Guest column: Starbucks lovers brewing over holiday cup design

Jenna Kuczkowski

A red cup has never caused so many people to become offended until now. On Oct. 22, Starbucks, the coffee giant, gave a sneak preview of its annual holiday cup design to the public. The actual debut of the cup in U.S. stores was Nov. 3.

This year, instead of a red cup decorated with different winter designs, such as snowflakes and pine trees, the design features a cup with a red ombre that starts with a bright poppy color and shades into a darker cranberry. In a press release, Starbucks’ vice president of design and content, Jeffery Fields, said they designed the new cup while keeping in mind the classic holiday red but added the ombre effect to create a design with “distinctive dimension, fluidity and weightedness.”

Upon the cup’s design release, many Christian patrons of the coffee shop have responded in outrage, claiming the new cups lack traditional symbols of the Christmas holiday, such as doves and ornaments used in designs of past cups.

As someone who is Catholic, celebrates Christmas and loves a hot peppermint mocha from Starbucks, I say, who cares?

One would think with this many people offended by a red cup that Starbucks might have openly endorsed communism. All they did was create a design they felt would be trendy and appealing because of the public’s recent obsession with “minimalist” and “ombre.”

In the press release for the design, Fields also stated, “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

Whether the cup was secretly intended to include people of all backgrounds and religions in the joy of looking at their Starbucks cup while drinking their share of special holiday blend roast coffee or just create a pleasant looking and appealing design, should it really matter?

To the people who have posted on social media about their outrage over the new design, I’d like to offer you my condolences for being so bored with nothing to complain about that you would nitpick about coffee cups and post about how you’re not getting your coffee from Starbucks now. I’d also like to thank you for making the line slightly shorter due to your absence, even if it is just for the holidays.

Maybe we can focus on bigger and pressing issues instead, such as asking Starbucks where they get the paper to make those cups; which, according to various news sources, including The Guardian, is made from unsustainable sources, such as the Amazon rainforest.

In addition to the paper in their cups destroying the rainforest, Starbucks’ use of unsustainable palm oil and soy in their other products may also be linked to deforestation around the world.

We also might want to consider asking where those fabled, red coffee cups Starbucks claims to be recycling go after people toss them which, according to new investigations, is likely in the trash because of the costly recycling process used to remove the plastic lining within the four billion disposable cups Starbucks sells each year and the lack of economic incentive for the company.

If I was you, I’d be brewing over a little more than cup designs next time I drink my morning latte from Starbucks.