Holiday Starbucks cups signify start of season
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 19:11
With “#redcups” trending on social media sites Twitter and Instagram, hundreds of posts and pictures will appear with Starbucks holiday cups as the subject.
The red holiday cup, which features a red winking snowman this year, has already been distributed at Starbucks on Main Street. The annual release of the cups has been met with excitement from students and coffee fans alike.
“For me, the cups signify the start of the holiday season,” senior Elena Misoulis says.
Misoulis, a Long Island native and former Starbucks employee, says she is also a huge fan of the coffee chain’s holiday drinks,especially the peppermint mocha latte. She worked at a Starbucks on Long Island for two years during high school and says many of her friends look forward to the holiday drink release.
This year, the holiday beverages include the espresso-based peppermint mocha latte, caramel brulee latte, the gingerbread latte and the eggnog latte. Misoulis says although the peppermint mocha latte is available all year, the other holiday drinks are only available until January.
During Misoulis’ employment at Starbucks, she says the cups were not supposed to be distributed until after Thanksgiving, but her location began handing them out whenever the store received the shipment.
This year, Starbucks announced the release of the cups on Nov. 1 via Twitter with a post reading, “Good to see you, my friend #redcups.” A photograph of the red cup was attached to the post as well.
While Misoulis says many of her friends countdown to the cups every year, Steve Higgins created a website last year that features a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the red cup release titled, “Countdown to the Red Cups.”
Higgins, a Britain native, stated in an email message that he thinks the cups are a much anticipated aspect of the upcoming winter months.
“They come at a time when summer is over and there’s a cold dark winter ahead, and I think people want to start looking forward to the nicer things about winter – the celebrations,” Higgins says.
This year, Higgins’ site received 65 thousand visitors and featured a countdown clock as well as a voting mechanic which tweets people’s favorite red cup with a hash tag and a link back to his website.
Higgins attributes much of Starbucks’ success to its ability to create visually appealing and festive cups.
“[Starbucks] has its own brand and identity,” he wrote. “You can say ‘red cup’ and a large percentage of their customers would know it’s a Starbucks drink without having to include the company name.”
Likewise, Misoulis says Starbucks is successful because it promotes a relaxed, comfortable environment.
Sophomore Kristen Mellin goes to Starbucks at least once a week and says although she does not frequent Starbucks more in the winter, she still enjoys the holiday cups. A self-described “coffee lover,” Mellin says Starbucks is her preferred brand of coffee because she enjoys the taste of the drinks. During the holidays, her favorite drink is the peppermint mocha latte because of the flavor blend.
Though she says the cups are “cheery” and make her excited for the upcoming season, she goes to Starbucks primarily for its relaxed setting and espresso drinks.
Mellin says she has “always preferred Starbucks espresso drinks.”
However, Misoulis says during the time she worked at Starbucks, the store would be increasingly busy during the winter months. The store ran out of “grande” cups on several occasions—the most popular drink size there. She credits this popularity to the symbolism of the red cups.
“I think people look forward to the cups,” she says. “It’s a way to remind them of the season.”