What Was the Original Name of Starbucks?

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Starbucks, a household name and global coffee titan, has a rich history dating back to its humble beginnings in 1971. But did you know that the company we now know simply as Starbucks was once called something else? In this comprehensive article, we’ll dive deep into the original name of Starbucks, the story behind it, and how it has evolved over time to become the brand we know today.


The original name of Starbucks was simply “Starbucks”. The name was inspired by the character Starbuck, the first mate in Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick. The company was later rebranded as Starbucks Corporation in 1987 when Howard Schultz acquired the company.

The Birth of Starbucks

Starbucks was founded by Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker in Seattle, Washington, near the historic Pike Place Market. The original name of the company was simply “Starbucks”. But what inspired this name? The founders turned to literature for inspiration, specifically Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick. The name “Starbucks” was inspired by the first mate, Starbuck, in the book.

The initial business model of Starbucks was quite different from what it is today. The founders focused on selling high-quality coffee beans and equipment, rather than serving coffee drinks.

The Evolution of the Starbucks Brand

In 1987, Howard Schultz acquired the company and rebranded it as Starbucks Corporation. With this change, the focus shifted from selling coffee beans and equipment to serving coffee, marking the beginning of Starbucks as a coffeehouse chain.

The name Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice was shortened to just Starbucks, aligning with Schultz’s vision for the company. The Starbucks logo also underwent significant changes, with the most notable one occurring in 2011 when all lettering was removed from the logo, leaving just the iconic twin-tailed siren. This change was intended to reflect the company’s expansion beyond coffee and provide more flexibility in exploring new product offerings.

Public Reaction and Impact on the Company

The rebranding of Starbucks was a strategic move that played a significant role in the company’s growth and development. However, it was not without challenges. Some customers were confused by the name change, leading to a temporary loss in brand recognition. Despite these initial hurdles, the company’s commitment to quality and customer experience helped it rebuild its brand reputation and continue its growth trajectory.

Starbucks Today: Reflecting on its Roots

Despite its evolution, Starbucks has never strayed far from its original name and branding. The seafaring theme inspired by Moby Dick is still subtly present in its logo, and its commitment to high-quality coffee remains unwavering.

Starbucks’ mission statement has also evolved over the years, reflecting the company’s growth and changing needs. From its first mission statement in 1990, “Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow,” to its most recent update in 2023, “With every cup, with every conversation, with every community – we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection”, Starbucks has consistently prioritized quality, community, and connection.


From its humble beginnings as a local coffee bean supplier to its status as a global coffeehouse giant, Starbucks has undergone significant changes. Despite these changes, the company has managed to maintain its original brand essence, reflected in its name, logo, and mission statement. The story of Starbucks serves as a reminder that while brands may evolve, their roots continue to play a crucial role in shaping their identity and guiding their future growth.

So, the next time you step into a Starbucks and order your favorite brew, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and evolution of this global brand, which all started with a simple name – Starbucks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Howard Schultz?

Howard Schultz is an American businessman who served as the CEO of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017. He is credited with transforming Starbucks from a local coffee bean retailer into a global coffeehouse chain.

The twin-tailed siren in the Starbucks logo is a nod to the brand’s seafaring roots, inspired by the nautical theme of Moby Dick. It’s meant to symbolize the seductive allure of coffee and the seafaring history of coffee itself.

What kind of products does Starbucks offer beyond coffee?

Starbucks offers a wide range of products beyond coffee, including teas, pastries, sandwiches, and other food items. They also sell coffee-related equipment and merchandise in their stores.

What was the first location of Starbucks?

The first location of Starbucks was in Seattle, Washington, near the historic Pike Place Market.

How has Starbucks expanded globally?

Starbucks has expanded globally through a combination of company-owned stores and franchised stores. As of 2021, the company operates over 30,000 locations worldwide.

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