These Are The Littlest-Known Facts About Starbucks

These Are The Littlest-Known Facts About Starbucks

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In countries all over the world, Starbucks provides people with some much-needed caffeine to start their day or keep themselves moving when they start to drag. The company has a long history of turning casual coffee drinkers into connoisseurs. Yet there are so many things most people don’t know about Starbucks. Starbucks was named for a character in Moby Dick. Its namesake comes from Starbuck, the second in command to Captain Ahab, of the Pequod, a boat being used for a whaling expedition. Before the chain was named Starbucks there was talk of calling it Pequod.

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In addition, the nautical theme of Moby Dick was used to create its logo. A Norse print featuring a mermaid with two tails was the inspiration for it. Though the mermaid is now covered up, the original logo showed her without a bra on.

Their Black Apron Was Equal to A Black Belt In Karate

Most Starbucks baristas wear a green apron while they work. But the best of the best used to be provided with a special black apron. In order to get one, they had to prove to the company that they are an expert in all things coffee.

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When a manager approved them for a black apron, they were required to know everything about coffee that there is to know. These baristas are the ones that are the most knowledgeable of anyone in a particular store. However, Starbucks locations in the U.S. no longer do this.

Celebrities Thought Up Some Of The Drinks

Starbucks doesn’t come up with all its drink ideas on its own. In fact, Kenny G is responsible for its frappuccinos. In the early days of the company, he was an investor. It was Kenny’s idea for the company to sell a sweet drink meant to remind people of a milkshake. After pitching the idea to the founder, it was implemented and is now one of the best-selling types of drinks.

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The company even hired a basketball player that graduated from Stanford University, named Peter Dukes. Starbucks asked him to develop a drink and the Pumpkin Spice Latte was born, though it was originally called a Fall Harvest Latte. Dukes came up with the original recipe for the drink and that recipe hasn’t changed since the drink was introduced in 2003.

By the end of 2015, more than 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes had been sold. This accounted for more than $80 million of revenue that year. As a result of the drink’s success, Dukes now has a place on the company’s mural, located close to the headquarters of Starbucks. Next to his mural is the rendering of an oversized pumpkin and a coffee cup holding the Pumpkin Spice Latte, with a halo above the surface of the cup.

Starbucks Married The Dating Scene 

Thanks to a partnership between Starbucks and Match.com, users of the dating site can set up a first date at Starbucks. The match.com feature is called “Meet At Starbucks.” In 2015, Starbucks held an event the day before Valentine’s Day for potential couples to meet up. It was billed the “World’s Biggest Starbucks Date,” with locations in many countries.

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This event was likely inspired by the fact that many Match.com users agreed a coffee date is the best way to meet face-to-face. The dating site’s feature allows users to email each other and locate the closest Starbucks. The “World’s Biggest Starbucks Date,” event included menu pairings of complimentary desserts and drinks.

The Barista Donated a Kidney

In Tacoma, Washington, a Starbucks barista served a regular customer named Annamarie for three years. The barista and customer often chatted about personal business and Annamarie shared that her kidney was failing.

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Upon having her blood tested and determining she was a match for the customer, the barista donated her kidney, saving the customer’s life. There are many similar stories of Starbucks employees donating organs to a customer in need.

Skier Friendly 

In a company first, Starbucks opened a location in California’s Squall Valley, specifically to serve those skiing in the mountains.

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Found at the Gold Coast Resort, it is the only Starbucks location to offer a ski-thru instead of a drive-thru. Skiers can order their drinks while on the Ariel lift for pickup when they reach the top of the mountain.

 A Magic Chalkboard

The Starbucks location in Downtown Disney features a magic chalkboard that is popular with customers. What would be a typical chalkboard in any other Starbucks is a touch screen that spans 70-inches.

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Customers can use their fingers to draw images on the screen. It also allows them to snap selfies and even see the Starbucks customers at the Disneyland location.

Different Countries Have Different Drinks

Countries that have Starbucks locations vary in the drinks they offer. There are many drinks that are not available in U.S. stores, but in other stores around the world. For example, customers in Peru can order a Lucuma Creme Frappuccino, named after a tropical fruit common in Peru. Customers in Japan could order a Sakura Blossom Creamy Latte during Cherry Blossom season.

