16 Things You Didn’t Know About Starbucks

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starbucks drink sitting on outdoor table
Photo credit: payphoto/istockphoto

ESPRESSO LOVE

In this caffeine-driven era, it’s no surprise that Starbucks reigns supreme. It’s popular Pumpkin Spice Latte — which has an interesting history of its own — is back again for fall at the world’s No. 1 coffee chain. Check out these 16 fun facts you didn’t know about your favorite coffee joint while standing in line for your latte — and using the free Wi-Fi.

old starbucks logo
Photo credit: 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.

small starbucks cup in front of laptop
Photo credit: Mckyartstudio/istockphoto

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.

lined up starbucks cups from smallest to largest
Photo credit: sndr/istockphoto

THE DRINK LINGO HAS NO MEANING

There is no rhyme or reason as to why a Starbucks small drink is called a Tall, or a medium is a Grande, or that a large is a Venti. The creators fully admit to just making the names up.

unicorn frappuccino
Photo credit: 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?

hear music sign
Photo credit: HEAR MUSIC by F Delventhal (CC BY)

STARBUCKS HAD A RECORD LABEL

In 1999, Starbucks bought the record label Hear Music and signed artists such as Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Alanis Morissette, Carly Simon, and Sonic Youth. The record label eventually folded in 2008.

kenny g hollywood walk of fame star
Photo credit: GreenPimp/istockphoto

KENNY G. CREATED THE FRAPPUCCINO

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.

Photo credit: AnthonyRosenberg/istockphoto

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.

pumpkin spice latte with ingredients in background
Photo credit: Mizina/istockphoto

A STANFORD BASKETBALL PLAYER CREATED THE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

Peter Dukes, a former Stanford basketball player who studied economics and received his MBA, was tasked with developing a new fall drink. In 2003, the Pumpkin Spice Latte was born and the recipe has remained unchanged ever since. Dukes is credited with inventing it.

unidentified man drinking starbucks
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PUMPKIN SPICE IS AVAILABLE EARLIER EVERY YEAR

Aug. 28, 2018 is theearliest date the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Frappuccino have ever been made available. In previous years, it has only been available in early September, and opened to select groups earlier. This year it was rolled out Aug. 28 to the general public, promptly calling an end to summer.

line of people waiting at starbucks
Photo credit: anouchka/istockphoto

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.

PSL sign outside starbucks
Photo credit: 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.

coffee grounds
Photo credit: johnandersonphoto/istockphoto

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.

hands holding bag for falling roasted coffee grains
Photo credit: YakobchukOlena/istockphoto

IT ALL BEGAN WITH ROASTED WHOLE COFFEE BEANS

Back in 1971 when Starbucks was first created, they only sold whole roasted coffee beans. In 1987, employee Howard Schultz bought the company, and the company it is today began to take shape.

starbucks in china
Photo credit: SeanXu/istockphoto

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF STORES WORLDWIDE

As of the end of the 2017 fiscal year, there were 27,339 Starbucks stores. Over half of those stores are located in the United States.

starbucks in california at sunset
Photo credit: anouchka/istockphoto

THE NUMBER OF STORES CAN VARY DRAMATICALLY BY STATE

As of the fall of 2017, California had the most Starbucks stores ringing in at 2,821 stores, while Vermont had the smallest number of stores at only eight.

starbucks stock listing
Photo credit: grummanaa5/istockphoto

IT’S NEAR THE TOP OF THE FAST FOOD CHAIN

Starbucks is far and away the largest coffee chain worldwide, and the second-most valuable fast-food brand in 2018, surpassed only by McDonalds.

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