Why Starbucks Discontinued Its Luxury Drinking Chocolate

As beloved as the coffee giant Starbucks is, the company does have a record of breaking customers' hearts. Each time it discontinues a beverage, there are inevitably disappointed customers who have adored said drink. Drinks like the Valencia Orange Refresher, the Unicorn Frappuccino, and the S'Mores Frappuccino are mourned by many as beverages they desperately wish Starbucks would bring back. The same goes for the short-lived Chantico, Starbucks' version of drinking chocolate which was made by steaming cocoa butter and whole milk, making it extremely decadent, sweet, and rich.

Released in 2005, Chantico was available at Starbucks for less than one year before the company pulled it from its menus. It wasn't necessarily the flavor that was the culprit of its short-lived availability, it was the fact that Chantico was not customizable, which, in the eyes of Starbucks fans, is far from ideal. Customers of the Seattle-based business know they can swap milk, syrups, sizes, and even the sugar content of any of their favorite drinks, but you couldn't even order a larger size of Chantico; it was six ounces or nothing at all — and no extra flavorings.

What you see is what you get

For comparison's sake, a tall beverage at Starbucks contains 12 ounces of liquid while the lesser-known short size contains eight ounces, so the Chantico was pretty tiny, but for good reason. It was an indulgent hot chocolate that can be described as resembling France's famous chocolat chaud and other rich drinking chocolates in Europe. Needless to say, a little of the luxurious drink went a long way. Named after the Aztec goddess of hearth and fire, Chantico was essentially a drinkable dessert, one that contained nearly 400 calories per serving size. 

It certainly garnered a fan base, but in the end, Starbucks customers as a whole like to request things like, "make it decaf," and "low-fat, please," things that the company just wasn't able to accommodate for Chantico. Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz told NBC News, "[Chantico] was something that customers did like, but they wanted to be able to do something else with it." Customers not only customize their Starbucks orders for personal tastes but also to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Starbucks giveth and taketh away

Starbucks does offer two types of hot chocolate on its menus, but they are both more conventional American versions. The classic variety is made with warm milk and its signature mocha sauce while its signature hot chocolate is made with a special chocolatey base that comes prepackaged. They are both, though, customizable by size, flavor, and even toppings. Fans have even concocted a way to customize the classic to make a Mexican-style hot chocolate by adding white chocolate and cinnamon dolce syrups. 

Though it may take away drinks that people love, Starbucks also knows how to keep its customers excited with new, seasonal beverages that tend to include returning favorites and brand-new offerings. The returning winter menu has brought back peppermint mochas, chestnut praline lattes, and more and has introduced the new gingerbread oat milk chai drink. Unfortunately, another fan favorite, the toasted white chocolate mocha, was put on the holiday drink chopping block. Only time will tell which of the new drinks will become future favorites and which ones will take their place as gone-but-not-forgotten beverages.