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A regular drink on the menu in Asia is the Matcha Espresso Infusion Drink. They key ingredient in this drink is the matcha tea. Canadian customers can order a Blossoming Rose Tea Latte. They can choose to get it with matcha tea, with Rooibos and Black Tea being the other options. In South Korea customers can order an Avocado Yogurt Blend. It includes coconut milk and kale.

In Latin America customers often order the Churro Frappuccino. The drink features cinnamon, white mocha syrup and whipped cream. For those in Japan, a popular drink is the Chocolatey Banana Cocoa Frappuccino. The drink includes pieces of bananas roasted in sugar, as well as pieces of banana sponge cake.

Holiday Themed Drinks

Aside from these drinks, which are on the menu in the corresponding country all year long, many countries also have their own unique holiday-themed drinks. For example, in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, the Christmas Brulee Latte is served. It includes eggnog flavored milk, espresso, creme brulee sauce and special Christmas sprinkles also flavored like creme brulee.

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On the menu in China is the Christmas Dessert Latte. The inspiration for the drink was British Christmas Pudding. It includes caramel sauce as well as Christmas pudding flavored sauce, and is topped with sprinkles flavored like mixed fruits. On the menu in Japan is Christmas Strawberry Cake Milk.  Strawberry Cake is a Christmas staple in Japan, and inspired this drink. It can also be ordered as a Frappuccino.

Coffee Farm

In Costa Rica lies a coffee farm that Starbucks uses for research purposes. Starting in 2018, the farm was opened for public visitors. The company has owned the farm since 2013. It is used to help Starbucks develop new menu items.

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In an effort to give back to the community, Starbucks, gives free seeds to local farmers, even if they don’t do any business with the company. In addition to giving back to the community, Starbucks also offers tours of the coffee farm. Visitors get to see the coffee fields, a greenhouse, a wet mill and a drying patio. There is also an on-site coffee bar that serves coffee roasted on the farm.

Starbucks Secretly Served During The Sochi Olympics

Throughout the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, NBC employees in town to cover the event were given access to a secret Starbucks.

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The pop-up kiosk was open 24 hours. However, it only included select items from the full menu. Chai drinks and espressos were given for free to employees as well as athletes there to compete.

Starbucks Is Found In Some Banks

In places like Moscow and Amsterdam, select banks include a Starbucks store. The first Starbucks to open in a bank in Moscow began serving customers in 2015. Bank officials state that the reason they wanted a Starbucks on-site is to make coming to the bank more appealing.

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Customers could enjoy a drink while opening new accounts and filling out paperwork. In Amsterdam, Starbucks opened a cafe in the former vault of a local bank. The Starbucks cafe even has a mural that stretches from the ceiling to the floor. The mural is dedicated to Dutch coffee traders and the history behind them.

It’s On The Move In Switzerland

In 2013, select trains in Switzerland first included a fully loaded Starbucks. It is contained in a double decker car. The bottom level of the car serves as the cafe complete with stools and bars, while the upper level provides more comfortable seating.

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Passengers can purchase lattes and espressos, as well as select baked goods. The train can be found running on the local Geneva to St. Galen line. By the end of 2014 a second Starbucks train had been added in response to the popularity of the original.

Starbucks Evening Stores Sell Alcohol 

In certain locations throughout the United States, Starbucks Evenings mark an expansion of the coffee shops. These special stores offer a small-plate menu that also includes wine and beer. The Evening menu was first offered to customers in the store’s Seattle locations, beginning in 2010. The company’s sensory experts, led by its official sommelier chose the wines added to the menu. They sampled 500 wines and chose the top 10 to offer Starbucks Evening customers.

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Their efforts paid off with loyal Starbucks customers, as 70% of them drink wine. They also enjoy the craft beer that Starbucks Evenings offer. Local beers and wine are always on the menu, benefiting nearby breweries and wineries in return. The company took great care to match their small plates to the various beers and wines served. Some of the highlights of the small plates menu are mushroom flatbread and truffle mac & cheese, as well as chicken sausage.

Starbucks Tested A Beer Flavored Latte

Though it never made it to their menu nationwide, in 2014 the company tested the Dark Barrel Latte. The drink had no alcohol content in it but included chocolate stout flavored sauce, espresso and dark caramel.

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Despite the Dark Barrel Latte not catching on, it may have inspired the company to begin offering beer and wine to customers.

Some Locations Are Only Drive Thru

In an effort to become a more eco-friendly company, Starbucks has been opening drive thrus around the world, using shipping containers. While many in the U.S. are confined to a single container, in Taiwan one Starbucks is composed of 29 shipping containers joined together as one. This gives them over 3,000 square feet (2.79 a) of floor space and a two-story shop.

