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    Starbucks celebrates 25 years of its holiday red cups

    Fan favorites including the peppermint mocha and the reindeer cake pop make their way back to Starbucks stores nationwide on November 3.

    Starbucks is celebrating an extra-special holiday milestone this year: the 25th anniversary of its iconic holiday cups.

    Beginning November 3, the coffee giant’s festive menu makes its return, including the now 20-year-old peppermint mocha, the returning reindeer cake pop and an all-new pastry: the chocolate pistachio swirl. Other limited-time items include the caramel brulée latte, the iced sugar cookie almond milk latte and the sugar plum cheese Danish.

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    Now in their 25th year, Starbucks’ red cups have become synonymous with the season for consumers, even though the first holiday cups were not red at all. Instead, they resembled wrapped gifts and came in shades of purple, green and blue. This original design, created by Sandy Nelson, was chosen among 100 other submissions. The first red cup didn’t appear until 1999, when their rollout coincided with the brand’s expansion into Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

    “What’s happened now in popular culture is that the appearance of the red cup signals to people that it’s time to celebrate the holidays,” Nelson said in a statement. “Who would have thought 25 years ago that would happen?”

    This year, consumers can expect four different holiday designs, one of which harks back to the design of the first holiday cup and is wrapped like a gift. “We have always talked about the cups as little gifts, and we hope they feel like a festive present to our customers and store partners,” said Gary Jacobson, the coffee brand’s creative director for this year’s campaign, in a statement.

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    Starbucks has deemed its peppermint mocha one of its most beloved beverages to date, even though it wasn’t the brand’s first seasonal drink. The first seasonal product, debuted in 1984, was its Christmas blend – a hand-scooped coffee that was packaged in brown kraft paper to be brewed at home.

    The brand’s first hand-crafted holiday beverage, the eggnog latte, came in 1986. “Customers’ understanding of espresso was really in its infancy,” Starbucks’ product manager for espresso beverages Peter Dukes said in a statement. “I think [a holiday beverage] was a good introduction for a lot of people back then to lattes and espresso.”

    Throughout the most wonderful time of the year, the coffee behemoth will run a series of ads that celebrate its familiar treats, including eight different spots for TV and streaming platforms, four full-page insertions in weekly publications and a variety of digital content.

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