It’s officially winter and temperatures are plummeting by the day in Japan, which means coffee chains are busy launching new winter beverages to warm our hands and mouths. It’s customary for coffee shops in Japan to bring out new drinks each season, like Starbucks’ famous frappuccinos, and this year there’s a flurry of winter warmers competing for our yens. But which store’s milky, caffeine infused hand warmer is right for you? We’ve put together this article to help you decide which hot Christmas coffee to drink in 2019!

Segafredo: Christmas Tree Latte

Perfect for: when you want to be reminded of that childhood Christmas excitement that comes from playing with gifts beneath the tree
Price (tall): 580 JPY (inc. tax)
Period: 2019/11/01 - 12/5 (or until stocks last)

Italian Coffee chain Segafredo serves up traditional Italian espresso across Japan and this year they’re adding an extra shot of festive coffee joy! The Christmas Tree Latte is covered in colourful, fruity balls atop a mound of cream, with sweet cream flavored coffee underneath.

This drink is light on the coffee, heavy of the festive fun! The colourful balls burst in your mouth, filling it with a cornucopia of fruity flavors. The sweet cream base contains a little coffee and is morishly sweet like eggnog. If elves drink coffee, then a colourful mug of this stuff is there cup o’ jo-yeux noel.

Tully’s: Irish Coffee

Perfect for: anyone needing a placebo boost to get them through work or Christmas shopping
Price (tall): 500 JPY (plus tax)
Period: 2019/11/27 ~ unconfirmed

Start your day with a little extra kick this December at Tully’s. The popular rival to Starbucks in Japan is bringing a boozy flavour to patrons in 2019 with an Irish Coffee Latte. This non-alcoholic take on the traditional whisky laced coffee is ideal for you office workers who find yourselves needing a little (legal) buzz to get through the busy December period.

This creamy “western alcohol” flavored coffee is topped with whipped cream and burnt caramel sauce. It tastes very much like an Irish coffee: rich espresso, sweet cream, smoky notes, but no bite, from the whisky syrup. Everything you need to keep you warm and very merry this Christmas!

Sarutahiko Coffee: Christmas Tiramisu Latte

Photo by Toby M | © PR Times, Inc.

Perfect for: the ideal end to a romantic dinner, only the beginning of an evening of Chirstmassy excitement
Price (tall): 550 JPY (plus tax)
Period: 2019/11/15 - 12/25

Sarutahiko Coffee, rapidly expanding newcomer on the Tokyo coffee scene, is decorating this year’s winter menu with a special Christmas offering: the Christmas Tiramisu Latte. Sarutahiko say the drink is inspired by the theme of “adult Christmas”, a beverage to enjoy with new friends, family and lovers.

The coffee contains a mascarpone cream-cheese sauce which tastes decadent. Topped with lashings of thick cream, dried raspberry, pistachio and Italian biscuit; the drink balances sweet and bitter in the perfect encapsulation of “adulthood”. The kind of drink to indulge in with your Mr. or Mrs. Claus.

Starbucks: Nutty White Mocha

Perfect for: strolling around (or going nuts) with friends beneath Christmas lights on a cold winter evening
Price (tall): 490 JPY (plus tax)
Period: 2019/11/22 - while stocks last

This year Starbucks has released Nutty White Chocolate themed mocha and frappuccinos. The winter line up is designed to evoke moments synonymous with Christmas, the Nutty White Chocolate Mocha being inspired by the moment you light your Christmas tree.

True to form, the beverage looks like a lit-up Christmas tree, its creamy peaks adorned with nutty white chocolate sauce, three flavours of chocolate and silver balls. The fragrant Christmas espresso below is blended with creamy steamed milk and rich hazelnut syrup, making every sweet sip a reminder of being huddled together with friends beneath the Christmas tree.

So whether you’re drinking four cups a day, week or month, Japan’s coffee stores have a Christmas coffee to suit all your festive moods.

By - Toby M.