During the holidays, memories from the past help connect us across time and distance. Simple acts can spark a flicker of remembrance – like making snow angels, serving an old family recipe and hanging sentimental childhood ornaments. The senses can cue our memories too, like the smell of peppermint or fresh-baked gingerbread. This season, Starbucks stores are celebrating the spirit of yesteryear with a modern twist.
“We started this season by looking to the past,” said Kristy Cameron from the Starbucks Creative Studio.
The Starbucks Creative team found inspiration for this year’s holiday look in one of Starbucks most time-honored traditions, Starbucks Christmas Blend, which will be back in Starbucks stores tomorrow (Nov. 2) for another holiday season. When dreaming up holiday plans more than 18 months ago, they passed around one-pound coffee bags from more than 30 years of the beloved brew. They talked about old stories, remembering an unexpected gift for a customer at the Pike Place store, and former coffee buyer Dave Olsen delivering Christmas Blend to Seattle area stores from the roasting plant in his pickup truck.
“Looking back at our heritage, we found something lovely in our own story, with beautiful coffee and flavors that come together to make the season magical,” Cameron said.
They snipped pieces from Starbucks holidays past – a star, a branch of coffee cherries, a flame. They added doses of vintage colors and patterns, like mint green and argyle and reinterpreted them with graphic flair, and a dash glitter and shine.
Starting tomorrow, Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada will be decked for the holidays to mark the return of the seasonal flavors of Peppermint Mocha (back for a 16th year!), Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Gingerbread Latte and Eggnog Latte, all available hot, iced and Frappuccino blended beverages. Stores will transform with festive and warm trim and décor, Starbucks baristas will proudly wear their red aprons, customers can sip their favorite seasonal beverages from holiday cups, shop for Christmas Blend whole bean coffees and beautiful, giftable Starbucks Cards and merchandise.
“When you come into Starbucks, there’s a festive vibe,” she said. “Our customers have told us that the return of Starbucks holiday cups and beverages are a signal the season is upon us. We hope they feel the holiday magic that only Starbucks can create during this special time of year.”
Stores adorned in festive holiday cheer, cup designs unveiled
Starbucks holiday cups have themselves become a symbol of the season for more than two decades. Just as they did that first year in 1997, this holiday features a series of four unique cup designs:
On each bag of Starbucks coffee there is a sealed seam that runs along the back, called a fin. Starbucks has been adding a contrasting color along the fin as a design element for years, and the team found a way to bring that design element to center stage. A take on the iconic red cup, the Stripes holiday cup features graphic bands of bright poppy red and a darker cranberry, accented with white pale rose gold. A ribbon of black, white and Starbucks green on the back ties all the four cup designs and reappears in merchandise and store signage and displays.
“The ribbon was born out of the holiday feeling of boxing holiday presents and wrapping paper,” Cameron said. “The holiday cups feel like these presents you want to unwrap. Each one is its own gift.”
Ripe coffee cherries have evoked festive holly on packaging over many years, including 2013 and 2017. In a nod to Starbucks coffee heritage, the Flora design features mint-green graphic leaves with pops of colorful bright red berries against a cream-colored background.
Starbucks Christmas Blend Espresso Roast is known for its intense flavor and caramelly sweetness. Designers used fire to represent this rich, dark roast, and reimagined it as elegant flame in the red and white retro Espresso Houndstooth design.
Stars often appear in Starbucks designs, even winking atop the Siren’s crown in the company logo. The illustration of a couple reaching up to place a star atop a holiday tree from Christmas Blend 1999 was the starting point for this year’s Stargyle design. Here the stars twinkle against a backdrop of interlinking diamonds in varying shades of Starbucks green.
Limited-edition red reusable cup
Starbucks is giving customers who order a holiday beverage on Nov. 2 a free, limited-edition reusable red cup, while supplies last. Customers who bring their reusable holiday cup to a participating Starbucks company-owned or licensed store in the U.S. or Canada after 2 p.m. Nov. 3 to Jan. 7 will get $0.50 off their handcrafted grande (16-ounce) holiday beverage.
Holiday Food & Merchandise
New holiday food to savor this season includes Chocolate Swirl Brioche, a buttery brioche layered with a dark “fudgy” chocolate filling, Pistachio Honey Croissant, and the Sugarplum Cheese Danish, made with buttery croissant dough topped with creamy cheese filling and plum spread. These new holiday flavors join returning favorites Gingerbread Loaf, Penguin Cake Pop, Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop, Snowman Cookie, Cranberry Bliss Bar, Carved Ham & Swiss Breakfast Sandwich and Holiday Turkey Panini.
As the holiday season approaches, Starbucks® stores offer a cheerful collection of gifts, including shimmering cold cups, sleek tumblers, festive mugs and whimsically decorated Starbucks Cards. The holiday gifts will be available in stores in the United States and Canada starting tomorrow with more beautiful, curated merchandise added throughout the season. Find something for everyone on your list in this year’s gift guide.