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Where did Starbucks Get Its Name?

2 min read

You love coffee, we get it. And most of the times, you are seen sipping through a warm cup of Starbucks coffee (along with a few hipsters, doing their thing on a pricey but ragged-looking laptop). But were you ever curious at why Starbucks is named so? What is the Starbucks name origin?

Of course, it is easy to think that Starbucks comes from the words star and bucks, which may imply as a stellar product that is worthy the bucks.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

To learn the real story, let’s back up a few years. Set time machine to 1970s. Let me introduce you to these three guys from the photo below:

starbucks name origin - founders

No, they’re not your average Starbucks-drinking hipsters. They are (from left) Zev Siegl, Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker.

So in 1971, these guys tried to emulate the popularity of Berkeley California’s Peets Coffee and Tea (which was so popular during those times) and try to bring the market for high-quality coffee beans to Seattle.

When the time came to pick up a name, the three gathered some ideas. A few of them are Cargo House and the Pequod (inspired from Hermal Melville’s Moby Dick). However, the majority of the founders thought that neither of these names is good enough.

Advertising expert Terry Heckler (who worked with Bowker) thought that an st-ending word will be better name. So the trio started suggesting a list of names beginning with st.

Soon enough, Bowker pointed to an old mining site via a map. The site was called Starbo. Bowker then remembered Starbucks, the first mate of Pequod. They decided that it would be a good name, and it stuck. Since then, they have named the company Starbucks, adapting a sea-faring-merchant-ish motive in their coffee shops. In fact, you can even see this influence in the Starbucks logo, which is a mermaid with a split-tail.

starbucks logo

Awesomely Related Fact: Between 1987 and 2007, Starbucks opened an average of two new stores a day. That’s 730 branches a year. (You could do the math to find out how many stores they opened the said span)

So next time you order a latte, or a Frappucino or whatever it is that you like, remember that these Starbucks was named after a character in a book that you probably pretended to read while you were sipping coffee.

Thanks to for the awesome images.





Rudolph is a learner. He loves to read tons of stuff, from nutrition facts to novels. Currently, he helps people get unstuck with their homework as a Junior Market Specialist at Brainly. He also loves burgers.

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