Plot Twist — The Starbucks Mascot Isn't Actually A Mermaid

It's nearly impossible to imagine a Starbucks beverage without seeing the mesmerizing mermaid logo on the front of the cup. The only issue with this image is that the multinational coffee brand's iconic logo ... does not depict a mermaid at all.

The mythical creature that has come to be the mascot of the Starbucks Coffee empire is actually a siren, not a mermaid. The siren is as old as the first Starbucks location. And while she's undergone a few makeovers since the brand's inception, including tweaks to her hair and face, her essence remains intact, along with her influence on the brand. 

Starbucks' creative director, Steve Murray, declared, "If the siren is on that cup of coffee, it's going to be awesome." Aside from aiming to signify a quality beverage from a quality brand, the symbolism behind the siren on the cup is as rich as the coffee inside.

The story behind the siren

The crowned mascot on the Starbucks logo is inarguably a siren; the giveaway is that a siren has a pair of tails, which you can see on either side of her head, whereas mermaids have just the one.

A mythical inhabitant of the seas, the siren plays on the nautical theme of "Starbuck," which is the name of the first mate in the classic Herman Melville novel "Moby-Dick." The founders settled on the name of their company because they wanted their brand to reflect the port city, and its birthplace, Seattle, as well as the seafaring spirit of the global coffee trade. When looking for a logo that encapsulated this ethos, the founders were drawn to the siren because, according to Murray, they "really loved the look of it, and it kind of tied into what they felt Starbucks stood for."

A symbol for something impossible to resist

Beyond serving as an emblem of the sea, the siren also represents an irresistible allure, much like a velvety smooth, robust cup of coffee. In Greek mythology, as well as the Homeric epic poem, "The Oddessy," sirens were known for their beautiful songs that called to unassuming sailors and drew them into their traps. 

Whether you enjoy your Starbucks order for its unique taste or a convenient caffeine fix, you may feel a similar sense of captivating allurement that is hard to ignore when you see that green and white logo. Like a siren calling a sailor to the sea, the logo calls us into the coffee shop (or the Starbucks Reserve for drinks you can't get at regular cafes). The siren is a true icon and puts the "Star" in Starbucks. And while she might not be a mermaid, with twice the number of tails, one could argue she's twice the mascot.