Playful butterflies, swirling coffee beans, delicate flowers, colorful continents, an iconic Starbucks apron, and a detailed night scene all adorn cups that were selected as finalists in the Starbucks Partner Cup Contest.

Inspired by the success of its White Cup Contest for customers, Starbucks gave its store partners (employees) an opportunity to express their creativity through their own design contest last month.

In just one week, more than 1,500 entries were submitted for the first cup design contest for Starbucks baristas.  

“Our expectations were blown away, both in the number of entries and the quality of the submissions,” says Dan Jensen, a manager on the partner communications and engagement team. “We have talented partners at Starbucks.”

Baristas decorated iconic Starbucks white cups with hand-drawn art, took a photo of the cup design, and shared it through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #PartnerCupContest as a hashtag. From those entries, more than a dozen were chosen for judging. Partners throughout the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle voted to narrow the selections to seven finalists.

The finalists' designs will be considered carefully, and three Partner Cup Contest winners will be announced in mid-April. The winning partner designs will be produced on Starbucks 16-fluid-ounce reusable cup and will be available for purchase later this year.

“It was difficult to narrow down the choices and it will be challenging to select the final three winners,” Jensen says. “All the designs are reflections of the way our partners bring their work to life in our stores every day—creatively, thoughtfully, and individually.”

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