informed customers that they were out of regular milk so the options of coconut milk and oat milk were given, which could have affected the taste of the drink tested.
After around a five minute wait the coffee was made and after testing it, it was evident the coconut milk had changed the flavour of the coffee negatively with it overpowering any of the other flavours included.
A reminiscence of the love bar could subtly be tasted with some almond notes coming through each sip and if the store had not had the milk issue, the drink could have been a much more positive experience for customers.
With the coffee being £3.35 for a small Pret a Manger definitely had the best value for money as the drink was notably bigger than any of the other coffees tried.
Flavour – 2/10
Service – 5/10
Value for money – 8/10
Overall – 4/10
Costa is a coffee store loved by the UK and residents of Nottingham are evidently amongst these as the county of Nottinghamshire holds over 20 branches of the chain.
The business was offering the most festive options out of all of the stores tried, with a range of Christmas themed hot chocolates and coffees being provided to customers.
Arguably the chain’s most loved coffee is the gingerbread and cream latte, which as it says in the name is a blend of gingerbread flavouring and cream.
Despite a 15 minute wait in the queue, a common theme amongst all of the coffee chains compared to the independent businesses tried, the barista working on the till was extremely friendly and made sure that she listened to every customers order perfectly to give them exactly what they wanted.
The drink was also made the quickest out of all of the places tested, which made the long queue wait just that slightest bit easier to deal with.
Paying £3.40 was worth it for how smooth the coffee was, however the gingerbread flavouring overpowered any coffee taste, making this drink perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
The coffee could have been made even better if the store had not run out of cream to put on top of the festive drink.
Flavour – 5/10
Service – 8/10
Value for money – 5/10
Overall – 6/10
Cartwheel Cafe and Roastery:
Perhaps the least well known in Nottingham compared to the other coffee shops tried, Cartwheel Cafe is an independent business located at 16 Low Pavement.
The store was small but held lots of personality as staff greeted customers with a smile on their face and the decor gave a vintage feeling to the shop.
There were only two options for Christmas drinks however the one that stood out was the cinnamon latte, due to the festive feel that cinnamon can give to any drink or treat.
After only a couple of minutes of waiting the drink was hand delivered by one of the business’ baristas, and the drink only cost £3.00, being the cheapest of everything tested.
In addition to, the size of the cinnamon latte was bigger than the majority of the other drinks tried out, making it the best value for money.
The cinnamon flavouring with Cartwheel’s signature espresso roast blended perfectly together with every note being able to be tasted, giving customers the perfect Christmas coffee.
Flavour – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Value for money – 9/10
Overall – 9/10
Therefore, Cartwheel Cafe and Roastery is the clear front runner for Nottingham’s favourite festive coffee.