With so many new Frappuccinos and holiday cups being rolled out, it's almost hard to keep up with all of the different options at our favorite (mildly overpriced) coffee spot. Almost being the key word for a true addict. But between all of the unicorn whipped cream and limited edition drinks, have you ever noticed the variety of non-consumable Starbucks icons donned by your favorite baristas? Not everyone wears the famous plain green Starbucks apron. Some baristas wear a differently color, and they actually have more significance than it might appear at first glance.

Black Apron

As explained in a new blog post on the Starbucks website, most employees sport the signature green apron, but there are a variety of other colors with different meanings. The first one rolled out in the early 1990's and is a special black apron for Coffee Masters. These are the most common after green and are for baristas that are certified in “expert coffee knowledge.” Unfortunately, there is not a Coffee University we could be attending right now to become experts in coffee knowledge, just the Starbucks Coffee Master Program.

Purple Apron

These magenta-hued beauties are the advanced level of the black Coffee Master apron. Only 26 “barista champions” worldwide are given one every year to award all-around excellence in coffee-making. These Starbucks royalties are chosen at the annual EMEA Barista Championships, where more than 30 countries apply to compete.

Each contestant is scored based on how well they prepare classic drinks like lattes and americanos, the quality and creativity of their own original beverage, and how well they host a coffee tasting. Essentially, it’s like cupcake wars, but more caffeinated.

Pale Blue and Orange Aprons

These two colors are some of the more rare, but less symbolic apron varieties. The orange apron launched as a celebration of Koningsdag, or King’s Day, in the Netherlands, and the pale blue apron launched worldwide for Frappuccino Happy Hour. Not coincidentally, it is the exact color as part of the now infamous Unicorn Frap and can only be spotted between 3 pm and 6 pm.

Red Apron

In the midst of the ‘97 worldwide heartbreak of losing both Princess Diana and Biggie in one year, Starbucks provided a glimmer of happiness by rolling out two red aprons to each store to celebrate the very first year of a special red holiday cup. The small number of these aprons makes them rarer than the familiar holiday cups, although much less controversial.

Embroidered Aprons

If a rainbow of aprons doesn’t quite tickle your fancy for variety, there are also three other types of apron specializations. For military members, veterans, or spouses of military members, an American flag can be embroidered onto the front of a green apron. Although you should always treat your baristas the same way you would treat your grandma, with all the respect and gratitude, it especially applies here.

If you spot an embroidered mortar board—aka graduation cap— on the apron across the counter from you, that means that your barista has completed the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. The C.A.P. is a program where Starbucks will pay 42 percent of yearly college tuition for any part-time or full-time Starbucks employee attending Arizona State University. While not the most flexible of plans, not too shabby, Starbucks, not too shabby. 

For deaf baristas, the company will embroider the word “Starbucks” in sign language onto the front of a green apron. This apron, in particular, is part of Starbucks’ efforts to “embrace diversity.”

Despite all of the controversy and collective moaning about Starbucks’ neverending new items, one of the things it does best is keep us on our toes with a variety of options always at our fingertips (and lips). These multi-colored aprons are just another part of that Starbucks magic, so keep an eye out for that apron across the counter from you next time you wander in to get your caffeine fix. You never know what you could learn about the person behind it.