Starbucks’ decision to discontinue its popular hazelnut syrup has left many customers disappointed. The coffee giant has not provided a detailed explanation for removing the beloved flavor from its menu, leading to speculation and questions from longtime hazelnut latte drinkers.
When did Starbucks get rid of hazelnut syrup?
Starbucks phased out hazelnut syrup in North American stores in spring 2021. The company removed the syrup from its list of standard flavor options and discontinued hazelnut-flavored coffee and espresso drinks. Some locations may have continued offering hazelnut for a short time after the official discontinuation as they used up remaining inventory.
Why would Starbucks remove such a popular syrup?
While Starbucks has not directly addressed why it pulled hazelnut syrup, a few potential reasons emerge:
- To simplify menu options and focus on top-selling items
- To make room for new flavor innovations and product launches
- To improve profit margins by streamlining inventory and offerings
With its “hazelnut flavor drizzle,” Starbucks offered both a syrup and a sauce option for adding hazelnut taste. Removing one version may have allowed the company to optimize its menu.
How have customers reacted?
Many loyal Starbucks customers have expressed disappointment, frustration and anger over the disappearance of their go-to hazelnut coffee order:
- Some feel Starbucks made a poor choice in removing such a popular, classic flavor
- Customers miss the nostalgia and familiarity of hazelnut
- The flavor was part of many customers’ regular orders
- Hazelnut fans don’t seem to be appeased by the remaining hazelnut drizzle sauce
Social media posts and online reviews convey the range of customer sentiments about the hazelnut syrup’s removal. Some customers claim they will go to independent cafes to get their hazelnut fix now.
Has Starbucks commented on the hazelnut phase-out?
Starbucks has not made any official statement directly addressing the reason for hazelnut’s removal or customers’ response. Some disappointed customers who have reached out to baristas or customer service for an explanation have received vague responses:
- “We regularly review our menu to meet customer demand and improve the customer experience.”
- “We apologize for any disappointment. We periodically retire flavors to make space for new product innovation and to improve inventory management.”
The lack of a clear rationale from Starbucks has left some customers feeling dismissed. The vague explanations also fuel speculation on the actual motivations behind hazelnut’s disappearance.
What’s the history of hazelnut at Starbucks?
Hazelnut syrup has been available at Starbucks locations for over 20 years. It’s unclear exactly when it debuted, but references to hazelnut lattes and iced coffees can be found on menus from the late 1990s.
The flavor profile combined the aromas and taste of roasted hazelnuts with coffee. Customers enjoyed it in popular drinks like:
- Hazelnut lattes
- Iced hazelnut coffees
- Hazelnut mochas
- Hazelnut Frappuccinos
Hazelnut represented a standby, familiar flavor that customers could rely on finding at Starbucks for decades. Its long history made it surprising when Starbucks suddenly removed it from menus.
What drinks can you no longer order with hazelnut?
With hazelnut syrup gone, many Starbucks drink staples are no longer available with the classic nutty flavor:
- Hazelnut lattes
- Hazelnut cappuccinos
- Iced hazelnut coffees
- Hot hazelnut coffees
- Hazelnut mochas
- Hazelnut macchiatos
- Hazelnut Frappuccinos
- Hazelnut cream coffees
- Cold brews with hazelnut
- Nitro cold brews with hazelnut
- Hazelnut chai tea lattes
- Hazelnut matcha lattes
- Iced hazelnut matcha lattes
- Hazelnut white chocolate mochas
- Hazelnut peppermint mochas
While the hazelnut drizzle remains, the syrup’s disappearance prevents replicating the classic hazelnut-infused Starbucks drinks so many customers love.
Are any hazelnut coffee options still available?
There are a couple of ways to still get a hint of hazelnut flavor at Starbucks currently:
- Hazelnut flavor drizzle: Adding this sauce to drinks provides some nuttiness, but lacks the rich hazelnut infusion the syrup created.
- Hazelnut coffee beans: Some locations offer bags of Starbucks whole bean or ground coffee featuring hazelnut flavoring. However, supplies seem limited.
- Hazelnut creamer: Adding hazelnut creamer or non-dairy hazelnut milk provides subtle nut flavor, again not replicating the syrup.
But the full hazelnut latte experience customers love is now gone with the discontinued syrup. None of the remaining options fully satisfy the craving for that classic Starbucks hazelnut coffee taste.
What are fans saying on social media?
