Forum Posts

Green Apron Alliance
Apr 05, 2021
In Adventures
Submitted by Kathie Lindemann Starbucks first entered the Middle East with the opening of Kuwait and Lebanon in 1999, in partnership with the MH Alshaya group from Kuwait. Together, we opened Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in early 2000. The Alshaya teams were amazing partners and very passionate about the brand and executing The Starbucks Experience in every country we entered. They went so far as to start every shift, in every store, with a team coffee tasting! The next Middle East market on the docket was Saudi Arabia. We knew the market would pose some unique challenges for us, due to cultural differences and strict religious laws, but we were committed to striking a balance between protecting the Starbucks brand and respecting the local culture. For example, our store designs needed to accommodate separate seating areas for families and other special service requirements, which the team did a great job of addressing. The greatest challenge we faced was with our logo, due to the human form of the mermaid, which we were told would never be acceptable in Saudi culture. The request was made to adapt our logo for the Saudi Arabia market only, which was not well received. The decision went to the top and we got HS’s blessing to proceed. Members of the Alshaya and Starbucks marketing teams worked together to design an adapted logo, with looked like the crown of the mermaid rising over the waves. The team believed the “new” logo was still clearly identifiable as Starbucks, while also being culturally acceptable in Saudi Arabia and the legal team on both sides of the partnership approved the new logo. Given the long lead time for production and shipping we went to press with the new logo - producing ceramic mugs, paper and plastic cups for to-go orders, bags, etc. - well in advance of our market entry. As we neared the selection of the first site, Moje Akhbari (Market Development Consultant) and I (International Operations) visited Riyadh. I was the first Starbucks Executive to visit the market – and I was a woman! As a woman, I was required to wear all black, floor length skirts, with long sleeves and a black “hijab” to cover my hair, neck and chest. (As a western woman, I was not expected to cover my face completely.) We were invited to the offices of the local market partner to start our site tour, but there was concern about my being seen in the office by two elderly, traditional men who worked there. I offered to wait in the car, while Moje and the others went into the office to gather the participants for our tour. A few minutes later, Moje came to the car and told me that Muhammad, the market leader, wanted me to come in. The two elderly gentlemen happened to be out of the office that day and he wanted to spend some time getting to know each other before we set out on our tour. I was very nervous, to say the least, and kept telling myself “keep your eyes to yourself and don’t speak unless spoken to”. Muhammad was incredibly friendly and gracious and made me feel comfortable in minutes. He went on to tell me about his time as a student at Central Washington University and how much he loved the Northwest – and Starbucks! The world felt much smaller in that moment. When it came time to go on the site tour, I was not able to ride in the car with Muhammad due to cultural rules, but he pointed his car out to us in the parking garage as we walked by. He specifically wanted us to see the Starbucks logo on the bumper of his car. Not the new logo we had created for the Saudi Arabia market entry, but the mermaid logo we used in every other market! He said he didn’t care what people thought. He loved the logo and was proud to display it. And so the saga began….. Orders had been placed for all products for the Saudi Arabia market to bear the new logo and yet the market leader wanted to be bold and try to enter with our standard logo. The debate was opened up again. At the end of the day, the decision was made to open the Saudi Arabia market with the new logo and to gradually transition to the standard logo. Unfortunately, little evidence remains of the logo created for the Saudi Arabia market, which is why I hang on to the white tumbler I have that bears the crown of the mermaid rising over the waves and remember fondly my unique experience in Riyadh. Kathie with Muhammad and other members of the Alshaya team, standing by the SBUX logo on his bumper. Unfortunately, it was taken in a parking garage so it is quite dark. :(
Starbucks in Saudi Arabia content media
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Green Apron Alliance
Apr 05, 2021
In Adventures
Submitted by Kathie Lindemann Back in 1998, the site for the first Starbucks store in Beijing, China had been selected. Robert Wu (Market Development Consultant), King Choi (Store Designer), Jane Melvin (International Marketing) and I (International Operations) were sent to Beijing to review the final site plans and store design with our market partner and to begin conversations about the market launch. Given that there was no Starbucks Coffee in China yet, we carried our own coffee, French Press and Starbucks logo paper cups with us on the journey. We ended up with one free day to be tourists and we all quickly agreed to visit the Great Wall. We took our coffee, French Press and cups with us, along with a thermos of hot water. Who could pass up the opportunity to have a fresh cup of Starbucks Coffee on the Great Wall - and do a little grass roots marketing at the same time? The Great Wall was even more magnificent than I had imagined, stretching as far as the eye could see in both directions, snaking over the mountains like a great stone serpent. It was a sunny day and the Wall was teaming with tourists and locals. After climbing for an hour or so, we stopped to take out our “tools of the trade” and make a French Press of Starbucks Coffee to enjoy together. We made sure the logo on our cups was always facing outward, to complement the logo on Robert’s shirt and Jane’s hat. Many people looked at us as though we were crazy, but we didn’t care. We were so proud and excited to be there and to know that we would be bringing Starbucks Coffee to China very soon. As we packed up our wares, Robert noticed a local man taking a picture of his elderly mother standing on the Wall. Robert asked the gentleman, in Chinese, if he would like a picture taken of him with his mother. He enthusiastically accepted. As the two of them stood together, having their picture taken on the Great Wall, the elderly woman started to cry. Robert asked if everything was OK. The man told him that his mother had grown up in China but had never been to the Great Wall. It was her dream to see it with her son. To have her picture taken there, with him, was a very special experience for her. It made the day even more special for us as well. After returning to the hotel, I called my husband to tell him about our day. He mentioned that he spoke to his brother earlier that day and told him where I was. My sister-in-law, a schoolteacher in Kansas, happened to be covering China with her 6th grade class that week. King was transmitting photos of the site to the design team back in Seattle that night, so I asked if he could send a photo of us on the Great Wall to my sister-in-law as well, which he did. Within hours of standing on the Great Wall of China, our picture was being shared with a classroom full of 6th graders in Kansas. This was in 1998!! That was pretty high-tech for the day. I have many fond memories of my visits to China, but that was top of my list.