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Since 2011, Starbucks has been opening similar drive-thru locations throughout the US. The average shipping container used measures 1,000 square feet (0.93 a). Some of these are equipped with run off drains. This benefits the local environment because the company can provide rainwater to vegetation growing close by. As shipping container Starbucks locations can fit into incredibly small spaces, the company is using this initiative to open stores in even more locations where it was previously thought to be impossible.

Starbucks Has Preferred Templates

With locations all over the world and of various sizes, not every Starbucks store is arranged the same way. However, the company has three main templates that their stores are expected to follow. Starbucks prefers that each location is furnished to match the vibe of the neighborhood it is serving. The three preferred templates for stores are  Artisan, Regional Modern, and Heritage.

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The Artisan stores are the ones that feature woodwork routinely polished by hand, steel beams that are exposed to customers, casement glass and masonry walls. Regional modern stores are generally found in larger locations with the feel of a big city loft. The fabrics and furniture used in these stores is meant to reflect the local culture. Heritage stores  feature tile or stained concrete floors, metal stools, and worn looking wood that brings with it a rustic feel. However, the company does offer a fourth option called concept, which is only used in select locations. It is in innovative design based on coffee houses around the world.

Bigger Is Always Better

Starbucks is constantly outdoing itself in terms of the sizes of its stores. After opening the biggest Starbucks in the U.S. in Seattle, the company opened its world’s biggest in Shanghai. Unlike other Starbucks locations, this one features its own bakery and an augmented reality experience for customers. Using a mobile device, customers can view a tour presented in augmented reality that shows them all the steps for turning coffee beans into a cup of the steaming hot liquid. Customers can even unlock virtual badges that show they visited the Starbucks.

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At 30,000 square feet (ca. 28 a), the U.S.’s biggest Starbucks is half the size of the Shanghai location. The extra floor space allows Starbucks to let customers get a glimpse of the coffee brewing process as it takes place. The coffee beans used in this particular location are grown in the Yunnan Province of China.

China Requires Tea

However, customers in China require tea to be available to them. The Shanghai location provides what the company refers to as tea curators. Customers are served at the Teavana Bar, as Starbucks owns that brand name as well. The bar was constructed using recycled materials created with the use of a 3D printer.

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Due to its size, the Shanghai Starbucks looks different from its other stores. The tea bar is just one of the main differences in the decor. The store also boasts a copper cask that weighs 42 tons and is the height of two stories. The piping from the cask is what the store uses to keep its coffee silos full. In addition, the 88-foot coffee bar is longer than those in any other Starbucks location. Last but not least, the ceiling of the shop includes 10,000 woden tiles, created by hand and designed with the style of an espresso machine in mind.

Starbucks Didn’t Open In Italy Until 2018

There is a reason why Starbucks didn’t have any locations in Italy until 2018. Company leader Howard Schulz had traveled to Italy and fell in love with its coffee shops. When he returned to the United States, he transformed Starbucks into what it is today. The coffee shops of Italy had inspired him to create shops where people were encouraged to linger and relax over a cup of coffee.

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It was believed that Starbucks stores didn’t belong in Italy because they would provide unwanted competition to the country’s own coffee shops. However, in a changing world where younger Italians are curious about Starbucks and U.S. tourists don’t want to be deprived of it, the chain is starting to open locations there. They started with three Starbucks in Milan, and are now branching out into other cities.

Starbucks Helps Communities 

As part of its ongoing commitment to job growth and community outreach, Starbucks has opened many community stores in the U.S. and beyond.  Since 2015, Starbucks has opened more than a dozen community stores in various U.S. cities. One of them was in Jonesboro, GA. The opening of the store created 28 jobs for locals who may not have been able to find one otherwise. Whether those jobs were full time or part-time employees were able to obtain health benefits and stock options.

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Jonesboro is a diverse town, but one that is underserved. By opening a community store in the town, Starbucks was able to connect with locals and boost the economy at the same time. The store was built with the help of a local contractor and the inside is decorated with works done by local artists.

Fight Club Features Starbucks Coffee Cups

David Fincher, the director of Fight Club, made it a point to include a Starbucks coffee cup in every one of the movie’s scenes. The presence of the cups isn’t always obvious at first glance, and that was Fincher’s intention when making the movie.

