Coffee is the lifeblood of many Americans. In fact, about 83 percent of adult Americans drink coffee each day. The U.S. is the biggest consumer of coffee in the world. The National Coffee Association’s online survey revealed that consumption is rising to an average of three cups per day, per person, or 587 million cups. That’s a lot of java.
Bob Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, who once taught a course on Starbucks and the coffee phenomenon quipped, “You could say the nation runs on two dark liquids— petroleum and coffee.”
Like petroleum, coffee is big business. It is a $30 billion-a-year national industry, and one of the giants is Starbucks.
Starbucks as we know it didn’t start out that way. They didn’t sell brewed coffee and espresso, just coffee beans. English teacher, Jerry Baldwin, history teacher, Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bawker were inspired by Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Berkely, CA. They wanted to start a similar business. With Alfred Peet’s blessing, the three men pooled together $8000 of their own money plus some loans to start up their very own coffee bean venture in 1971. In a little over nine years, Starbucks was the largest coffee roaster in Washington State.
If you are a reader of the classics, “Starbucks” may sound familiar. The company got it’s name after a shipmate in Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick. Although they had toyed with the possibility of naming it “Pequod” after the same shipmate’s best friend. Try to imagine saying, “I could really go for some Pequod right about now. “
Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
In continuation of their nautical theme, they designed a logo with a siren. It seemed to fit well with their Seattle location in Pike’s Place Market and their seaworthy name.
The current CEO of Starbucks, Howard Shultz, joined the team in 1982 as the head of marketing. His assignment was to evangelize the wonders of Starbucks and search for new tastes, campaign ideas, and anything else that would boost sales and grow the company. Shultz suggested the company start serving espresso, but Baldwin wasn’t interested, so Shultz left in 1985 to pursue his own coffee business. One where he served espresso. It was a success.
Eventually, everything came full circle and Shultz returned and purchased Starbucks. His vision was to expand the company throughout Seattle. The idea of selling brewed coffee and tea by the cup was innovative and people came in droves. The company experienced colossal growth which continued to climb exponentially. Today, Starbucks is at home in over 40 countries and has more than 15, 000 stores worldwide.
Try It: Starbucks Poetry
Does the smell of freshly roasted beans entice you? There’s nothing like waking up and taking that first sip of coffee. For some, it’s the only way to start the day. Are you one of the many fans who consider Starbucks a necessary part of life? If so, let your imagination wander into a coffee-induced fantasy. Then write a poem, maybe even a love poem to coffee or the coffee shop everyone knows, Starbucks.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem from Andrew we enjoyed: