Posted by: Mish | July 3, 2010


Avast, mateys! Spoiler alert for Moby Dick.

I read somewhere that the name Starbucks was conceived from Herman Melville’s whale of a tale and indeed it was. The company’s website says, “the name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders”. I tend to stay away from the pirating monopoly, but like Starbuck and can see why his name was chosen.

Starbuck was a good guy and too good of a ship’s mate because despite his better judgment he obeyed his monomaniac captain. He had no problem calling Ahab out or trying to get him to stop the hunt and did so on several occasions.

“Vengeance on a dumb brute!” cried Starbuck, “that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.”

There were enough mixed feelings about taking on the White Whale that Starbuck could have led a mutiny. A sensible sailor, Starbuck would have made a fine captain. But then the ending to the great hunt would have been different and Moby Dick wouldn’t be as good.

A large coffee with a shot of espresso sounds really good at the moment. Maybe I’ll stop by my local, privately owned coffee shop before work. I’m going to need it.


  1. I’ll always think of Battlestar Galactica when I think of Starbuck. (The original series, I’m showing my age). I had such a huge crush on him.

    I do want to read Moby Dick so I’ll carefully skim your entries so I can avoid spoilers.

  2. I never knew about the origin of the name Starbucks. Cool! Which reminds me, I’m heading to Panera in the morning. Ah … the caffeine and carbs that emenate from that place.

  3. Hmm, never knew about the origin of Starbucks’ name either… pity that despite the origin, I actually really can’t stand Starbucks!

  4. Karen: I’ve only seen a few episodes of each Battlestar Galactica, not enough to know much about the shows. Knowing there’s a Starbuck kind of intrigues me to watch the old one next time it’s on.

    I rarely write spoilers, but think Moby Dick will take extra effort. There’s a lot of good stuff in it.

    Laughingstars66: I’ve heard about Panera but have yet to go. Carbs and caffeine are always a good thing in my book.

    Cookie: I like finding others who don’t like Starbucks. They wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t cause the closing of small coffeeshops (one of which was a favourite) and didn’t charge four flippin dollars for a large black coffee. Highway robbery all around.

  5. Moby Dick is quite the undertaking for which I have never took the plunge.

    It was very interesting to read as to how Starbucks came about their name…meaning behind a name is always good.

    I am not certain as to where I stand about small coffee-shops vs Starbucks. Did not Starbucks start out small? then grew? I wonder about why we get so upset about someone being able to turn their business into a success across the country? As far as small coffee-shops go…we have a few, and one is in my town. I do like going to that coffee-shop, a great place to meet up with a friend, and the coffee is pretty good, and that is the key…the coffee must be good (not saying that Starbucks is great coffee) for a small shop to succeed.

    Mostly though, I am Dunkin Donuts coffee lover….

  6. It’s not a plunge I’d suggest for everyone.

    Starbucks started in the seventies. It’s one of those things where I like that a small company was able to succeed, but don’t like how they’ve become a monopolizing giant to the detriment of other small companies. D&D has good coffee, better than Starbucks in my opinion.

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