Starbucks You Are Here Mug Collection

As a coffee mug collector (or hoarder), I took a liking to the Starbucks “You Are Here” series of mugs that the company has for just about every city and/or state. Collecting such mugs while traveling over the years had become a semi-integral part of those trips.

That is why I was disappointed when I learned that Starbucks is retiring the “You Are Here” series. In place will be a new series of city and/or state themed mugs entitled “Been There.”

Photos of the new mugs have surfaced online and they definitely have a different style design, which will disrupt existing “You Are Here” collections. Casual collectors may or may not notice the difference, and even if they do, they may not care too much since the experience to them is more about collecting a souvenir from a travel destination. Meanwhile, the more ardent collectors are unhappy that their efforts at growing their collections will soon be disrupted.

For as passionate as the ardent collectors are, I suspect that sales generated by them are significantly outnumbered by the more casual collectors. And if sales have softened, then I can understand from a business perspective why Starbucks is making this change. I do wish that the company would somehow show some sympathy to the more ardent collectors though. This decision is inevitably going to upset a community that has been among their brand’s most proudest supporters over the last several years.

While I am bummed that there are some destination “You Are Here” mugs that I really like that I will never have the experience of picking up in person, I am also feeling a sense of relief.

It was during my vacation to Seattle last year where I started to realize that this hobby, which is supposed to be fun, was becoming anxiety-ridden.

During that trip, my wife and I used the opportunity to also visit Vancouver. Between both cities, my obsessive compulsive anxieties took over due to the excess amount of “You Are Here” mugs that were available. There were mugs for Seattle, Pike’s Place (the original Starbucks restaurant), Washington State, Canada and Vancouver — all of which I ended up purchasing except for Washington State. In addition, I picked up an extra Seattle mug for a friend of mine who also collects (though I have a separate beef about that, which I’ll save for another time). I also purchased the Starbucks Seattle “Relief” mug and a Tim Horton’s Vancouver city mug.

I came home with seven coffee mugs! Seven!

Over the last few months, I had started to seriously contemplate towards retiring the hobby, even prior to learning that that Starbucks was discontinuing the “You Are Here” series. The experience of traveling home with seven mugs from the Seattle/Vancouver trip was genuinely stressful and the same thing happened again on a smaller scale while in London last summer. In addition, storing all those mugs has become more of a challenge.

From photos I’ve seen, I’m not that impressed with the “Been There” series mug design. Starbucks switching to the new series may just further steer me towards my original instinct of retiring the hobby.

The thought of continuing at this point has somewhat of a “been there, done that” vibe to it.

11 Comments

  1. Popcornchicken Reply

    I agree. I am annoyed because I just started to set out on my travels only to discover that I will no longer be able to collect the YAH mugs.

  2. Jac Hutchinson Reply

    OMG – I was so upset about this – I have a huge collection of these mugs as well and the Been There replacement mugs just aren’t the same. 🙁 I tried to ensure I wasn’t visiting too many places in order to feed my mug buying habit… plus, I’d worry they’d be broken on the flight or motorcycle ride.

  3. Martin Reply

    I was in Ohio in late spring and in Arizona earlier this month and had a few opportunities to purchase new “Been There” mugs from Starbucks. I passed on each opportunity. Easily.

  4. roger miller Reply

    yeah I just did a road trip and was pissed I couldn’t buy most of the ones I wanted as they had sold out of them. The Been There series is hideous! Hopefully Starbucks doesn’t sell many of them and realizes they made a huge mistake. I’d think even the casual collectors/tourists would prefer the You Are Here series more so. The art work is great!

  5. I totally agree. Everywhere I go, buying YAH mugs started to become more of a duty than anything. I do love YAH mugs. They are cute and modern. I don’t care for Been There series’ designs by contrast. But when I started counting the number of mugs I collected and tallying up how much I have spent on them… oh boy. I might have been secretly waiting for something to end my expensive hoarding habit. If Starbucks discontinued YAH, I can peacefully shift the blame to them: I *have to* quit because Starbucks quit, when in fact, I kind of *wanted to* quit.

    I hope that YAH in Europe will continue though. I believe that European YAH mugs lag behind North American mugs. They still carried Global Series when I visited Geneva two years ago. When I revisited a year ago, they switched to YAH mugs.

    Anyway, a spot-on analysis, my fellow YAH mugger. Keep ’em coming!

  6. I am so disappointed they aren’t making the You Are Here Series anymore. It sorta became an obsession with me and I started picking cities to visit to add to my collection. Was very fun ! Got to experience a new city and get a new Starbucks YAH mug. People would offer to get me a mug when they traveled but it had to be from a city I had been to before I’d accept. I collected cities and have several. The mugs are very nice looking and made great display. The new Been There Mugs are UGLY. Terrible design. Maybe Starbucks will bring the You Are Here series back at some point. I pray they will have a change of heart.

  7. Celine Larkin Reply

    I’m very sad about the end of these wonderful mugs, which we enjoyed collecting. The new series is REALLY UGLY. I will not collect them, and I can’t believe they released such an ugly product. I wish there was a way to tell Starbucks.

    • Brenna Durkee Reply

      I just tweeted on Starbucks original post when they said they were discontinuing the YAH mugs. I have a huge collection from around the world and I will not be continuing my collection with Been there cups. UGLY. Hopefully I can still locate a few more YAH cups in my travels.

  8. I am very bummed that I will no longer be able to collect the You Are Here mugs. Really not a fan of the new line, so I will be left with an incomplete set. Hope Starbucks realizes their mistake assnd brings it back. That collection always looked so bright and happy. The new one seems to be trying too hard.

  9. I was also disappointed that Starbucks discontinued their line of You Are Here mugs. I’ve collected about 20 mugs and would have loved to add even more from places I visit, but I don’t care for the new look at all.
    By the way…if you ever want to get rid of your Pike Place Market mug, I’d be happy take it off your hands. 😀 😀 😀
    I live here in the Seattle area and was never able to find one. =\

  10. Yes I agree! the “Been there” mugs are as tacky as their name and not nearly ass classy as the “You are Here” collection. I broke my Los Angeles mug and have not been able to find a new one. It is a fun hobby but can be daunting as well. I dream of having them displayed on shelves with an accompanying selfie from the place.
    It is fun to read your story, Thank you

Write A Comment