Starbucks believes it can use astrology to determine your drink order

April 4, 2023 0 Comments

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Who knows you better: your barista or your birth chart? Starbucks seems to think it’s the latter.

The world’s largest coffee company recently launched Star Signs, an online interface designed to “match customers with the perfect Starbucks drink and spring horoscope.” While the network has been making headlines for its labor policies and alleged union-busting practices, its current focus seems to be on the user’s turquoise hue with a spinning zodiac wheel.

The company collaborated with the astrological app Sanctuary to create the interactive tool. According to a statement released by Starbucks, “customers will receive a personalized star chart that includes their power words, spring color, flower and Starbucks beverage recommendations.”

But is that really what customers want when considering their caffeine intake?

(Not quite) everyone criticizes star signs

The answer seems to be a resounding no.

We asked thirty adults of all ages, backgrounds, genders, and beliefs (or disbeliefs) about astrology to access the Zodiac Signs promotion. They would spin the wheel, choose their sign, and determine whether they were looking for a morning or afternoon meal.

Then they waited. The drink suggestions were…interesting.

Instead of assigning an astrological sign to the more subtle benefits of coffee, such as a specific type of roast or bean, Starbucks has (perhaps unsurprisingly) focused on promoting its signature blends.

One Capricorn astrology skeptic said the recommended iced Americano is reliably accurate. Four other respondents made similar claims. For the rest…

“Not even close! Terrible.”

“I have never ordered and would never order that drink.”

“I don’t need all that sugar! Or pink.”

“Very frilly. I’m just a black coffee lover.”

“Too sweet, too heavy, too much.”

“A complete failure.”

“I’m allergic to pineapple!”

Again and again respondents complained about overly sugary offers. Too expensive. One stated that it was just creepy.

There were those whose disdain for the signature drink was only slightly less acute than their objection to the corporation exploiting their affinity for astrology.

“Of all the fancy campaigns…”

“I love astrology, but this is a big hooray for me!”

“Perhaps instead of spending development money creating a new sugar delivery channel, they could compensate their workers better.” (No wonder this person identifies as a Scorpio.)

Still, others described a sense of stark incomprehension.

“The drink sounds disgusting to me. But really, their biggest mistake is that they think it’s a good idea to try to dictate or suggest something to a Sagittarius! If they know their astrology, they should know better,” Scorpio stated.

Can Astrology Really Identify Your Desired Coffee?

This is unlikely. Los Angeles-based astrologer and writer Ryan Seaman described the Starbucks promotion as “ridiculous.” “Reducing the complex mechanics of astrology to predicting which drink a certain Sun sign would prefer is like suggesting that a plastic surgeon could determine exactly which elective procedure you would choose based on your hairstyle,” Seaman says.

Astrology, as a science, is several thousand years old and is based on mathematics. According to the ancients, the position of the planets at the time of your birth can trigger many realizations about yourself.

But astrology is a complex interplay of your entire birth chart, not just your star or sun sign. In recent years, this difficulty was almost not noticed. While this is the sign you check for your horoscope, it can’t capture your complexity (neither can Starbucks). Instead, it refers to the outward expression of you in response to a situation or your qualities that are evident to others.

In the case of an afternoon drink, your Sun sign may indicate your need for caffeine or sugar or a distraction to get you through the day. This determines not so much the characteristics of your particular choice, but whether you will order it at all. (Looking at you, Aries, Virgo and Fresh.)

But when it comes to your food and drink preferences, your Sun sign falls short. Instead, these choices depend on countless factors, including childhood experiences, geographic and social influences, wealth, and emotions. The latter is related to your Moon sign. It refers to the peculiarities of your inner world, your aspirations and emotional reaction to what is happening in the world around you. For example, you might want something sweet to calm the craziness of life, or something dark and rich to match your mood.

For better or for worse, Taco Bell got it right a couple of years ago in the a tweet which offered inspired options for your Sun and Moon signs. The brightness of this campaign was perhaps best expressed by the sauce packets. (You know who you are, putting the moon in Diablo’s soft sauce.)

Many of our respondents also checked their drink selections based on their Moon sign. The results were mostly disappointing.

“Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” There is none.”

Astrology can offer insight into all aspects of yourself. But maybe the questions you should be asking aren’t about second-guessing your coffee order. Instead, you can simply trust your gut or your barista’s instincts.

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