The Breakdown of The Starbucks Shortage

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The last thing any avid Starbucks-goer wants to see when arriving to the drive-thru window is a warning sign the supply shortage. COVID-19 may seem to finally start being a thing of the past with the distribution of the vaccine becoming more and more widespread, but the long-term effects of a year-long shutdown are only just coming to the surface.

COVID-19 and Coffee

So, how is the demise of your specifically curated Starbuck’s order connected to the pandemic? Let VALLEY explain something called the global supply chain.

According to Abby McClatchy, who studied supply chain management here at Penn State, supply chain is “the backbone of a company.” “It’s not as seen to the outside world, such as how marketing or finance is, but without it the company goes through disruptions, as we saw in the pandemic.” McClatchy said.

McClatchy also explains to VALLEY how a part of supply chain logistics is trucking. “The pandemic affected this part of supply chain because there was limited travel among states, so companies started to become unable to get their trucks full of products to their stores in other states.” These so called “disruptions” are what brings us to where we are today, with at least 25 ingredients on a temporary hold at Starbucks.

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The Missing Key Ingredient

Starbucks brought oatmilk to their menu in March, with the introduction of two new drinks, the oatmilk honey latte and the oatmilk brown sugar shaken espresso. Both of these drinks can still be ordered, just with any milk other than oat, which was their initial appeal. The ability to do just that, substitute whatever preferred ingredient into any drink, is what makes people so crazy about Starbucks, but it’s also what makes a shortage all the more stressful. The reason this temporary shortage has been so hard is because it’s not just one drink affected by it: any person’s drink, whether it be coffee or matcha or tea can be ruined just from one ingredient missing.

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What To Order Now

This temporary shortage is affecting every individual store differently. The Starbucks that you have been going to could be missing different ingredients than the one on West College Avenue back in State College. But for now, let’s say your local Starbucks is missing the famous oatmilk. Starbucks does offer almond, coconut and soymilk as other vegan options.

If you’re in the mood for a refresher, their guava tea and lemonade have been hit by the shortage, but as of now, at most Starbucks locations, the strawberry acai refresher is still going strong. The baristas know the struggle of figuring your way around the menu, so for the most part, they will be able to talk you through the discovery of a new drink. The important thing to note is that the baristas are here to help and these holds are only temporary as the world works to get back to normal.

Have a favorite Starbucks drink? Let us know your go-to order by tweeting us, @VALLEYmag, on Twitter!

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