The Starbucks Cup


Starbucks has released its new holiday cup this year, and once again, the protests have begun. Now, before you declare #TEAM CUP or #TEAM CHRISTMAS, I have to share what I learned about the coffee giant recently after reading a great book, The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli.


Now, I loved Starbucks before, but after reading this book, I love it more. It is a great book for anyone in any industry.

The Five Principles

The company and its partners (aka employees who own stock in the company) work from five main principles:

  1. Make it your own
  2. Everything matters
  3. Surprise and delight
  4. Embrace resistance
  5. Leave your mark

  Now, I'm not going to elaborate on each principle, but I will share a little of what I learned as relevant to this topic, what makes Starbucks a successful business, and what makes me love this caffeinated giant more than PSL season. (For those of you who don't know, PSL is Pumpkin Spiced Latte)

Starbucks really does care about your personal interests. Your's and your fellow man's.

All of their policies not only make sure you are a happy, caffeinated customer but that the world it serves is as well. Don't like your coffee? Tell them.  Their policy is to make it right. Want something special? Ask. They'll make it.

Starbucks is literally a global company with coffee shops around the world. Each one caters to the local culture and preferences. To your preference. They have a drink to suit every taste. Don't like the Peppermint Mocha? Cool. Try a Caramel Burle. Don't like coffee? While I may look at you like you're nuts, Starbucks has a special list of non-coffee drinks just for you.  In China, the drink of choice is tea. Guess what is big on their menu?  Tea. Tea time is serious business in China. It's not about drive-thrus and quick fixes. Starbucks took the time to research and respects the culture, so no drive-thrus.

In the section about Principal Two: Everything Matters, Michelli elaborates on a specific point that impacts the underlying reason for this cup: Everyone Matters - Uniqueness of customers and employees. This applies to even the simple, mundane details that most people take for granted. Like the cup design.


Last year, the cup was just red. Plain ol' red. And people flipped. This year, the design features all different types of people, united by one, simple line drawing.

While YOU may be offended that Christmas isn't written on your cup o' joe, your Hanukka and Kwanza celebrating neighbors are appreciative of a cup that allows them to celebrate their beliefs this season, too. It's inclusive, and Lord knows this world needs it.

One of my favorite School House Rock videos was about the principles that actually did make America great. You know, the one with a bunch of people of all different nationalities, religions, and cultures swimming around in a giant cartoon melting pot? I'm of the opinion that it is still the best depiction of this concept.

And Starbucks gets it. It gets Goodwill toward man; the very spirit of the season.

So really, the spirit of Christmas is at the root of this new design, even if it doesn't have "Merry Christmas" written on it.

Quite frankly, if you're looking for Christmas in the cup...

He isn't here. Matthew 28.6

merry everything, happy always, alex