I am a Seattle anomaly. I do not drink coffee.
Even weirder was that I was once a barista.
I drink the occasional cup of coffee every now and again, but when I want a comforting hot drink, I go for a nice, velvety cup of hot chocolate.
Last winter I discovered a delightful variation on the theme. As part of its holiday beverages line, Starbucks offered a salted caramel hot chocolate (hereafter referred to as SCHC). It was particularly frigid winter, and the SCHC soothed my soul. I think I had at least this drink at least twice a week while it was available. I don’t eat or drink any one thing with any kind of regularity so this was a big deal.
I started seeing red Starbucks cups all around Seattle last week, which means the holiday beverages were back. On a cold and soppy night, I ducked into a Starbucks ready to warm up with a SCHC. I saw the eggnog latte, gingerbread latte, peppermint mocha on the menu, but where was my beloved SCHC?
I started to ask the barista, “Do you guys have…” And then she broke the bad news. “We’re not doing the salted caramel hot chocolate anymore.” Bless her for getting to it quickly, but damn–it still stung. First Ciclon and now the SCHC is discontinued.
The kindly barista suggested I go to the Starbucks Web site and post a request to bring back the SCHC. I went to mystarbucksidea.com and found that I’m not the only person missing this drink. There were 27 “ideas” related to bringing back the SCHC. Starbucks apparently reviewed the idea and published this response.
“Hello and thank you for your interest in the Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate beverage. This beverage was quite popular last year and we understand that some of our valued customers are sad to see that it is not returning this year. If you fall into this group and are looking for a similar, yummy beverage, we’ve heard from our Baristas that adding Toffee Nut Syrup and caramel drizzle to the Signature Hot Chocolate is very close to the Salted Caramel beverage you’ve come to love. Please continue to share your feedback and passion for our many delicious beverages. Thank you!”
If the SCHC was so popular, why was it discontinued? And why did Starbucks give such a lame answer to customers’ demand for SCHC? Was it too messy to make? Took too much time? Did the company lose money on it? I don’t understand why Starbucks won’t share the real reason for not serving the SCHC anymore.
And why suggest what seems like a weak substitute for the SCHC? The majority of comments I read said that adding toffee nut syrup and caramel drizzle was NOT the same as a SCHC. I may try it since I really do miss the SCHC. Or I might try and make one myself using this recipe.
At mystarbucksidea.com, I asked Starbucks to fully explain the SCHC situation. If you love the SCHC, please vote for my submission.
I need closure.