Starbucks on the Great Wall of China content media
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Green Apron Alliance
Mar 17, 2021
In Coffee & Tea Memories
On behalf of Jessica Gleeson: For the past 20 years, my official kick-off to Christmas is meeting my friend Roger at Starbucks Pike Place Market early in the morning on Christmas Eve. Often, I am fresh off a plane from China with a strong side of jet lag. The sounds of Pike Place Market waking up and the warm glow of Starbucks let me know I am officially home for the holidays. Like most great traditions, ours has a familiar cadence. We meet at the store. Order our holiday beverages. Take a selfie at the hand-off counter and a picture of our drinks with the framed original logo coffee bag. Then, with drinks in hand, we head over to Lowell’s to enjoy the sunrise and exchange gifts. Why an annual picture with a coffee bag? The origin story of the framed original logo coffee bag is that it was saved from going into a dumpster circa 1990. I was a part-time barista on the “Ave”, store #305. We had been tasked, likely by Erika Brooks, to do a DEEP clean of the large back room. Our Christmas Eve morning tradition and the annual touchpoint of visiting the old coffee bag always reminds me of the best that Starbucks aspires to be and challenges me to take the best of my Starbucks experiences into the new year. On the way out the door, I look at the coffee counter and think of all the stories of Howard visiting the store in the middle of the night, then raise a virtual toast of appreciation to him. This year, with travel restrictions in place, it was not practical to fly from Shanghai to Seattle. The challenge was to figure out how to keep the tradition alive in a pandemic. Pulling out my favorite Star Skill, ask for help, I reached out to Chad Moore. He and the fabulous team at Pike Place helped inspire and nurture the human spirit with a little holiday magic. When Roger walked in at around 7 AM on Christmas Eve morning, he was greeted by name, then handed two drinks with our names on them, the partner working the bar took a selfie with Roger and delivered the gift I had sent him from the Shanghai Roastery. Definitely the highlight of my COVID Christmas. The siren showed that even a pandemic is no obstacle for a treasured coffee tradition. Top row: Christmas Eve Morning at Pike Place Market Starbucks with Roger. Middle row: Annual picture of our beverages and the bag. Bottom row: The tradition continued in COVID with some help from Chad Moore and the fabulous Pike Place Market Team.
Coffee Traditions Holiday Drinks at Pike Place with Roger content media
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Green Apron Alliance
Mar 16, 2021
In Coffee & Tea Memories
In 1975 Starbuck's first restaurant coffee was named Jake’s Blend, then 80/20 Blend, and finally 2001 Verona. This is a coffee of one true love and three names. Seattle entrepreneur Mick McHugh (and a business partner) decided to open up a restaurant in the lower-Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle called “Jake O’Shaughnessy’s.” Mick knew he wanted an excellent local coffee so he went to the original founders of Starbucks, Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker to had to persuade them to do a custom blend for his new restaurant which became the main ingredient for Jake’s Irish Coffee. Soon customers started asking for the unique coffee in Starbucks stores. It was a blend of 80% Yukon Blend and 20% Italian Roast. Starbucks sold enough of the coffee that they began pre-blending and labeling the coffee, calling it 80/20 Blend. Starbucks added it to the whole bean menu board as “80/20” Blend. If a customer asked for Jake’s Blend, they got 80/20 Blend but labeled as Jake’s, otherwise, they got a bag stamped 80/20 Blend! “Classic Irish Coffee. Jake’s starts with 86 [proof] Irish Whiskey from the Republic of Ireland. This is blended with Jake’s deep roasted coffee, from the Starbucks Coffee Company, pure cane sugar, and topped with a thin head of whipped heavy cream. Jake O’Shaughnessy’s sells more of its brand of Irish Whiskey than any other drinking establishment in America. $1.00.”
