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How the world's first Starbucks took place

This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur as a result of this process.

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

The most emblematic location of one of the most famous coffee brands in the world is located on 1912 Pike Street in downtown Seattle in an area of ​​300 square meters.

Starbucks boasts of being the first store, but it's not. The first opened a few meters away in 1971, although it was demolished a few years later. Hence, it was relocated to this room, which has a plaque inside that designates it as the first branch, which makes it one of the main attractions of the city.

This little place is full of boxes with the mermaid logo on them. However, there are no chairs or tables or a food bar, but it has a strong smell of coffee and not only retains the essence of the place where it was created. This is a brand with more than 22,000 stores in 60 countries.

Seattle is a city that can be defined in rain, grunge, and coffee. The hotel is located in the northwestern United States and protects its residents in cool temperatures and under a permanent gray sky and light drizzle. This is also where the musical legends of Nirvana and Pearl Jam originated.

The dozen of downtown cafes show their love of the bean, especially on Pike Street. If you walk from the beginning to 10th Avenue, you will find nine Starbucks and at least 10 local cafes.

Pike begins just 100 meters from the harbor where the large ships that come in through Puget Strait arrive and gives its name to Pike Place Market, an internationally renowned seafood, foreign object and sales market.

This is the context surrounding the story of Starbucks, the company Howard Schultz joined as an employee in 1982 when there were only five stores. Now, with him as CEO, it's worth $ 7.4 billion – and it's the sixth fastest growing brand in the world.

From this location, the essence of a cafeteria, like the ships that surround it, sails into the world now using its expansion to collect cereal flavors from the five continents and give them the touch of their brand.

Image: Javier Rodríguez / High Level

Grain hunter

Howard Schultz, in his book The Starbucks Challenge, relates that the original owners of the cafeteria first tried to create a coffee connoisseur experience and attract newcomers by selling beans they had collected from various locations. After a trip to Italy in 1983, the businessman suggested selling latte coffee with the beans from the store and thus took the first steps.

This experience was the first in a series of revolutions that all came from Seattle, particularly Pike Street.

In 2014 he started another adventure on the same street, but under number 1124, inspired by his origins and whose taste should be improved. Ten blocks from the "first store," the company opened the first Starbucks Reserve, Roastery & Tasting Room, a place where coffee lovers can sample the beans the brand has collected around the world.

With the beans collected, the company provides its experts with more than 250,000 cups of coffee per year to select the new reserves. Some of them, like Paradeisi (a mix of grains from Colombia, Uganda, and Papua New Guinea), can only be sampled at this huge place. If the first branch stands out for its simplicity, then this one will surprise you with its size and huge toasters.

“We are a city with ports where we have access to coffee from all over the world. We sell too many types of coffee, ”said Lincoln Becharn, a 24-year-old barista trainer at Starbucks Reserve, in an interview with Alto Nivel.

Lincoln tried his first cup of mocha coffee when he was 7 years old and claims it was made with the bean of his current company. "Seattle must have thousands of baristas, and many of them are at Starbucks. Working here is very common," he says.

On the shelves of this store you can find coffee from Colombia for $ 80 a pound (it's the most expensive), from Costa Rica for $ 26, from Mexico (Chiapas and Oaxaca) for $ 26 and $ 40, and from other places such as Vietnam , Rwanda, Ethiopia and more. In 2015 the store had coffee from 50 countries and this year they have 75 beans.

"The trend is for the food industry in general to try to get to the place of origin of the product, not, as before, to a central location in the country where the product was stored and distributed from there to the world … Now let's go to the regions, ”says Becharn.

Image: Javier Rodríguez / High Level

The Starbucks & # 39; School & # 39;

Starbucks Reserve combines the company's original idea of ​​satisfying coffee connoisseurs with the experience of consuming the drink prepared on site. This way, when you consume a product, you can turn to the baristas so they can tell you about the whole coffee process, how it is grown, the country of origin of the bean and the techniques for sifting it, as well as the methods of caring for the area.

The store has approximately 2,000 customers a day Monday through Friday and 6,000 customers on weekends. In addition to selling grains, souvenirs, groceries, and prepared beverages, 1.4 million pounds of coffee are roasted here annually to supply the 2,000 reserve stores around the world.

You will not find a store with these characteristics in any other country. However, the company is currently preparing to open another reserve roaster in China, a country with which Seattle is closely linked thanks to its ports and flight connections.

In Mexico, you can try some of the cafeteria choices in the three existing Reserve branches, one in Arco Bosques, one in Masaryk, and a final one in the Palacio de Hierro de Moliere. (The brand has 538 stores in 52 cities across the country.)

Lincoln Becharn assures that since the company's expansion, Seattle residents have linked their lives very closely with coffee. “My first job was in a cafeteria in front of my house. I've loved coffee since I was a kid. "

“We're a brand that enables people to have coffee, have real conversations, and share human stories. This is our essence. It is a place where a lot of people come and you meet people. I saw a couple arrive on their first date, then when they were engaged, and then they arrived with their first baby. I've seen their entire relationship go by at a Starbucks. ""

Image: Javier Rodríguez / High Level

Text originally published for Alto Nivel.

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