Espresso Love

17 Things You Didn’t Know About Starbucks

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Espresso Love

Espresso Love

In this caffeine-driven era, it’s no surprise that Starbucks reigns supreme — even when times are tough. While the chain took a $3.2 billion loss during 2020 due to the pandemic, Starbucks said it made a "full recovery" in the first three months of 2021 and globally made $6.7 billion, thanks in large part to increasing numbers of vaccinated people coming together for a cup of Joe. The company also just announced that customers will soon be able to bring in their own reusable cups once again after the option was suspended during the pandemic. Read on to learn more about the recent change along with more fun facts you didn’t know about your favorite coffee joint as you stand in line for your latte — while using the free Wi-Fi.

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Starbucks Old Logo
Starbucks Old Logo by Craig Nagy (CC BY-SA)

The First Logo Was a Topless Woman

The original logo features a twin-tailed topless mermaid known as a siren. Obviously the logo has evolved over the years and her hair has become more strategically placed making the logo much more PG-rated.

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There is a Secret Drink Size

There Is a Secret Drink Size

It’s called the Short and is an 8-ounce drink size that isn’t advertised on the menu — though it was one of only two sizes available in the early days of Starbucks (along with a 12-ounce pour). It’s mostly used for kid-sized hot chocolates, but adults can order it too when they don't want a full dose of caffeine — or if they’re looking for a better cappuccino.

Related: 26 Crazy Coffee Products From All Around the World

Starbucks Paper Coffee Cups

You'll Be Able to Use Your Own Cup Again Soon

Starbucks has long allowed customers to use their own cup to get their lattes, Frappuccinos, and tea without stomping unnecessarily on the environment — but during the pandemic, the chain decided to stop making that an option. That officially changes on June 22. Personal cups have to be clean, and baristas won't make any contact with your cup no matter how cool it might look — customers will drop them into a ceramic vessel and customers will pick them up at the counter. Also, don't hold up the drive-thru line trying to use your own cup. Reusable cups will not be accepted there, though Starbucks is trying to figure out a safe solution for that, too.

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The Drink Lingo Has No Meaning
There is a Secret Drink Menu
There is a Secret Drink Menu by Michelle oshen (CC BY-SA)

There Is a Secret Drink Menu

In addition to a secret drink size, there is a secret drink menu. There is even a website dedicated solely to sharing these 200 plus, fancy concoctions. The secret is knowing how to order the secret drinks — you’ve got to know the exact ingredients when ordering. Hot Butterbeer latte, anyone?

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HEAR MUSIC by F Delventhal (CC BY)
Kenny G. Created the Frappuccino

Kenny G. Helped Launch the Frappaccino

Well, kind of. As an early investor in Starbucks, Kenny G strongly recommended the creation of a sweet, milkshake type drink to founder Howard Schultz. The company admits that he played a large role in shaping what is now known as the Frappuccino

The development of the sweet and icy blended beverage, however, actually traces back to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where in 1992 a local coffee shop known as the Coffee Connection used a frozen yogurt machine to create a unique blend of coffee, sugar, milk, and ice. The beverage was christened the "Frappuccino" — a portmanteau of the words "cappuccino"  and "frappe," the New England name for a milkshake with ice cream. The creation was a huge success and helped the Coffee Connection expand to 23 locations. Then in 1994, Starbucks bought the local chain — along with the rights to the Frappuccino name — for a cool $23 million.

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There's a 'Most Expensive Drink' Challenge

There’s a ‘Most Expensive Drink’ Challenge

There is a Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Challenge that has been around for years thanks to social media. And while Starbucks itself frowns upon it and has rules about how big a drink can be made — the challenge persists. The current title holder is a 240-ounce Super Venti Flat White that rang in at $148.99.

Related: How to Satisfy Your $5 Starbucks Habit at Home

A Stanford Basketball Player Created the Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Spice is Available Earlier Every Year

Pumpkin Spice Is Available Earlier Every Year

Aug. 25, 2020 was the earliest date the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Frappuccino have ever been made available. Prior to 2018, the limited-time flavor was only available starting in early September, and occasionally opened to select groups earlier. 

Pumpkin Spice is a Hot Seller...

Pumpkin Spice Is a Hot Seller …

There’s a reason the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Frappuccino get released earlier and earlier every year. They are by far the best seasonal sellers Starbucks has. As of 2015, the company had sold over 200 million Pumpkin Spice lattes over 11 years generating over $80 million in revenue a year from just that one drink.

Starbucks PSL
Starbucks PSL by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (CC BY-NC)

… and a Social Media Sensation

With its ever-growing popularity, the PSL as it has been lovingly dubbed, gets tweeted about using the hashtag #PSL, over 3,000 times a day by loyal fans.

Related: How to Satisfy Your $5 Starbucks Habit at Home

You Can Get Free Grounds for Your Garden

You Can Get Free Grounds for Your Garden

In an effort to recycle more and reduce waste, Starbucks started a program in 1995 called Grounds for Your Garden. Baristas scoop used coffee grounds into empty bags from their espresso beans. Bags of grounds are available for free at many Starbucks locations to use for your compost bin or garden.

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It All Began with Roasted Whole Coffee Beans
There are Thousands of Stores Worldwide

There Are Thousands of Stores Worldwide

As of the end of the 2020 fiscal year, there were 32,660 stores across the globe. Almost half of those stores are located in the United States.

The Number of Stores by State Can Vary Dramatically

The Number of Stores Can Vary Dramatically by State

As of the spring of 2021, California had the most Starbucks stores ringing in at 2,936 stores, while Vermont had the smallest number of stores at only eight.

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