One Joy Tea Latte Please!

There are lots of little reminders in the days after Halloween that remind us that this semester is almost over and Christmas is coming. I speak for every coffee drinking student when I say I am always thankful when I see the iconic Starbucks cups turning red. But why is it always red?


Something different happened this year. On November 1st, just one day after Halloween, Starbucks introduced the green cup in the United States. It featured a “mosaic of more than a hundred people drawn in one continuous stroke.” The company explained that it represented community and unity in a time of extreme political divisiveness (Santos, 2016). Initially, people thought that the traditional red holiday Starbucks cup was threatened and wouldn’t be returning this year. Huge backlash sparked from this green cup and people began stormed social media with their thoughts on this green cup. Many targeted the green cup as a technique of political brainwashing.

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Click here for more Tweets and Comments on The Green Cup 


The fact is though is that the green cup was not the holiday cup and to people’s satisfaction, the red cup was revealed. People have always found a way to criticize and comment on how Starbucks designs their holiday cups. They brand themselves with the iconic white cup and siren logo. However, Starbucks doesn’t “identify itself as a Christian company, [and] has never put the words ‘Merry Christmas’ on its holiday cups” (Santos, 2006). The video posted below shows that Starbucks recognizes and embraces how people will always have something to say about their iconic red holiday cups. It is recognized that “Starbucks is typically a touchstone for consistency, a beacon of predictability we can take comfort in while the chaotic world around us threaten to swallow us whole” (Santos, 2016).






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Last Christmas, the cup was stripped to simply just a beautiful two-tone red. This ignited conversations because people believed it was a “sign of the unbearable tyranny of political correctness” (Beltrone, 2016). This year, the concerns and comments have been heard and Starbucks has come up with a middle ground solution. The cups this year feature the drawings Starbucks consumers drew on the 2015 holiday cup. You can also buy ceramic to-go cups that you can doodle your own creations on.



“This year’s versions included the aforementioned snowflakes, and reindeer, as well as images like evergreen trees, Christmas lights, and Christmas tree ornaments. Other cups feature more neutral patterns” (Beltrone, 2016). Basically, there is a cup for everyone this year and people should be excited about viewing others creations. “Starbucks wants consumers to know it’s heard their deep concerns about its Christmas cups and has worked hard to rectify the situation” (Beltrone, 2016)

Starbucks has been extremely successful in marketing their holiday drinks by using their signature red cups. This is proven by the amount of uproar this year from the green cup. It still shocks me how people can have so much to say about a cup and I could not agree more with what Ellen had to say last year about this ongoing controversy.


-Samantha Watson Penner


Beltrone, G. (2016). Starbucks’ red Christmas cups for 2016 probably won’t offend anybody (probably). Retrieved from

Santos, A.A. (2016). Starbucks’s green cup controversy explained: For some, the war on Christmas is already here. Retrieved from



5 thoughts on “One Joy Tea Latte Please!

  1. People are so silly. Starbucks does a fantastic job of appealing to everyone, yet having a hint of controversy can be good for advertising. It seems like people always want something to be upset about and Starbucks makes the best of a bad situation. Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They should have made the cups red, white and blue…problem solved! **insert USA!, USA! chant** Very interesting analysis though! I feel like this “controversy” exemplifies one of the issues that bothers me about with social media… people get very angry over very silly things and now they have a platform where they can team up and fight the power. Or, in this case, fight for the right to drink their grande, skinny nonfat caramel macchiato out of a red Starbucks cup, DAMNIT! Great post Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and thank you for reading my post! Americans would LOVE a red, white and blue cup. We should go pitch that to Starbucks. It blows my mind the things people decide are worth getting upset over.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW!!!! that’s pretty crazy…even for me… It may be that you are drinking too much coffee if you are seeing conspiracy theories in your coffee cups…just sayin…

    Great post, thanks. Cam

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m starting to wonder if Starbucks isn’t just doing to inspire the wrath of people with nothing better to complain about. This attack on Starbucks by some people for being “emblematic of political correctness” seems like such a manufactured controversy. When things like this happen it’s always trending, and people freak out over it all over Twitter and FaceBook not realizing they’re just giving Starbucks free advertisement, and may be inspiring some counter-reactionary responses from people in the progress. Here’s hoping they find a new way to annoy people with the 2017 holiday cup, because it’ll be amusing to watch too.


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