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Starbucks’ new Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa arrives along with a major pivot

Starting today Starbucks, fans can pick up the latest treat, the Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa: steamed milk, white chocolate sauce and cinnamon dolce syrup topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon-sugar. And you can enjoy a plethora of Starbucks-brand flavored hot cocoa mixes and K-Cup pods galore, made with real cocoa and nonfat milk and… oh, by the way, did we mention Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down?

He’s not leaving the company, but his new role is all about creating major changes for Starbucks.

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As executive chairman, Schultz will focus on Starbucks’ high-end Reserve Roasteries and Starbucks Reserve retail stores. Reserve Roasteries? What does this mean? Is Starbucks getting even more expensive?

Well, here’s what’s going on. Lately people have been moving away from hanging out in coffee shops and doing more ordering coffee online. So Starbucks wants to make the brick and mortar shop a more “relevant customer destination.” The Seattle roastery has been such a huge success as a retail experience — in terms of praise and sales — that they’re going to open 20 more around the world by the end of 2019. And they’re opening 1,000 more stores that take elements of the roastery.

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The roastery stores will focus more on premium coffee. Think: coffee obsessives brewing with fancy, precision equipment using select rare beans, small-batch-roasted right on the premises. So, you’re probably wondering, is this coffee going to be even more expensive?

Yes, of course it’s going to be more expensive — $6 to $9 a cup. But in spite of that, people are raving about the roastery experience.

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“This is like Starbuck’s older, cooler sister, who went to Europe for college and came back even cooler, having left her awkward wannabe-hipsterness behind,” says tourist from Australia Chantee F.

Now, before you panic over coffee snobs hijacking your caramel lattes, remember the roastery store is just a new option you have in addition to your usual seasonal whipped cream-flavored whatever. No one is taking that away from you, and no one is making it more expensive (that we know of). This is just Starbucks growing itself in what seems to be fun and interesting ways.

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