13 Surprising Things About Starbucks That You Probably Didn’t Know

We all love to go to Starbucks, right? Even if you prefer a mom-and-pop coffee shop, chances are, certain drinks just don’t taste the same at other places (like Starbucks’s hot chocolate, for instance).

Okay, so you have the whole Starbucks menu memorized, even when they switch things up and add new drinks, like the Caramelized Honey Latte. But did you know the 13 things below? I bet not! I sure didn’t until I started doing some research.

1. Starbucks Was Named After “Starbuck” In Moby Dick

moby dick photo
Photo by Nesster

Yep, who knew, right? You can also learn a lot more about Starbucks in Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz’ book, Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time. (No, he did not ask us to plug it!)

2. The Mermaid Logo Was Once More Racy

starbucks original logo photo
Photo by Román Emin

Yep, back in the ‘70s, the mermaid logo showed more cleavage, let’s say… well, she actually had no top on at all. Back in 1971, the initial coffee shop on the Seattle waterfront needed a logo, and consultant Terry Heckler was hired. He “pored over old marine books until he came up with a logo based on an old 16th-century Norse woodcut: a two-tailed mermaid,” said Schultz.

“Bare breasted and Rubenesque, [the mermaid] was supposed to be as seductive as the coffee itself,” he said. But, she was more distracting than anything else.

So, her hair was moved to cover her chest in the logo. And when Schultz bought out the original Starbucks partners in 1986, he amended it to the mermaid who sits in the center of the green circle on the white cup that we’ve all grown to love.

3. There’s A Starbucks Ski-Thru

On The Snow

Love the convenience of Starbucks’ drive-thrus? Well, you can use their ski-thru, too, if you’re in Squaw Valley, CA. I think that’s reason enough to make the trip to Squaw Valley’s slopes!

“We worked closely with the design team at Starbucks to create a one-of-a-kind experience that we know our guests will truly enjoy,” said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley’s president and CEO. “Nowhere else in the world can skiers and riders enjoy a delicious Starbucks coffee without missing a beat on the slopes.” Count us in!

4. You Can Buy Starbucks Fragrance Oil

Yep, if you want to smell Starbucks coffee 24/7, you can buy Starbucks Fragrance Oil from Just Scent and use it to make candles. Mmm.

5. No Smoking (That Means No E-Smoking Either!)

no smoking photo
Photo by khawkins04

Speaking of scents, what about smoke? In 2013, Starbucks forbid smoking, the e-cigarette kind, too, within 25 feet of its stores (pending the local laws of said locations) in the U.S. and Canada.

“Starbucks takes pride in providing a comfortable environment at our stores where customers and members of the community gather,” Starbucks told the Huffington Post.

“We always value our customers’ feedback, and we take seriously our responsibility to provide all customers a safe, healthy environment that is consistent across our company-owned stores.” I love this rule, as there’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy coffee outside, breathing in the fresh air, and then smoke wafts over.

6. Need Health Insurance? Get A Job At Starbucks

Starbucks offers health insurance to employees… even part-time ones. This is definitely a huge perk, and not the only reason you should get a job at Starbucks, but what other part-time jobs offer health insurance these days?

For instance, I know a husband and wife with three teenage kids. A few years ago, when the husband was suddenly laid off, the whole family lost their health benefits.

The wife went to work at Starbucks and they were all covered. Her husband ended up getting a new job, one that would provide them all with insurance once again. The wife loved her job at Starbucks so much, though, that she stayed… and is there to this day.

7. There Was Once A Big Issue At Starbucks… Over Nonfat Milk

milk photo
Photo by JeepersMedia

Today, you probably see people putting all kinds of milks into their cups of coffee, from whole milk to soy. But back in 1989, there was a debate about whether or not Starbucks would offer nonfat milk as an option for customers.

That year, customers wanted nonfat milk, per requesting it on comment cards. Taste tests had been done, lattès and cappuccinos made with nonfat and skim milk versus whole milk, and the latter tasted better to people. Dave Olsen, head of coffee quality, had conducted the tests, and Schultz read the comment cards.

Enter Howard Behar. He’d been hired then as head of retail store operations and insisted that they should give the customers what they want. A debate began… until Schultz saw a customer leave a Starbucks store for not being able to make a lattè with nonfat milk.

He then approved of Behar testing nonfat milk in Starbucks stores. And guess what? People drank it up (pun intended). In 1997, about half the cappuccinos and lattès contained nonfat milk.

8. The Round Tables Are Meant To Make You Feel Less Alone

Not only are the round tables meant to make you feel less alone, but also to make you feel more comfortable, as though you’re at home. “Round tables are more welcoming than those with square edges,” said Karen Blumenthal in her book Grande Expectations. “And people look less alone while seated at a round table.”

9. Employees Cannot Wear Engagement Rings (Or Rings With Stones)

engagement ring photo
Photo by wwarby

In 2014, Starbucks revamped the dress code for employees, and they were no longer able to wear rings with stones in them, like engagement rings. The reason? “Food safety rules,” Starbucks states in its “U.S. Retail Dress Code Guidelines.”

So, if your fiancé questions it, tell him to talk to your boss. You can also check out the complete dress code regulations here in Starbucks’ fun one-sheet.

10. Frappuccino® Starbucks Happy Hour Is Here

Yep, Frappuccino® Starbucks Happy Hour is going on now in the U.S. and Canada between 3-5 p.m. local time.

Frappuccino® blended beverages are half-price, and new flavors include Caramel Waffle Cone Frappuccino® blended beverage and S’mores Frappuccino® blended beverage. Yum!

Rewards members get Happy Hour till 6 p.m. (when paying with a registered Starbucks Card or Starbucks® app). Frappuccino® Happy Hour ends May 15, though, so hurry!

11. Starbucks Coffee Has More Caffeine Than A Red Bull

starbucks coffee cup photo
Photo by Allan Henderson

Yep, there’s more caffeine in a cup of Starbucks coffee, a cup of “Grande” at least, than there is in a can of Red Bull. The Starbucks cup has 330 mg while the Red Bull has 80 mg per 8.4 fl oz can. And I think Starbucks coffee tastes way better than Red Bull, anyway! Plus, it probably has less chemicals than the latter.

12. Customize Your Frappuccino® blended beverage… 36,000 Different Ways

With all the varieties of milk, syrups, and toppings, it’s time to get creative, and there’s no reason to drink the same Frappuccino® blended beverage twice!

13. You Can Live On Starbucks, Literally

Think you’re a Starbucks fanatic? In 2013, Blogger Beautiful Existence decided to live on Starbucks and only Starbucks. You can check out her story here.

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Photo by m01229

Food, Life

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About the Author
Natalia Lusinski
In addition to Simplemost, Natalia is an ongoing writer for Bustle (sex, dating, relationships, and money), HelloGiggles (pop culture and news), The Delite (feel-good stories), and Don’t Waste Your Money (yep, money issues!). You can also find her writing in the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune's RedEye, xoJane, Elite Daily, Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, among other publications. She has a Ph.D. in couch-surfing, having spent four years sleeping on over 200 L.A.-area love seats and sectionals, all in an effort to whittle down her student loan debt. She still loves couch-surfing in other cities, too (hint, hint).

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