Seattle, WA – September 29, 2023
Starbucks Coffee Company's journey began in 1971, with a humble storefront in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Originally a seller of coffee beans and spices, the company underwent a transformative evolution thanks to Howard Schultz's arrival in 1982, when Starbucks ventured into beverages.
Starbucks historian Heidi Peiper fondly reminisces about the shift in the cafe culture, where customers and baristas (called partners) connected on a deeper level: "[P]eople could sit and stay, they could listen to music. It became a third place. That experience was really what the world was looking for, and it started to grow in a way I don't think anybody could have imagined."
Starbucks' success wasn't solely about coffee or the customer experience; it also hinged on its relationship with coffee farmers. Starbucks co-created the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, emphasizing economic transparency, social responsibility, environmental leadership, and coffee quality for all arabica bean suppliers.
In 2013, Starbucks acquired Hacienda Alsacia in Costa Rica, an innovation hub and coffee farm committed to sustainability. Agronomists and farmers there freely share knowledge on sustainable practices.
Michelle Burns, Starbucks' EVP of Global Coffee, Social Impact & Sustainability, says those monumental moves demonstrate the company’s commitment to collaborative problem-solving, not just for coffee but also for communities and the environment.
Starbucks innovates continuously in other key ways, with engineers and designers led by Natarajan "Venkat" Venkatakrishnan. The Tryer Center, located in Seattle, collaborates with retail partners to identify and solve store problems, resulting in technology like the Clover Vertica coffee maker and the portable cold foam blender now in stores.
With 36,000 stores globally, Starbucks remains relevant in the digital age. However, the concept of the third place has evolved. It's no longer limited to physical spaces; it's a feeling—an experience.
To adapt to changing times, Starbucks has reinvented itself, adopting a new mission: With every cup, with every conversation, with every community – we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection.
“At Starbucks, we see an increasing premium on genuine human connection,” says Starbucks Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer. “Even if it's one cup at a time or one conversation at a time, we want to bring human connection into the world – at scale.”
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 36,000 stores worldwide, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at https://stories.starbucks.com or www.starbucks.com.
To find out more and watch the documentary:
Starbucks: Brewing Innovation, Nurturing Human Connection
TBD Media Group
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