Let’s go get coffee when we finish Moby-Dick!

02 Apr

When I first “met” the first mate on The Pequod, I wondered if a certain chain of coffee shops may have borrowed his name to christen their stores.  Before diving into Moby-Dick the only three names I could have given you in reference to the book where Ahab, Ishmael, and Moby-Dick.  Today I went to the company website and found my answer:

The name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders.

Starbucks got its name from Starbuck!  I have Moby-Dick to thank for this piece of trivia.

So I can look forward to a reward of a Java Chip Frappuccino when I finish The Whale.

PS.  Readers, next time you are at Starbucks ask another patron if they know where the store got its name.  Please tell me I’m not the only person who didn’t know this.

PPS. Jeannette, you can stop looking for chowder recipes.


Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Moby-Dick


Tags: , , , ,

21 responses to “Let’s go get coffee when we finish Moby-Dick!

  1. Christina Joy

    April 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Maybe if I imbibed more Starbucks I could stay up later to read more about Starbuck.

    They’re definitely on to something there.

    • Christine

      April 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

      I have 2 gift cards to the chain that have been in my purse for over a year. Not knowing the coffee-shop-lingo, I’ve been afraid to step up to the counter. I quake like Dough-boy.

  2. Christina Joy

    April 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Oh, and I LOVE the PPS.

    • Christine

      April 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Thought you might. 😉

  3. Christina Joy

    April 2, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Also, I had no idea.

  4. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Christine, not to make you feel bad, but I did know this. Before reading MD, I knew three things:

    1. It was narrated by a guy who wanted to be called “Ishmael”.
    2. It has a white whale in it.
    3. It has a character named “Starbuck”, for which the famous chain was named.

    Here lies my naivete: The whole time I’ve been reading this book, I’ve been waiting for a scene which includes both Starbuck and coffee. Maybe Starbuck would say something like:

    “Avast! Cook — brew me some of that sumptuous coffee Aunt Charity packed for us!”

    But so far nothing has shown up except some sort of disgusting ginger concoction.
    Most people read this book in anticipation of encountering the white whale, but I’ve been biting my nails waiting for some rich dark coffee beans to be withdrawn from the ship’s hold.

    That being said, I agree with you about treating ourselves to Starbuck’s after finishing MD. I’m always looking for an excuse to have a Mocha Latte.

    • Christine

      April 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

      I’m impressed with your Starbuck/s knowledge. I’m at chpt 106 and still no whale or coffee. When I finish I will need a baked treat in addition to some fancy drink with whipped cream on top. Does Starbucks make whale-shaped cookies? I’d settle for one shaped like a boat.

      • Adriana @ Classical Quest

        April 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

        If they don’t make a whale shaped cookie, they should!

      • Christina Joy

        April 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        Wait a minute. Chapter 106 and there’s still no whale?!?!?! Are you kidding me?!?!? This book was woefully misnamed.

        And no coffee??!! I don’t think Starbucks was very clever in their naming. For goodness sake, Bach wrote and entire Cantata about coffee. They couldn’t call themselves Sebastian or something like that? *sigh*

        I should probably work more. Or take in less caffeine.

  5. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Which cantata did Bach write about coffee?

  6. Jeannette

    April 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I might be willing to stop looking for chowder recipes if you two treat me to a Caramel Macchiato (sp?) or a Mocha Late at whatever far distant point we finally finish this novel.

    One might be able to float a scone, and they do make yummy ones.

    Yes, Christina, what Cantata was about coffee?

    • Christine

      April 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      The gift cards will be waiting.

  7. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for the video and link to the lyrics and translation, Christina.

  8. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    April 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    During my second read (skim through) of MD I found this:

    “I thought that here was the very spot for cheap lodgings, and the best of pea coffee.”
    Chapter 2, “The Carpet-Bag”

    “Peaberry beans are widely reputed to roast better than flat berries, being said to roast more evenly, because their rounder shape minimizes sharp edges and allows the berries to roll about the roasting chamber more easily as well as because the alleged higher bean density may improve heat transfer in the roasting process.” — Wikipedia

    Melville did not give us a scene in which Starbuck is drinking the delicious pea coffee though.

    Oh well.

    • Christine

      April 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      I did ask the barista at Starbucks if he knew where the coffee shop got its name. “Yeah… it’s from that book…” He did come up with the correct title eventually, and then he shared that it was included in a paragraph in the employee training manual. His knowledge of the name made up for the lack of boat and whale-shaped cookies.

  9. Christina Joy

    April 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I just got excited at the beginning of Chapter 81 The Pequod meets the Virgin, where Starbuck and coffee were mentioned in the same sentence:

    “Not that,” said Stubb, “no, no, it’s a coffee-pot, Mr. Starbuck; he’s coming off to make us our coffee, is the Yarman; . . .”

    Turns out is was just a can to borrow some oil. Lame.

    • Adriana @ Classical Quest

      April 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      No way. How did I miss that?
      I’m going back to look it up now.

      • Christina Joy

        April 25, 2012 at 11:18 am

        When I first read it I got so excited I started yelling at Jerry, “Here it is!! Here it is!! They said it wasn’t here, but it is!! Starbuck!!! Coffee!!!” and then he was all, “yeah, you might want to read on, honey.”

  10. dana

    October 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I don’t drink coffee, but I so wished we had a Starbucks near us when we finished up the selections of Moby Dick for our American Literature class. I only have 12 students, and I really would have loved to have treated them to little bitty Starbucks coffees. Even though we only read 3 chapters, I think they enjoyed it enough so that when/if they encounter the book again, they’ll be not-so-scared-as-most to tackle it.

    I found an online project where one chapter a day was released in audio form, a different reader each day. Not all the readers were great, but some were, and I think even I could tackle the book one little chapter a day :-). With that resource, though, I found myself clicking back and forth between chapters that sounded interesting or or seemed to connect to one of the chapters I’d read. It seems like it is a book that works well reading it in little bits and pieces. My favorite “extra” chapters outside the ones we did in class were “The Symphony” and “The Rachel”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: