Category Archives: Coffee History

Caffeine Trivia – Starbucks History Part IV

Starbucks History Part Five: The era of growth

Starbucks coffee history was just was beginning to take shape. Starting from a base of 17 stores in 1987, the company expanded rapidly to other cities: Vancouver, Portland, and Chicago.

By 1991 Starbucks had also expanded into the mail-order catalog business and licensed airport stores and expanded further into the state of California.

In 1992 the company went public, and after the initial public offering, Starbucks continued to grow at a phenomenal pace that no one had ever seen in the coffee world before. By 1997 the number of Starbucks Coffee stores grew tenfold, with locations in the United States, Japan, and Singapore.

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Caffeine Trivia – Starbucks History Part IV

Starbucks history Part Four: Il Giornale and Starbucks go their separate ways

When Starbucks Coffee opened its sixth store in downtown Seattle, the coffee shop was a hit. It was an immediate success.

Schultz, however, branched out on his own and opened a coffee house named after Italy’s largest newspaper, The Daily, or Il Giornale. Two months later, the new store was serving more than 700 customers a day, and it was selling 300 percent more than the Starbucks locations.

Sell out: This is my company now.

In 1987 the owners of Starbucks Coffee Company decided to sell their coffee business, along with the name, to a group of local investors for $3.7 million. Schultz raised the money by convincing investors of his vision that they could open 125 outlets in the next five years. He also changed the Il Giornale bare-breasted mermaid logo into a more socially acceptable figure. The company name changed from Il Giornale to Starbucks, and finally he converted the six existing Starbucks roasting shops into elegant, comfortable coffee houses.   More tomorrow!

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Caffeine Trivia – Starbucks History Part III

Starbucks cups newStarbucks History Part Three: Slow down! We just sell beans.

However, Schultz’s idea did not go down well with Baldwin. Baldwin was not ready to get into the restaurant business nor to have anything distract him from his original plan of selling whole beans. But he did let Schultz test a small espresso bar in the corner of one of the stores.

Il Giornale and Starbucks go their separate ways

When Starbucks Coffee opened its sixth store in downtown Seattle, the coffee shop was a hit. It was an immediate success.

Schultz, however, branched out on his own and opened a coffee house named after Italy’s largest newspaper, The Daily, or Il Giornale. Two months later, the new store was serving more than 700 customers a day, and it was selling 300 percent more than the Starbucks locations.  More tomorrow!

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Caffeine Trivia – Starbucks History Part Two

Starbucks History Part Two: Howard Schultz

In 1982 Baldwin hired Schultz as the new head of marketing and shortly thereafter sent him to Milan to attend an international housewares show in Italy. When he arrived, Schultz found himself infatuated with the exciting coffee culture of Italy. Schultz went to Verona and had his first caffe latte. But he observed something more important than the coffee. The cafe patrons were chatting and otherwise enjoying themselves while sipping their coffees in the elegant surroundings. It was an “aha” moment as inspiration struck.

A great idea

Schultz describes that moment as an epiphany, “Why not create community gathering places like the great coffee house of Italy in the United States?” Could the Old World meet the New World? If it succeeded, it would be marketing genius.

By 1983 the marketing manager had a vision of recreating the magic and romance behind the Italian coffee bar and wanted to test out the concept of selling espresso by the cup.   More tomorrow!

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Caffeine Trivia – Starbucks History Part I


As most of you know, I love, love , love Starbucks.  And as one of the book titles so aptly says…It’s Not About Coffee…it’s about the experience.  I found some great pieces of Starbucks history – Here’s Part One:

Seattle, 1971

The history of Starbucks starts in Seattle in 1971. Three friends, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker, who all had a passion for fresh coffee, opened a small shop and began selling fresh-roasted, gourmet coffee beans and brewing and roasting accessories. The company did well, but things began to change in the 80s.

First, Zev Siegl sold out in 1980. Yet at that time, Starbucks was the largest roaster in Washington with six retail outlets. In 1981 a plastics salesman noticed the number of plastic drip-brewing thermoses that Starbucks was buying from Hammarplast, the manufacturer that he represented. Howard Schultz would become to Starbucks what Ray Kroc was to McDonald’s, a supporting salesman who saw a great product and a great opportunity.   More tomorrow!

Source: By George Garza

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Caffeine Trivia 12.31.14

Coffee comes to the New World:  In the mid-1600’s, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, a location later called New York by the British.  Though coffee houses rapidly began to appear, tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World until 1773 when the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George.  The revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference to coffee.


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Caffeine Trivia 12.30.14

A little more coffee history: The Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade.  By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

It’s popularity was perhaps due, in part, to the fact that Muslims, forbidden alcoholic drink by the Koran, found coffee’s energizing properties to be an acceptable substitute.

Coffee was not only drunk in homes but also in the many public coffee houses — called qahveh khaneh — which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity. Not only did they drink coffee and engage in conversation, but they also listened to music, watched performers, played chess and kept current on the news of the day.  In fact, they quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that the coffee houses were often referred to as “Schools of the Wise.”

With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the world, word of the ‘wine of Araby’ as the drink was often called, was beginning to spread far beyond Arabia. In an effort to maintain its complete monopoly in the early coffee trade, the Arabians continued to closely guard their coffee production.

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