Monday, April 15, 2024

Starbucks Plays Scrooge Again

The holiday season is upon us, but Starbucks again decides to play Scrooge

Mariah Carey is in the air, every store is filled with things you need/want for the holidays and Black Friday ads pop up right after you mention something.  Yes, it is the holiday season. Researchers believe there is proof that we are, in fact, happier around the holidays because we can get joyful just by looking at pictures depicting holiday themes. In an experiment, Denmark researcher Brad Haddock showed two groups of people — those who celebrate Christmas and those who don’t — images of holiday themes as they underwent a brain scan. The front of the brain lit up for those who celebrated Christmas as the holiday images flashed before their eyes, showing that there is a “holiday spirit network” in the brain. Kind of like our own international Hallmark channel With all this joy going on, Starbucks plays Scrooge again.

Eggnog is the most popular drink at Christmas, leading pumpkin spice, hot buttered rum and anything with peppermint. Yet Starbucks stripped their stores of the offer in 2021.  The company who makes a living on coffee and sugary coffee drinks snatched a bit of joy from consumers during the holiday season.  Customers were devastated, leaving no joy in Whoville.

The seasonal latte, which contained espresso, steamed eggnog, and ground nutmeg, pretty much tasted like Christmas in coffee cup. The brainchild of Dave Olsen of Seattle espresso bar Il Giornale, which later merged with Starbucks, debuted in 1986 (via Starbucks) and has been a fan favorite ever since.  You could even just get eggnog – chilled or steamed.  Now they are pushing drinks like Caramel Brulée (is it even a part of the season?), iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai or even Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. These do not even touch the popularity of egg nog.

Gen Z’s interest in the nostalgic aesthetic makes them a fan of eggnog along with Gen X and Boomers, which leaves the Starbuck’s decision baffling. Visiting several stores, the staff seems exasperated and annoyed at the question if they have it. As if it is an often asked request.

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While culinary historians debate its exact lineage, most agree eggnog originated from the early medieval” British drink called posset, which was made with hot milk that was curdled with wine or ale and flavored with spices.

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It was thought that the use of “luxury” ingredients such as cream and alcohol would invite prosperity into the household for the coming year. In most households today, a cup of eggnog ushers in the good cheer of the holiday more so than any belief in impending wealth.

Starbucks recent announcement of their bringing back “fan favorites” provides all the joy of underwear and math workbooks as gifts under the tree.  We hope their heart will grow 3X and bring back the yummy goodness.

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