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Starbucks releases another holiday cup

Weeks after releasing a color-it-yourself cup, Starbucks is releasing another holiday cup.

>> Related: Starbucks releases color-it-yourself holiday cups

The new cup is red with an illustration of hands around a heart.

“The red cup is a clean design, with the heart as a space where people can highlight someone in their life who makes the season special,” said Jordan Kay, the designer of the cup. “The design symbolizes the love and warmth felt during the holiday season, when we connect with friends and family.”

The cup released earlier this month, also designed by Kay, is mostly white, giving customers the option to color in between the lines.

The new red cup, which Starbucks says celebrates “the good in each other,” will be given to customers for a limited time, according to The Associated Press.

“By introducing this cup, Starbucks encourages customers to recognize those who fill their heart and embody goodness this holiday season by writing that person’s name in the heart of the cup,” a Starbucks representative wrote in a news release.

Customers are encouraged to share photos with their red cups on social media with the hashtag #GiveGood.

“The holidays are about remembering what it means to give love and put goodness out into the world,” said Leanne Fremar, executive creative director for Starbucks. “We loved the idea of celebrating the good in each other this holiday season.”

This year marks the 20th year that the coffee chain has released holiday cups. 

In recent years, critics have condemned the cups, claiming they have become anti-Christian or anti-Christmas. President Donald Trump even suggested boycotting the coffee giant in the midst of what he has referred to as the “war on Christmas.”

Last year’s holiday cups were green, and Starbucks officials said the cup represented “a symbol of unity.”

>> Related: Protesters build 8,000-cup wall, monster in front of Starbucks' headquarters

Could Krispy Kreme, Panera parent company be looking to buy Dunkin' Donuts?

Speculation that Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts could be purchased by Panera’s parent company, JAB Holding Company, sent the coffee-and-doughnut company’s stock soaring 8 percent higher this week, according to Bloomberg

>> Read more trending news 

The business publication reported Tuesday morning that Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings, which also owns Einstein Bros. Bagels, Caribou Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee and Krispy Kreme, could be looking to buy out Dunkin’ Brands. 

A buyout of Dunkin’ would help JAB take over even more of the coffee market not owned by Starbucks. 

>> Related: Dunkin' Donuts considers cutting ‘Donuts' from name

Bloomberg reports that Dunkin’ Brands, which includes Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, is valued around $8.2 billion. It would be JAB’s second priciest acquisition in the past 19 months, behind Keurig Green Mountain. 

According to Bloomberg's Gillian Tan, Dunkin’s costly upgrades to its digital ordering could be something JAB would be prepared to tackle, having already acquired Panera Bread and that chain’s lavish digital ordering system. 

>> Related: Krispy Kreme owner buys Panera Bread for $7 billion

There hasn't been any evidence of a deal, but the speculation is buzzing. 

Read more at Bloomberg.

Starbucks tests new sushi burrito

Select Starbucks locations will now be selling a combination of two of millennial’s favorite things -- a burrito and sushi all rolled conveniently into one easy to grab snack.

>> Read more trending news 

With the limited release of the sushi burrito, only those living in Chicago and Seattle will be able to give the snack a try and see if it stands up to previous Starbucks concoctions such as the autumn mooncakes or beef jerky cold brew.

RELATED: Chicago Starbucks are now donating all their unsold food to a local shelter

Part of the company’s Mercado menu, which is full of lunch meals for customers to enjoy, customers interested in the sushi burrito will be able to order a chicken maki roll, HypeBeast reported. Rolled up like a little burrito, the meal is jam packed with sticky white rice, shredded chicken, pickled cabbage, cucumber, onion and avocado.

What makes the sushi burrito a crossover of sorts is the tomatillo salsa and lime crema that tops it off before being rolled in a seaweed wrap. If the item does well in Chicago and Seattle, it is presumed that Starbucks will open the sushi burrito to all locations for everyone to enjoy.

