As many of my readers know, I like featuring Starbucks t-shirts and talking about the stories that they represent.  I kind of think that most Starbucks t-shirts have some history lesson behind them, and it’s fun to take a look at pieces of Starbucks of yesteryear.

This is the third episode of Starbucks promotional t-shirts.  The first two are here:

And without further delay, another short episode of Starbucks promotional t-shirts:

I bought this t-shirt at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea when that was a new “experimental” Starbucks.  I think I got it sometime in late 2009.  In January of this year, 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea adopted the Starbucks logo and branding again.  As a result of the re-branding as a Starbucks, all the previous merchandise featuring the “street level” and “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea” branding has long since been discontinued.  15th Avenue Coffee and Tea opened July 24, 2009, and three years later I still feel sentimental about this store.  It’s warm and welcoming, and has knowledgeable partners.  This is a great store.

This Sorbetto t-shirt is something that I found on eBay.  I had been looking for one for a while.  Sorbetto was a delicious test beverage from 2008, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It came in several flavors and I personally liked the yogurt-based Tangy Sorbetto flavor best.  I have a little more information about Sorbetto in this previous blog post here:

Starbucks Sorbetto: The 2008 delicious test product that didn’t make it.

Howard Schultz talks about Sorbetto in his new book, Onward, How Starbucks Fought For its Life Without Losing Its Soul.  I recommend reading Onward, (please consider using the widget in the right side column to buy stuff, as you can help support and offset the expense of the blog) and for those who are curious, here’s a short excerpt about Sorbetto:

On July 15, 2008, three flavors – a yogurt-based Tangy Sorbetto, a slushy Citrus Ice Sorbetto, and a mix of the two, Tangy Citrus Ice Sorbetto – would be available in more than 300 stores in Southern California.  The base product had been shipped from Italy to our warehouses.  Partners were being trained to prepare the drinks, and the in-store merchandising was bright and bold. …

The margin, it turned out, had been whittled down by higher than anticipated cost of goods and unforseen complications.  Although we planned to manufacture the base ingredient in the United States, for now we were buying and airfreighting it across the Atlantic at great expense, and the weakening value of the dollar against the euro was jacking up the already high costs.  What’s more, because of the consistency of the beverage, the company had to purchase hundreds of new machines to mix just the dairy-based Sorbetto drink, an investment we could not have predicted back in Italy.

It was too late to turn back, and hundreds of California stores were decked out in promotion pink decor.  Brightly colored oversized “splat” spot had been stuck on store windows and floors.

 The lesson learned from Sorbetto: Success of a product doesn’t always have to do with how toe-curling delicious it is.

The “Vivanno Nourishing Blend,”  as it was originally called, was launched by Starbucks in the middle of July 2008.  It was part of Howard Schultz’s determination to keep the innovation DNA of Starbucks alive, and to bring a health and wellness category beverage to the business.   Originally, there were two flavors:  Banana Chocolate and Orange Mango.  There were Vivanno aprons for partners to wear, and the Vivanno even had their own special cups!  These t-shirts were part of the promotional materials from that era.  I found this shirt on ebay, and gladly bought it right away, knowing that piece of Starbucks history.  The Vivanno really had a significant amount of advertising, on top of the in-store tools like these t-shirts and the aprons.  Some readers, perhaps, will remember that there were door signs that had a bunch of fit characters.

I love this shirt!  It’s this year’s Starbucks shirt signifying community service.  I picked up this shirt on April 30, 2011,  at the Seattle marquee community service event.  Starbucks held six very large community service events all over the world this year, and at each one, partners, customers, and numerous volunteers wore these green shirts.  There was a blog post in the official blogs here talking about the six events.  Even better, there is a roundup blog post here in the official Starbucks blogs talking about what the events were.  Also from the Starbucks official blogs, here’s the article about community service in Shanghai, and a really amazing article about community service in Vancouver BC where Starbucks volunteers renovated a garden.  (The Vancouver BC article includes a great before and after photo.)

Last but definitely not least, here is my blog article from the April 30, 2011, event in Seattle, Washington where partners, customers alike restored a playground, improved a local park, and improved the Mount Baker neighborhood in Seattle.

April 30, 2011 Seattle Community Event – Melody’s blog post – Includes lots of photos

The official Starbucks blogs have a post about the April 30, 2011, Seattle event too – There needs to be more photos in this!  Neighbors Spruced Up Schools and Parks.

There is not too much to say about this t-shirt.  I bought this at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea about one year ago.  It was briefly sold there, and as I recall, they really didn’t have very many of the shirts.  I’m not totally clear what the thinking was behind this shirt because it was not a shirt that partners wore in the stores to promote this new coffee lineup.  In August 2010, Starbucks launched the Reserve Coffee line, offering premium single origin whole bean coffee.  The first of the Reserve Coffee offerings was the Galapagos Island Coffee, and I even went to a roasting event for this coffee at the headquarters.  Some of you might remember that I wrote two blog articles about the Galapagos Island coffee:

Starbucks Galapagos Island Coffee – It’s almost here. (A very short article introducing this coffee).

Starbucks Galapagos Island coffee roasting event at the headquarters.

Hope you enjoyed these t-shirts too!  I do love these t-shirt episodes.  Every single one of them has a story behind them.