Lack of key ingredient means sweets fans may be left singing the blues as roughly 100 branches will get no Operas.

A lot of sweets fans had January 31 circled on their calendars, since it was the launch date for Starbucks Japan’s newest Frappuccinos. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and it being as much about chocolate as it is romance in Japan, Starbucks was set to roll out both a Rouge Opera Frappuccino and a Rouge White Opera Frappuccino, both taking their names from the French layer cake made with chocolate, almond, and coffee.

Sadly, on January 30, Starbucks Japan sent out a notice that both varieties of the Rouge Opera Frappuccino had already sold out at many of its branches and will not be coming back.

Those dates might seem odd, making you wonder if in addition to coffee, desserts, and staggeringly expensive lucky cat figurines, Starbucks has also branched out into time travel. In actuality, though, while January 31 was the official on-sale date for the Rouge Opera Frappuccinos, Starbucks really started offering them on January 29, but only to select customers. Starbucks Rewards members could start ordering them two days early, and enough of them did that roughly 100 Starbucks Japan branches have already run out of a key ingredient, turning what were supposed to be their newest items into instant relics of their dessert beverage past.

So what’s that key ingredient? Gold. Specifically, it’s gold powder, which is sprinkled across the top of the Rouge Opera Frappuccino, just as it often is with opera cakes, with the glint of the gold contrasting elegantly with the darker colors of the chocolate.

With gold powder ostensibly harder to quickly and efficiently procure in great quantities than, say, chocolate sauce, Starbucks will simply not be offering the Rouge Opera Frappuccinos at those branches where the gold rush has already exceeded supply. That also means that those branches won’t be offering gold powder as a topping to other drinks, which was supposed to be an option during the Rouge Opera Frappuccino’s run. As a consolation, the chain says that those branches which ran out of gold powder prior to January 31 will instead be offering a free drink customization to customers. “We wish to offer our deep and sincere apologies for the inconvenience we have caused to our customers who were looking forward to these products,” says Starbucks Japan in the announcement.

While 100 branches missing out on the new Frappuccinos isn’t an insignificant number, it’s worth noting that Starbucks has roughly 1,800 branches in total in Japan, so assuming you’re not in a rural community or only interested in going to the branch closest to your home/workplace/school, you can probably still track the drinks down. Starbucks cautions, though, that with the early reactions exceeding their expectations, it’s highly unlikely that any branches will be able to keep the Rouge Opera Frappuccinos in stock until their official final day of sales on February 14, so if you’re going to need to do some legwork to get yours, you’ll want to get your shoes on soon.

Source: Starbucks Japan via IT Media
Top image: Press release
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