Grinch Starbucks is Back

“Grinch Starbucks” has been serving its seasonal “concoctions” in holiday cups since 1995, when the original vessel was actually closer to purple than red. After those first magenta cups in 1995 and 1996, the chain began rolling out the now-iconic candy apple red holiday cups each November that long featured more Christmas designs such as reindeer, Santa on his sleigh, Christmas lights and Christmas tree ornaments, although they didn’t explicitly say “Merry Christmas.” The cups also featured more general wintery icons like snowmen and snowflakes.

But then it really ticked-off Christmas traditionalists in 2015 by releasing a plain, ombre red cup with no designs on it at all, intended to “usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

In 2015, the company released plain red cups decorated only with its logo.

The backlash against Starbucks for waging a “war on Christmas” reached fever pitch. Even then-presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed the “cup controversy” on the campaign trail. “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks,” he told a crowd in Springfield, IL. “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

Refusing to walk on eggnog shells, Trump famously tweeted “People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!” 

The following year, Starbucks scrapped the red cups for green ones featuring “a mosaic of more than a hundred people, drawn in one continuous stroke” that was supposed to be “a symbol of unity” after a contentious election year.

“During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity.”@cr_schnei — anne sackett (@as_fl) November 1, 2016

Some customers didn’t buy it, and accusations of an “anti-Christmas” bias persisted.

In 2017, the holiday cup featured more familiar Christmas symbols like snowflakes and wrapped gifts in red, white and green, as well as a “pair of holding hands.” The non-binary hand-holding spurred some conservatives to question whether Starbucks was pushing a “gay” agenda. The chain told the New York Times that, “We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way.”

In 2018, Starbucks avoided major controversy for a change by rolling out holiday cups in four different designs: a holly print; a red, white and green stripe; and two others that resemble Christmas gift wrapping paper. It also introduced a sustainable, reusable red holiday cup as a free gift for Starbucks customers who came in early and ordered a holiday drink, available while supplies lasted.

Grinch Starbucks 2019 “Merry Coffee” cups.

This year “Grinch Starbucks” is cashing in early on the 2019 holiday season with the release of its reusable red holiday cups and special holiday-themed beverages. The “Merry Coffee” cups and festive flavors appearing at Starbucks outlets across the US and Canada.

The Seattle coffee giant has brewed up plenty of controversy year over year in trying to make its festive cups more inclusive for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. And this year is no exception.

Inspired by seasonal wrapping paper, the coffee chain wanted “coming to Starbucks to be like uncovering a present,” Jen Quotson, vice president of Starbucks Creative, said in a press release.

The Starbucks’ cups come in four “Yuletide” designs: 

Polka Dots: ”The traditional Starbucks red cup is dotted with green, with the Siren playfully popping in here and there.”

Merry Dance: ”A lively pairing of red and green letters jazz up a snowy white cup with a joyful holiday wish.”

Merry Stripes: ”From a distance, this cup looks like it’s wrapped in green vintage wrapping paper. But up close, its tiny type offers a happy holiday sentiment.”

Candy Cane Stripe: ”The colors of the holiday all come together with this design as the Starbucks word mark falls like snow against stripes of candy cane red and white.”

The sleeve on Starbucks holiday drinks say, “We wish you a merry coffee.”

The makeover’s not limited to the “jolly java jugs” exterior. Starbucks took to Twitter to announce new “holiday” season drinks, including “Eggnog, Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate, Caramel Brulee Latte and Chestnut Praline Latte.”

You can pair these with either their new turkey and stuffing Panini or the gingerbread loaf for a poor man’s Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, much to the coffee Twitterati’s chagrin, the exalted “Gingerbread Latte” will not be returning this year.

Of course, the star attraction is the free, limited-edition reusable red cup bearing the greeting “Merry Coffee,” which is available to coffee “aficionados” who order a Christmas seasonal beverage. Even better, customers who return their holiday cup to a US or Canadian Starbucks branch after 2 p.m. from Nov. 7 through Jan. 6 will get 50 cents off their beverage.

Although seemingly innocuous, “Grinch Starbucks” holiday tradition stirs up annual controversy. Many Twitter “sippers” criticized the “macchiato” merchant for refusing to use the word “Christmas” on cups, despite the holders being blatantly “Yuletide” themed.

“I’m gonna get a jump start on the Starbucks holiday cup drama by saying that ‘Merry Coffee’ is the silliest slogan I have ever heard.” — Thot Hashira (@LatinAlbert) November 6, 2019

“Multi-billion dollar corporation and they came up with Merry Coffee. Wow.” — DG (@DG6114) November 6, 2019

“Is Merry Coffee a war on Christmas?” — HayleyBecker (@HaylBecks) November 7, 2019

“Good to see the war on Christmas is going well, these cups are ugly.” — Ellen But Make It Spooky (@_ellenisdead) November 7, 2019

Many associate omitting the holiday’s name with the war on Christmas,” which has seen everything from Santa bans to celebrities reworking classic Christmas carols to make them more “woke.”

As far as I am concerned, I love the smell and taste of “Covfefe” in the morning and don’t understand why anyone waste their money on Starbucks coffee which tastes like raw dishwasher water! 

A Moment from “Merry CoffeeGrinch Starbucks….


A spokesperson for the company said that the slogan “Merry Coffee” was not an attempt to avoid using the word “Christmas.”

“During the holidays, Starbucks aspires to spark mini moments of joy in our customers when they visit our stores, making their day even more cheerful and bright. The ‘merry coffee’ tagline is not a way to avoid saying Merry Christmas, but rather, ‘Merry coffee’ is a fun and festive expression that we hope our customers feel as they take the very first sip of their favorite Starbucks holiday beverage. We honor the Christmas season each year in a variety of ways including the return of customer-favorite Starbucks Christmas Blend, back for its 35th holiday season, Starbucks partners proudly wear their red aprons, holiday music is heard in stores and holiday gifts and Starbucks Cards line our shelves.” 


How dare you “Grinch Starbucks?” We will watch you.

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