Hazelnut syrup fans have taken to social media to lament the loss of their favorite Starbucks flavor. Some examples of customer reaction on Twitter include:
|“No more hazelnut syrup at Starbucks? Why would they get rid of the best coffee flavor ever?!?”
|“I’m crushed that I can’t get a hazelnut latte anymore when I go to Starbucks! It was my regular order for 15 years.”
|“First the reduced hours and now no more hazelnut coffee? Starbucks is breaking my heart over here.”
|“Hazelnut syrup disappeared from Starbucks and I’m not okay. It’s just not the same with the drizzle.”
The tweets demonstrate the devotion many customers felt towards their favored hazelnut coffee orders. Losing the ability to customize drinks with hazelnut syrup has clearly disappointed fans.
Have sales of hazelnut coffee dropped?
With hazelnut syrup no longer on the menu, Starbucks has certainly seen a sales decline in hazelnut coffee varieties. But concrete sales data is not available about exactly how much revenue has been lost from the discontinued flavor.
Based on angry customer reactions on social media, it’s likely the sales drop has been significant. Hazelnut coffee was clearly a very popular part of Starbucks’ business. And many customers are now taking their business elsewhere to find the hazelnut flavor profile they crave.
Has Starbucks tried to replace hazelnut with new flavors?
Starbucks has not formally announced a new flavor meant to directly replace or substitute for hazelnut. However, the timing of hazelnut’s removal aligned with the launch of new seasonal flavors:
- Spring 2021: Introduced new “Coconutmilk Latte” and “Iced Golden Ginger Drink”
- Summer 2021: Featured “Iced Pineapple Matcha Drink” and “Starbucks Refresha Beverages”
- Fall 2021: Brought back popular Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Winter 2021: Added “Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte” and new holiday drinks
While none mimic hazelnut, Starbucks possibly hoped new flavor innovations would distract from the loss of the hazelnut staple. But based on customer response, the substitutions have not measured up for disappointed hazelnut lovers.
Could hazelnut syrup ever return to Starbucks?
It’s too early to say whether Starbucks might eventually decide to bring back hazelnut syrup, given its recent disappearance. But looking at other past Starbucks retirements provides clues:
- Caramel Brulée Latte: Removed in 2015 but made brief limited-time returns in 2019 and 2020
- S’mores Frappuccino: Discontinued in 2016 after a 5-year run before having a limited comeback in 2019
- Valencia Orange Refresher: Taken off menus in 2015 and not brought back yet
Based on these examples, it’s possible hazelnut could return as a rotating or seasonal offering in the future. But likely not as a permanent menu fixture given its removal after decades of availability.
Where can you still find hazelnut coffee?
While Starbucks no longer offers the original hazelnut coffee experience people loved, there are a few options for getting your fix elsewhere:
- Local independent coffee shops and cafes may offer house-made hazelnut syrups.
- National chains like Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera Bread, and Peet’s Coffee include hazelnut flavor shots and syrups on menus.
- Nestle and International Delight brand hazelnut creamers allow DIY hazelnut-infused coffees at home.
- Torani and DaVinci Gourmet syrups offer retail hazelnut coffee syrups for home use.
- Hazelnut coffee beans and pre-ground hazelnut coffee can be purchased from coffee roasters.
Checking options from both big brands and local shops can help find the closest thing to the original Starbucks hazelnut coffee experience.
Will this impact Starbucks’ bottom line?
Discontinuing such a famously popular menu item will likely impact Starbucks’ profits and bottom line to some extent. However, how much depends on a few key factors:
- Customer loss: How many disappointed hazelnut lovers will actually take their business elsewhere?
- Replacement flavors: Can the new seasonal drinks make up for any lost hazelnut sales?
- Brand loyalty: Is loyalty to Starbucks strong enough among core customers to withstand menu changes?
- Price increases: Menu price hikes in 2022-2023 may help profits withstand any hazelnut-related declines.
If most core Starbucks fans remain loyal and accept new flavors as substitutes, the hazelnut syrup loss may not dramatically damage profits. But a meaningful customer exodus would signal a damaging miscalculation on Starbucks’ part in removing such a beloved menu fixture.
Starbucks’ decision to stop offering its popular hazelnut syrup has sparked an outcry among devoted customers who grew to depend on the flavor over more than 20 years. The coffee giant has not specifically explained the reason for pulling hazelnut from menus, leading to speculation and intensifying customer frustration.
Replacing hazelnut with new flavor innovations and seasonal drinks has not satisfied disappointed fans based on widespread complaints on social media. The disappearance of the once-reliable flavor has left some customers feeling alienated and declaring plans to abandon Starbucks for cafes still serving hazelnut coffee.
Only time will tell whether this marks the end of hazelnut’s long run at Starbucks or just an extended break. But for now, diehard fans are still mourning the loss of their favorite order. Starbucks faces criticism for taking away such a beloved menu staple that many loyal customers considered a vital part of the Starbucks experience.