How Did Starbucks Get Its Name?

The origin is really interesting
PHOTO: Getty

Despite the fact you've probably had a Starbucks at least once a week (a day, more like) for as long as you can remember, the chances are you don't actually know what the name means or where it comes from.

True? True, which is why you clicked on an article entitled, "This is what Starbucks actually means."

According to former Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz, who has just written a book Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Timethe name derives from a reference to Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick. They report that in the 1970s, founders of the coffee shop chain Gordon Bowker (a writer) and Zev Siegl (a history teacher) were playing around with a number of name ideas.

Initially, Bowker pushed for the named "Pequod," after the ship in Moby Dick, but his creative partner Terry Heckler was dubious—and they eventually settled on something inspired by the fist-mate on board, Starbuck.

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In a later interview in 2008, Bowker also explained how Heckler liked the phonetic power of words beginning with "St," and an old map later sealed the deal.

"Somebody somehow came up with an old mining map of the Cascades and Mount Rainier, and there was an old mining town called Starbo," Bowker said. "As soon as I saw Starbo, I, of course, jumped to Melville’s first mate [named Starbuck] in Moby-Dick."

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The coffee shop's wesbite also explains, "The name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders."

And the rest is history. Anyone else for an iced coffee?


This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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