What was the first Starbucks in the world and what does it look like today?

In 1971, in the heart of Seattle, three friends with a passion for coffee – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker – joined forces to open a small coffee bean shop called Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices.

He starbucks original is located in the iconic Seattle Pike Place Marketa place that is not only famous for its coffee, but also for being a social and cultural meeting point.

Since its opening, this Starbucks has maintained its essence, attracting people from all over the world who want to experience the place where the now gigantic coffee chain began.

Despite its global fame, the first Starbucks remains a modest 1,000 square feet in size, a testament to its simple but deep-rooted roots.

The line that never ends

A distinctive feature of the first Starbucks is the constant presence of a very long line of customers, known simply as “The Line.” This line never seems to slow down, stretching out of the store and along the street, symbolizing the unwavering appeal of the café and the unique experience this establishment offers.

Starbucks’ popularity lies not only in the quality of its coffee, but also in the cultural and social connection it promotes among visitors.

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What does the world’s first Starbucks look like?

Internally, the Pike Place Starbucks has stayed true to its original design. The floors, fixtures and counters are the same ones that were installed when the store first opened its doors.

This offers visitors an authentic experience and a tangible link to the brand’s past. In addition, unique elements such as the brass labels on coffee containers from 1971 and the local “Pork’n Beans” sculpture add a touch of character and historical continuity.

More than coffee: a place for meetings and proposals

The first Starbucks has seen countless personal encounters, from everyday conversations to marriage proposals.

This place doesn’t just serve coffee; facilitates human connections and creates memories, functioning as a true meeting point for locals and tourists. Each person who visits the place takes with them a part of Starbucks history, making each visit a personal and unique experience.

The legacy of a giant

From its modest beginning, Starbucks has grown to become one of the largest coffee chains in the world, with more than 20,000 locations.

However, the first Starbucks on Pike Place remains special to many, including Howard, one of the founders, who still keeps a small key to the location as a personal memento and symbol of his journey.

Each Starbucks has its story, but the one in Pike Place is, without a doubt, the most emblematic, representing not only the birth of the company, but also the spirit of community and gathering that Starbucks has promoted over the years.

The Starbucks experience

In 1982, a young Howard Schultz joined Starbucks as chief marketing officer. After a trip to Milan, where he became fascinated by Italian espresso culture, Schultz had a vision: transform Starbucks into a place where people could enjoy quality coffee in a welcoming atmosphere.

Under Schultz’s leadership, the brand experienced explosive growth. The chain expanded rapidly throughout the United States and then internationally, becoming a global phenomenon.

Not only did Starbucks popularize drinks like the latte and frappuccino, it also revolutionized the coffee experience by creating a “third place” between home and work, where people could gather and connect.

Starbucks today: a global legacy

Starbucks sales in Mexico and the world had significant growth in 2023. In Mexico, the chain’s revenue is expected to increase, driven by the growth in demand for coffee and prepared beverages. The number of branches in the country also increased by 3%, reaching 791.

Worldwide, sales also had significant growth, reaching $36 billion. This growth was driven by increased demand in emerging markets, such as China and Mexico. The number of the chain’s branches around the world also increased by 3%, reaching 32,000.

It is the largest coffee chain in the world, with a presence in 80 countries.

Below is a summary of Starbucks locations by country:

  • United States: 16,257
  • China: 6,000
  • South Korea: 1,870
  • Canada: 1,200
  • Japan: 1,100
  • United Kingdom: 1,000
  • Germany: 900
  • Mexico: 791
  • Australia: 600

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