Dunkin’ Donuts considers cutting ‘Donuts’ from name

Coffee and doughnuts restaurant Dunkin’ Donuts may be considering dropping ‘Donuts’ from its name. 

>> Read more trending news 

The Massachusetts-based company announced plans on Thursday to open a restaurant location in Pasadena, California, with the shortened name Dunkin’.  

Other restaurants will also feature signage and material with just Dunkin’, The Associated press reported.

The company hopes the move will encourage customers to think of the stores as more than just coffee and doughnuts shops. 

“While we remain the No. 1 retailer of doughnuts in the country, as part of our efforts to reinforce that Dunkin' Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader, we will be testing signage in a few locations that refer to the brand simply as ‘Dunkin,’” the company told CNBC.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which has been referring to itself as just Dunkin’ since it began its “America runs on Dunkin’” campaign in 2006, said it won’t make a final decision on the name change until late next year, according to the AP.

“We do not anticipate making decisions regarding our branding until the latter half of 2018 when we begin rolling out our new store image,” the company said.

>> Related: Dunkin’ Donuts replaces Coffee Coolatta with Frozen Coffee, offers free samples

Starbucks officially adds Ombre Pink Drink to menu

For five days only, Starbucks stores nationwide offered a unique beverage dubbed the Unicorn Frappuccino, a colorful pink and purple drink with sweet and sour flavors and sent customers into a frenzy.

A little more than a month later, the coffee giant has introduced the Ombre Pink Drink.

>> Related: Move over, Unicorn Frappuccino; here’s Starbucks’ Dragon Frappe

According to Starbucks, the beverage is “combines (the) light, fruity Cool Lime Starbucks Refreshers Beverage with cool, creamy coconut milk and a splash of Teavana Shaken Iced Passion Tango Tea, for a bright burst of hibiscus notes.”

>> Read more trending news 

The Ombre Pink Drink will be added to Starbucks’ year-round menu, Delish reported.

Here’s what it looks like: 

A grande serving of the beverage has 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 18 grams of sugar.

Starbucks added a similarly named offering, the Pink Drink, a combination of Strawberry Acai Refreshers with passion fruit and acai flavors, coconut milk and strawberries to the menu in April.

Starbucks testing coffee-flavored ice cubes

Select Starbucks locations in the U.S. have begun testing a new offering for customers in two states.

>> Read more trending news

According to CNN, the coffee chain will offer coffee ice cubes to customers who request them in cold drinks.

The new ice cube option is only available in St. Louis and Baltimore locations while the company sees how customers will respond to the offering.

>> Related: Starbucks being sued for too much ice in drinks

Starbucks spokeswoman Holly Shafer said 100 stores will offer the cubes for the next eight weeks.

>> Related: Starbucks locations to begin serving ice cream treat

Each drink with the customized cubes will cost an extra 80 cents.  

The cubes can be added to iced espresso or brewed coffee drinks, CNN reported.

>> Related: Move over, Unicorn Frappuccino; here's Starbucks' Dragon Frappe

Starbucks opens 5 'Military Family Stores' for vets and military spouses

Starbucks is working to increase employment opportunities for service members and their families through its “Military Family Stores” initiative.

>> Read more trending news

On Tuesday, the coffee chain’s Clarksville, Tennessee, location became the 37th store designated as a Military Family Store, meaning that it’s now staffed primarily by veterans and military spouses.

“Seventy-five percent of my business is the military,” store manager and military spouse Shannon Feltz, 47, told Fox News. “We are so excited about this announcement. I’ve never felt so supported by a company in my life.”

>> Related: Black Rifle Coffee pledges to hire 10,000 veterans

In addition to the Clarksville location, Starbucks unveiled four other Military Family Stores on Tuesday, including two in Texas serving Camp Mabry in Austin and Ft. Bliss in El Paso, one serving Naval War College in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts near Joint Base Hanscom. The stores are part of the coffee chain’s efforts to provide jobs to veterans and military spouses while also serving as a place for service members to come together, connect and share stories. The company has pledged to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2025 and currently employs more than 10,000.

