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It's Official: Starbucks' Beloved Red Cups Come Back Tomorrow—and They're Totally Free

Bonus: Get one, and you'll earn discounts all season long on your favorite holiday drinks.

Are you red-y for this? Tomorrow, November 7th, every Starbucks location in the nation is giving out reusable red cups…for free!

Year after year, Starbucks' limited-edition red cups whip up widespread fervor. Since they were first released in 1997, rumors annually abound on when they'll come out. Social media lights up like a Christmas Tree. There's even an unofficial fansite, Countdown to #Redcups, that literally just counts down to when red cups launch in various regions around the globe. (For what it's worth, plenty of countries—including Australia, Ireland, and the Philippines—beat us to the punch.)

But last year, the coffee company put a twist on things: As part of a company-wide push for sustainability, 2018's red cups were reusable—and, for one day, totally free.

This year, there's another twist: The venerable red cup is getting a makeover. Rather than a plain, single-toned red, each cup has "Merry Coffee" superimposed in a psychedelic, pop-art-lite typeface. (In recent years, the Starbucks red cups have repeatedly come under fire for, among other things, focusing only on Christmas at the expense of other holidays. The "Merry Coffee" slogan seems a safe enough way to sidestep any potential controversy.)

To get one for yourself (yes, still for free!), you just have to do one thing: Order a "handcrafted" holiday beverage. Any size will do the trick, and, for those who don't like hot beverages, iced and blended—that's corporate-speak for "Frappuccino"—versions count, too.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

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So, no, a standard almond milk latte won't score you a free cup. But anything else from the holiday menu will.

Past holiday favorites are back and include the:

  • Caramel Brulée Latte
  • Chestnut Praline Latte
  • Eggnog Latte
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Peppermint Mocha
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Mocha
  • Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

Your local Starbucks store will have the full menu, but a good rule of thumb is this: If it can rightly be deemed "holiday dessert in a glass," it'll probably get you a free red cup. (Sadly, the widely beloved Gingerbread Latte isn't available in the United States this year. You'll have to trek to Canada if you want that particular flavor of sugary goodness.)

Best of all, the reusable red cup is an investment that pays massive dividends for you and your wallet. For the remainder of the Starbucks holiday season—which, according to the company's official press release, wraps on January 7th—bring yours in, and you'll score a 50-cent discount on any Grande (or Venti!) holiday beverage.

Now, it must be noted that you can only get yours "while supplies last"—and they're sure to fly off shelves faster than you can say "I wish the Gingerbread Latte was available this year." As Eater reported in 2018, some locations ran out of the cups in minutes flat, so you might want to head to your local Starbucks early tomorrow to make sure you get one.

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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