The Man Behind Starbucks Reveals How He Changed the World

the incomparable goodness of coffee has

now been captured in a cup before

Starbucks I think in the mid-70s people

were drinking really bad coffee they

were drinking instant coffee Maxwell

House you ban and perking it at home and

it wasn't very good your first cup of

Starbucks coffee was in the pipe Play

Store in 1979 1980 was a French press of

Sumatra I think about four to five cups

of coffee a day what you see the doctors

to me it's they don't say that that's it

we just came for the baby thank you for

your comment hiya welcome thank you when

I came here for the first time had never

been in a Starbucks store walked into

this very store by the way we have

changed nothing through the year this is

the original store as is and they handed

me a cup of coffee made this way now

this is a cup of Sumatra which is

Indonesian coffee this is how I tasted

my first cup of coffee and I just knew

from that moment on that I was home that

I ever imagined that we would one day

have stores in 65 countries serving

almost 80 million customers a week No

growing up in Brooklyn in the projects

in the early 60s what I would loosely

describe is the other side of the tracks

provides a deep sense of understanding

that there's a world out there that's

very very different than the world that

is inside where we where we grew up

and I wanted to be part of that world

when I finished school I got hired by a

great company and that was your ox and I

worked there for a number of years but I

just didn't feel I belonged in a very

structured environment so I left Xerox

and I went to work for a large Swedish

company that was starting a US consumer

division in a very roundabout way they

had a customer in Seattle Washington

called Starbucks their aspiration at the

time was to expand to Portland Oregon I

somewhat persuaded them that perhaps

Starbucks opportunity was bigger and

they need to soar like me

if they understand Starbucks had three

stores in 82 but the core business was

just selling pounds of ground and

roasted coffee for home use a year after

I joined the company I went to Italy for

the first time person you can't walk

through any major city or town in Italy

without running into a coffee bar and

seeing the sense of community and

romance and theater around espresso it

just made me realize that Starbucks

perhaps was not in the right part of the

coffee business but the real business

and the opportunity was the integration

of the beverage to creating a

destination and sense of community in

the store what I experienced in Italy

was something that was transferable in

the u.s. ring for the first time great

coffee introduce new beverages that no

one ever heard of no one heard of a cafe

latte before I raced home to talk to the

founders about the experience I had and

they rejected it over a period of two


I left Starbucks to start my own chain

of Italian coffee bars at that time

Starbucks found itself in financial

difficulties and so the founder came to

me and said I can't think of Starbucks

in better hands and it was in your hands

I realize you don't have the money I'll

give you X amount of time to try and

find it I was able to buy Starbucks in

August of 87 they had six stores at the

time for 3.8 million dollars

I didn't at that point have an

understanding that coffee would one day

become part of the culture the zeitgeist

in ways that I couldn't possibly

understand or predict I think we

realized early on that what we had to do

is everything had to prove itself in the

cup the ability to source and roast the

highest quality Arabica beans in the

world gave us the platform to do things

that would define and build an industry

that did not exist many people at the

time were convinced Starbucks was too

strong we had to educate the market and

the customer about know this is what

coffee should taste like and there you

have it