>>  Related: Starbucks responds to criticism over its refugee hiring plan

“Service members and military spouses are the best example of engaged citizens.” Starbucks senior vice president John Kelly said in a statement. “Long after leaving active duty, they continue to vote, volunteer and serve their communities at a high rate, serving as the best examples of citizenship. We are honored to serve as a place where these American heroes can continue to impact their community in a positive way.”

Matt Kress, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and now manages the veterans and military affairs program for Starbucks, remembered the “frightening period” when he transitioned from active duty life to civilian life.

“Some of our veterans are only with us for a year, while others are here longer,” Kress told Fox News. “This is their landing spot to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their life.”

Read more at Starbucks Newsroom.

>> Related: Move over, Unicorn Frappuccino; here’s Starbucks’ Dragon Frappe

>> Related: Starbucks barista rants about unicorn Frappuccino drink

Mass. man wins butter lawsuit against Dunkin’ Donuts

A Massachusetts man who sued Dunkin’ Donuts for not using real butter on his bagel has won a settlement.

>> Read more trending news 

Jan Polanik accused 20 local Dunkin’ Donuts of grand deception.

It turns out it’s all about how you order a bagel.

If you ask for a bagel with butter, you will get a butter substitute.

A spokesperson told the Boston Globe that customers will only get real butter if they ask for it on the side.

This is because Dunkin’ workers keep the butter packets refrigerated and the margarine at room temperature, so it’s easily spreadable.

It’s unclear how much money the man won in the lawsuit.

Starbucks locations to begin serving ice cream treat

Starbucks is switching things up by adding an offering to menus at select locations across the country. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The coffee giant will sell a new dessert in more than 100 stores, Business Insider reported. Ten "upscale" stores in Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, DC., will be the first locations to provide the new Roastery Affogato menu, which offers the frozen treat, according to Business Insider. 

The menu item, inspired by affogatos, an Italian coffee-based dessert, is a scoop of ice cream topped with a shot of espresso.

Versions of the affogato on the Roastery Affogato menu will range from $6 to $8.50.

Starbucks is also testing a less expensive affogato menu at 100 store locations in Orange County, California, according to Business Insider. 

Starbucks' Seattle Roastery started offering affogatos to its customers last summer.

Starbucks will start serving ice cream at more than 100 stores https://t.co/zifj2AqaYL pic.twitter.com/ESzc941cn5— Business Insider (@businessinsider) February 14, 2017

Starbucks debuts not 1, but 13 holiday cups

Starbucks debuted its annual holiday cup on Thursday. 

But instead of offering customers one festive cup, the coffee company released 13 cups with different designs. All the cups are red with white designs and the company's green and white logo. Some designs feature hand-drawn snowflakes, reindeer, Christmas lights, candy canes, ornaments and Santa Claus riding his sleigh. 

According to Starbucks, the cup designs were created by customers from around the world. The designs were submitted to the company via its #RedCupContest last year.

"We crafted coffee. You made it art," Starbucks wrote in a promotional video with the hashtag #RedCups.

Customers complained last year that Starbucks' plain red cups were not festive enough and criticized the company for attempting to be politically correct by taking the Christmas theme off the cups.

The coffee giant's vice president of design and content, Jeffrey Fields, told Us Weekly that the plain cups were meant to embrace "the simplicity and the quietness" of the holiday season. 

>> Read more trending stories  

More recently, Starbucks debuted a green cup that features a mosaic of dozens of people drawn in one continuous stroke. The cup, meant to encourage unity and symbolize "shared values and the need to be good to each other," was criticized when customers believed that the cup was replacing the company's usual red cups. 

"All these faces on my green cup and not a one of them looks like Santa or Jesus. Why do you still hate Christmas?" one Twitter user asked the company. Another said the design was "political brainwashing," saying: "I want snowflakes."

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