Linda Clark-Borre

Pass the $#%&! Salt, Starbucks! Now!

12/14/2012 12:24

When it comes to sweet, creamy drinks I’m an easy sell.  I get out my handled bucket, wait my turn, they pour in the syrupy foamy goodness, I pay dearly, and that’s OK.

Seasonal drink offerings are fun to sample, and when they’ve disappeared with the last snow of the season, I’ve always resorted to my fall-back cappuccino with two pumps of white mocha syrup.  Last year, however, that changed.

Some brilliant Starbucker came up with the Salted Caramel Mocha, or SCM.  On an ordinary day in a land far away, I sampled its nutty goodness and became addicted on the spot. I was soon to learn once the happy holiday season has passed, one could still order the drink, but without the salt sprinkled on the top of the cream. This has created a problem.

Now in these here mountainous parts, enterprising folks can concoct just about anything to satisfy a craving, but I have never found anyone with a recipe to reliably replicate the SCM. That’s because the unique elusive salt is so special.  And, I might add, so important to the drink.

Here’s the (salt) rub for me: Most Starbucks stores around here have already run out of the salt with weeks left in the holiday season.

One by one my Starbucks stores fell, forcing me into the last one quite a ways away from my home. “I want a Salted Caramel Mocha, do you still have the salt?” I asked the unfamiliar Starbucks team. The two barrista/os eyed each other for a brief second before reaching beneath a counter to reveal what they claimed was their last precious jar of the special, imported from France, je-ne-sais- quoi -is –in-it stuff.

“We can make it, but this is all the salt left in the store,” said the man behind the machine.  “We all ran out early this year.”

“Will you sell me the bottle?” I asked hopefully. “I can keep it in my car year round, get the drink without the salt you no longer have, and fix it up myself the way it supposed to be.” They laughed as if I were joking.

It seems the special grains of top-secret formula salt are hard to come by. But you and I know this is planned obsolescence strategy at work; thus they build a market of addicts that ensure those long holiday lines from the start of the season to the end of the salt. And it’s not even Christmas yet.

I think it’s mean, and beg them: Release your top-secret salt stores.  I know they exist somewhere. Give the customers what they want…what by now some of them need.  Turn your attention to new holiday themed drinks, like Chanukah Chai or Kwaanza Koolers.  Get new people addicted, but don’t deprive the faithful during this season of Love. Let it extend the year around; I will gladly pay for it.