Starbucks' new springtime cups already generating mixed emotions

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Starbucks is getting ready to unveil a limited-edition cup design that, unlike its plain red holiday cups from 2015, hopefully won’t offend any customers-- or social media commentators. 

On March 16, the coffee chain will debut its first ever spring-themed hot beverage cups in pastel green, blue and yellow, with each color corresponding to a different size — green for tall, blue for venti, and yellow for large.

Every cup will also feature a large white dot in the center, some of which will be blank, while others will be printed with a whimsical springtime-themed doodle or design, such as a sun, an umbrella or a bunny.

“After the gray days of winter, there’s nothing quite like those first few bursts of color that indicate the arrival of springtime,” Starbucks announced.

The coffee chain also revealed that its new cups will only be available at participating locations “for a few days” only.

Despite not hitting stores just yet, the pastel cups are already generating plenty of buzz online. Many say they love the cups bright colors while others are anticipating potential problems arising from the new design.

While it’s still too early to gauge any potential backlash to Starbucks’ new pastel designs, some of the coffee chain’s cups have caused controversy in the past — and on more than one occasion, too.


In 2015, the company was accused of “hat[ing] Jesus” by an evangelical social-media personality after they debuted red holiday cups without any discernable Christmas-themed symbols. And the next year, the company got mixed reviews on the green cartoon-covered cups they debuted in Nov. 2016. They were not the chain's official winter-themed hot beverage cups but still generated plenty of mixed reactions. 

The #TrumpCup, however, is responsible for the most recent Starbucks controversy. In 2016, many pro-Trump customers perceived that Starbucks harbored a bias against president-elect Trump, so they began asking for coffee orders using his name, ideally forcing baristas to write “Trump” on their cups.

The movement was also accompanied by the #TrumpCup social media hashtag, which customers used to share stories of their baristas' reactions online.


Still, Starbucks continues to introduce new seasonal cup designs, a practice they reportedly began over 20 years ago. But as a spokesman for Starbucks tells Eater, the company hasn’t yet committed to making its springtime cups an annual tradition.

“We’re excited to introduce our first-ever cups to celebrate spring,” said the representative. “It’s too early to say if these will return next year.”