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He did this in order to put the focus on its theme, which is that society influences consumers to purchase a particular item without most of them even realizing they have been influenced.

Starbucks Trademarked Their Frappuccinos

Frappuccinos actually predate the Starbucks consumers know today. It was thought up by The Coffee Connection, a chain of shops in Massachusetts that Starbucks bought in 1994.

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The next year they unveiled Frappuccinos in their stores and the rest is history. Starbucks has now sold billions of dollars worth of frappuccinos.

They Stepped Up Their Lunch Game

In 2016, Starbucks unveiled its new lunch menu called Mercato, in response to customers requesting that filling, healthy lunches be added to stores. The new lunch program was first implemented in over 200 Starbucks in and around Seattle. Mercato is an Italian word that translates to Marketplace In English. This was the inspiration for the lunch program. Every dish on the Mercato menu is made following a recipe that Starbucks created. Its chefs only use natural ingredients that are hand-picked locally. They create the dishes in the company’s exclusive kitchen and every day, surrounding stores receive those dishes.

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By 2018, the Mercato menu was soaring in popularity. Starbucks began to offer it in its stores in certain parts of New York City as well. They were the first stores on the East Coast to start serving this menu. Like the Seattle stores, the New York stores that offer the lunch menu donate any of the unused food to local food banks at the end of the day.

Since then, the menu has been expanded to stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco, with over 1,000 stores now offering it to customers.

Starbucks Runs A Food-Share Program 

Starbucks formed a partnership with Feeding America, to launch a food share program. This is the reason that the leftover food from each day’s business, gets donated to local food banks. The company is making every effort to ensure that every one of their stores commits to donating food. To date, five million meals have been donated to those in need. They have predicted that by the end of 2020 they will have donated over 50 million meals.

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In 2018 the foodshare program transformed the lives of hungry veterans. Those living in the Las Vegas Veterans Village could not only take food from the village pantry when they need it, but could count on the daily delivery from the food share program.

Japanese Starbucks Stores Are Unique 

Starbucks stores in Japan look vastly different from anywhere else. One store in Kyoto is located in a wooden townhouse built 100 years ago. There are three rooms in the store, with one of them featuring cushions and tatami mats for customers to sit on. The fabric covering the cushions is exclusively made in Kyoto. Another floor features a trio of Japanese gardens. They all have stone wash bins referred to in Japan as Tsukuba.

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This particular Starbucks store is located close to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, within a historic neighborhood. Due to citywide restrictions, customers are not allowed to wait outside the store when there is a line to get in.

International Stores Offer Different Foods

Stores in countries outside the U.S. serve some dishes that the American stores don’t, some of which are more unique than others. For example, in the U.K. customers can order pancakes, lightly toasted. They can top the pancakes with maple honey or berry compost sauce. Meanwhile, in Australia, customers can order Aussie beef Pie. It includes minced beef and tomato sauce to dip pieces of the pie in. Other unique menu items include Yo-Yo Biscuits, which are actually shortbread cookies covered in powdered sugar and stuffed with filling that tastes like butter vanilla cream.

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In Hong Kong, customers can order grilled pineapple and chicken breast on Turkish bread. It also comes with caramelized onions, Teriyaki sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Stores in the Philippines sell a breakfast sandwich with shiitake and Portobello mushrooms. It also has Emmental cheese and comes on a multi-grain roll. On a bagel or a rye roll customers can also order a breakfast sandwich with cheddar, jalapenos, Spam and eggs. For dessert, they can order purple Yam cheesecake. In addition to the purple Yam, it includes macapuno coconut, and red mung bean.

Some Places Took Awhile To Get A Starbucks

Despite the number of coffee drinkers in places such as Norway and Finland, it took years for Starbucks to open stores there. They finally started by opening shops in the Oslo and Helsinki airports in 2011.

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Seven years later they opened stores in other cities such as Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim. This may have been due to the fact that by 2017, almost 70% of people who responded to a survey taken throughout Norway, reported that they were daily coffee drinkers.

All Of This Said…

It’s safe to say that Starbucks has changed how people enjoy their coffee. The company made coffee drinking a status symbol while simultaneously bringing people together. With Starbucks locations all over the world, this universal brand has made a significant impact on when, where and why people drink it.

Efforts to connect with employees of the company as well as the customers they serve has positioned Starbucks as a trendsetter for other coffee shops throughout the world.