Skip to Content

Starbucks Releases Its 2018 Holiday Cup Designs

Starbucks unveiled its holiday cups for the 2018 season Thursday, with this year’s designs inspired by the company’s own coffee roasts and logo.

The four designs are of varying shades of red, green, and white, a clear attempt to head off any controversy similar to the red cup debacle of 2015, when the release of a simple, solid-red holiday cup led some to believe Starbucks was raging war on Christianity.

This year, the designs are appropriately festive, although the color choices are more evocative of Christmas than the other season’s celebrations.

“We listened to our customers,” Roz Brewer, Starbucks’ chief operating officer, told CNN Business. She added that customers said they “loved the tradition of Christmas.”

So Christmas it is: The first design is green argyle with stars like that atop the Siren’s crown in the company logo. The second cup’s red-and-white flame pattern is meant to represent the intense flavor of espresso, according to a Starbucks press release. The third, inspired by the styling of Starbucks’ coffee bags, has vertical white and red-toned stripes.The fourth and final design is white featuring red coffee cherries and green leaves, similar to holly.

Starbucks 2018 Holiday Cups shown on Thursday, October 25, 2018 in Seattle. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)Joshua Trujillo Starbucks

Starbucks is also bravely bringing back that iconic, solid red cup—this year in a reusable form (let’s hope the cries of “War on Christmas!” don’t return as well).

Customers who order a holiday beverage on Friday, Nov. 2 will get a free solid-red limited-edition reusable red cup, according to Starbucks. Those who return to the store with this red cup after 2 p.m. between Nov. 3 and Jan. 7 get 50¢ off any grande holiday drink.

Starbucks’ tradition of having new cups with festive designs for the holidays dates back to 1997, but for whatever reason, Americans have found controversies in the smallest details over the past few years.

Last year’s cups were white with festive doodles, inviting customers to color their own holiday magic. The cups were fine, but an advertisement for the design caused an uproar because it featured two women (potentially romantically) leaning toward each other while enjoying Starbucks drinks together.

In 2016, a limited design devoted to unity was attacked when customers mistook it for the official holiday design.

Hopefully, this year Starbucks customers will sip their peppermint mochas in peace.