Happy Birthday Starbucks! The big 4 – 0. Really. You’ve been around that long already? Why, I remember when you were just an upstart little thing. Some folksy little product found in Seattle. I arrived in Seattle not too long after you began. And while I did my share of expanding in the Pacific Northwest the 14 years I lived there, you really out did yourself. You are now known world-wide.
Even though we started out together in Seattle, I probably can count on one hand the times I have actually held a genuine Starbucks cup of coffee in my hands. (I’m sorry, but for my budget, you are on the pricier side.) But don’t let that detract from your celebrations. I collect coffee mugs, so the chances are that someday I will run across a Starbuck coffee mug at a garage sale or thrift store, and I will buy it.
Coffee has come a long way since you first opened your store. It no longer is a 5 cent cup of bottomless joe at the local diner. In fact, so much has been added to the single cup of coffee, one would hardly recognize it for what it is. You have flavored coffee, cappuccino, frappuccino, latte, and iced. And since I am somewhat of an ignoramus when it comes to gourmet coffees, I won’t even begin to discuss all the ways one can order their drink.
But while you have been around, influencing our coffee habits for 40 years; coffee itself has been around a lot longer. Way back in the 15th century coffee was all the rage. I always viewed coffee as a colonial rebellion against the British Empire’s love for tea. I imagined some American native showing Captain John Smith how to brew and drink coffee. Boy was I wrong! I found out that some unknown goatherd in Ethiopia first discovered the benefits of the coffee bean. Then it spread to the rest of the Muslim world where it was once revered as a spiritual drink. The Muslim may have tried to keep it to themselves, but it eventually spread to Italy, and then on to the rest of Europe and the world.
The process of brewing a cup of coffee has evolved. From the French presses to the campfire pot, to the delightfully simple drip coffee maker; it’s easier than ever to enjoy coffee. Growing up, I remember my mother drinking her morning cup of coffee. She had her own little routine. First she would fill the tea kettle with water, put it on the stove and heat to a near boil, spoon some Maxwell House (“Good to the Last Drop”) Instant Coffee into her cup and add the hot water. She even used a spoon and a saucer with her cup!
Going to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner was something special. Coffee was made from real coffee grounds in a percolator. It looked like a tall silver tea-pot that was heated by electricity. After dinner Grandma would serve the coffee – in her good china.
I didn’t start drinking coffee until I realized motherhood required more awake time versus sleep time. I started out using instant coffee like my mother. Then my sweet Hubby invested in one of those new fangled drip coffee makers. I was on my way! Like the early Muslims, my morning coffee became a spiritual affair. I drank my coffee as I read my Bible before the babies woke up. That’s a habit I like to continue even though my babies are all grown, and some with babies of their own. They have discovered the wonders of the coffee bean as well.
So, once again, Happy Birthday Star Bucks. Here’s to the next 40 years of good coffee!