Jake's Blend content media
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Green Apron Alliance
Feb 17, 2021
In Community
On behalf of Dawn Pinaud who started @ Starbucks in 1983 and left the company in 1992 I submit her story. "After a very long two years opening Seattle Coffee Co Ltd from 5 to 89 stores it was truly a milestone to be part of building the Seattle UK, SE Asia, South Africa, and Kuwait on a shoestring budget. It was so weird to be standing with Howard and Howard at a celebration party for the 1st Starbucks store in London after the purchase of Seattle Coffee Co. What a journey it was!" (See the following attachments that tell a story about the merger party, the introduction of Starbucks Mission & Mission Review, and Dawn's departure message to her team.)
London 1998 - 1st Starbucks Store & Purchase of Seattle Coffee Company  content media
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Green Apron Alliance
Feb 17, 2021
In Cherished Memories
Meet Charlie as Mercury Man at the Chicago market opening on Jackson Street in 1987. Mercury Man was one of the original inventions from Il Giornale Coffee Company that lived on at Starbucks! A self- operated fun sampling contraption with a "beer tap" and coffee thermos backpack used to engage potential customers on the streets and at events! What a fun way to taste coffee and connect with customers!! Thanks to Dawn Pinaud for these photos!
1987- Meet Mercury Man content media
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Green Apron Alliance
Feb 08, 2021
In Cherished Memories
The reason Starbucks attracted the people it did - and certainly the reason it had the reputation it did - was because its pursuit of quality and excellence without compromise awakened the native human drive to be one's best among those who worked there. Attached are some photos of Gordon's fantastic full page ads for Arabian Mocha and Java, along with a selection of the consumer brochures (Kevin Knox) wrote and the long-defunct newsletters some of you will remember from way back when.
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Green Apron Alliance
Feb 08, 2021
In Cherished Memories
I had to start as a coffee packager - entry level position - even though I had already done a lot of roasting and had extensive cupping and buying experience - back in '84 and it was worth it to me for the opportunity. But Jerry had heard a bit about me and came up to me on one of my first days and said "look you're new so you have fresh eyes. We really do want to have the best coffee in the world and you can help be part of that by letting me know about anything we can be doing better, and also, especially, if there's any area you learn of where we aren't walking our talk when it comes to quality." That was a pretty unforgettable way to start out.  And then his other mantra: "is it as good as the coffee?" From the mugs we sold, to the marketing materials, to the way we treated each other, to the store environment and customer service that was to be the yardstick. I mean the employment application for the retail stores included having to describe the best meal you ever ate and the best coffee you ever drank!
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Green Apron Alliance
Feb 08, 2021
In Cherished Memories
I have an especially lovely memory of a customer at Pine Street who said "one of the things I love about shopping here is knowing I am in such good hands because these people are just fanatical about coffee. I sometimes ask myself on the way in the door if I've got a good enough palate to even be shopping here." Of course nowadays it's hard to envision those product-driven times, but as you know the passion lives on, especially in the Reserve roastery line.
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Green Apron Alliance
Feb 08, 2021
In Coffee & Tea Memories
It's especially funny for me to be asked to contribute to the Caffe Verona stories because I know that story in intimate detail. Caravali as a brand was just being fully launched when I roasted coffee at the old Airport Way plant and that's when I got to know Jim, Jerry and Gordon and also hang out with Tim McCormack. Ironically given what product purists they all were the main reason I got to spend time in the cupping room with them is that Caravali was developing a line of flavored coffees and they knew I had lots of experience with those awful products at the roaster I worked for in Boulder! And it was during that time that Gordon renamed 80/20 Blend as Caffe Verona for the Caravali line.  But the funny part of the story is how 80/20 itself was created. Yukon Blend (centrals with some Sumatra), along with House Blend, was the staple restaurant program coffee back in those days, but despite our sales reps being vigilant about making sure accounts used a full 4 oz. of coffee per half-gallon pot there were some high-volume restaurants that were constantly backing off on the dose in order to save money. Jerry Baldwin's response to those shenanigans was to order the restaurant account reps to close those accounts but at a certain point the volume they provided was too important to turn down so Jerry was asked for an alternative blend that would still have some "oomph" at the cheapskate 3-3.5 oz. dose. His response? " (*Expletive) throw 20% Italian Roast in it [Yukon]" - and thus was 80/20 born! OK well at least you know now the true story of Caffe Verona. 😂
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Green Apron Alliance

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