Starbucks Thinks It Can Use Astrology to Discern Your Drink Order. Can It?
No one knows you better than...you.
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Who knows you better: Your barista or your birth chart? Starbucks seems to think it’s the latter.
Recently, the world’s largest coffee company released Star Signs, an online interface designed for “matching customers with their perfect Starbucks drink and spring horoscope.” While the chain makes headlines for its labor policies and alleged union-busting practices, its current focus seems to be a turquoise-tinted user experience with a spinning zodiac wheel.
The company collaborated with the astrology app, Sanctuary, in the creation of the interactive tool. According to a statement released by Starbucks, “Customers will receive a personalized Star Signs Chart that includes their power words, spring color, flower, and Starbucks drink recommendation.”
But is that what customers really want when they consider their caffeine fix?
(Not Quite) Everyone’s a Critic of Star Signs
The answer, it seems, is a resounding no.
We asked thirty-some adults of varying ages, backgrounds, genders, and beliefs (or disbeliefs) about astrology to access the Star Signs promotion. They spun the wheel, selected their sign, and noted whether they were seeking a morning or an afternoon bevvie.
Then they waited. The drink suggestions were…interesting.
Rather than assign an astrological sign to a subtler coffee preference, such as a particular type of roast or bean, Starbucks (perhaps not surprisingly) focused on promoting its signature concoctions.
One astrology-doubting Capricorn declared the recommended iced Americano as reliably accurate. Four other respondents asserted similar things. As for the rest…
“Not even close! Terrible.”
“I have never nor would I ever order that drink.”
“I don’t need all that sugar! Or pink.”
“Very froufrou. I’m a straight black coffee drinker.”
“Too sweet, too heavy, too much.”
“I’m allergic to pineapple!”
Over and over again, the respondents complained of the suggestions being too sugary. Too pricey. One declared it was downright creepy.
There were also those whose disdain for the signature drink was only slightly less vehement than their objection to a corporation taking advantage of their affinity for astrology.
“Of all the gimmicky campaigns…”
“I love astrology but this is a big ugh to me!”
“Maybe instead of spending development funds creating a new sugar delivery channel they could compensate their employees better.” (Not surprisingly, this person identifies as a Scorpio.)
Still, others described a sense of feeling dramatically misunderstood.
“The drink sounds gross to me. But really, their biggest mistake is thinking it’s a good idea to try to dictate or suggest anything to a Sagittarius! If they know their astrology, they should know better,” stated a Scorpio.
Can Astrology Really Discern Your Desired Coffee Fix?
It’s unlikely. “Ludicrous” is how Los Angeles-based astrologer and writer Ryan Seaman described the Starbucks promotion. “To reduce the intricate mechanics of astrology to predicting what beverage a given Sun sign would prefer is like suggesting a plastic surgeon could exact which elective procedure you would select based on your hairstyle,” says Seaman.
Astrology, as a science, dates back several millennia and was based on mathematics. According to the ancients, the placement of the planets at the time of your birth can bring about a multitude of awarenesses about yourself.
But astrology is an intricate interplay of your entire birth chart—not just your star, or Sun, sign. That intricacy has largely been overlooked in recent years. Although that’s the sign you check for your horoscope, it cannot capture your complexity (and neither can Starbucks). Instead, it’s indicative of the outward expression of yourself in response to a situation or your attributes that are apparent to others.
In the case of an afternoon drink, your Sun sign might indicate your need for caffeine or sugar or a distraction to propel you through your day. It determines less about the characteristics of your specific selection and more about whether you would order one at all. (Looking at you, Aries, Virgo, and Sag.)
But when it comes to your preferences around food and drinks, your Sun sign falls short. Instead, those choices draw on countless factors, including childhood experiences, geographic and societal influences, affluence, and emotions. The latter is attributed to your Moon sign. This relates to the characteristics of your inner world, your longings, and your emotional response to what’s happening in the world around you. For example, you may crave something sweet to assuage the craziness of life—or something dark and intense to match your mood.
For better or worse, Taco Bell got this right a couple years ago in a tweet that proposed inspired options for your Sun and your Moon signs. The brilliance of this campaign was perhaps best expressed by the sauce packets. (You know who you are, Moon placements in mild and Diablo sauce.)
Many of our respondents also checked drink selections for their Moon sign. The results were largely disappointing.
Astrology can offer insights into all aspects of yourself. But maybe the questions you should be asking of it aren’t related to second-guessing your coffee order. Instead, you may just want to trust your intuition—or your barista’s instincts.