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Good Books on the Starbucks Digital Network

 

The first few weeks since the launch of the Starbucks Digital Network in partnership with Yahoo! have been very exciting, with interest growing every day. I hope you’re enjoying this special enhancement to your Internet experience in our stores.

There’s something about the coffeehouse environment that invites reading, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight a couple of the interesting literary offerings on the network.
 
Bookish Reading Club gives you free access to four new books for two weeks at a time, chosen from leading publishers. This is your chance to pre-read a favorite author before making a purchase decision, and it’s exclusive to Starbucks. Some recent selections include new works from three of my favorite mystery writers: Dennis Lehane, Robert B. Parker and Stuart Woods. There will be many other good fiction and non-fiction titles as well.

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Bee Gees Fever

Bee Gees Fever

Saturday Night Fever arrived in theaters during the 1977 holiday season. Relatively unheralded when it was released, the exploration of New York’s disco subculture gained momentum in the following year, powered by a star-making performance by John Travolta and a soundtrack spearheaded by the Bee Gees.

The former was a supporting player on a sitcom called Welcome Back, Kotter. The latter had made some recent forays into R&B but were, in the public mind, a Beatlesque bunch whose biggest hits dated to the late ‘60s. Maybe the film had some potential, but, hey, another disco flick – Thank God It’s Friday, – was on its way and then it’d be time for Travolta to give up the spotlight.

Well, the film and its soundtrack became era-defining hits and the Bee Gees were suddenly the biggest thing going in an era when everything was oversized. By the spring of ’78, the two-record soundtrack had sold 10 million copies and become the biggest-grossing album in history. It’s now moved something in excess of 40 million copies and still holds a spot among the top 10 sellers of all time. Interestingly, three albums released in 1977 – Saturday Night Fever, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours – are in that Top 10 list. They pressed a lot of vinyl in those days.

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Ah, Paris!

Ah, Paris! Celebrating French Roast

What a beautiful city. I just came back from a long weekend there, and I’m already planning my next trip. Lucky for me, it’s only a train ride away.

There is something magical about Paris. I can’t say what I love the most about the city. Is it the architecture? Perhaps it’s the beautiful sweeping vistas along the boulevards? I do love visiting the stores where the merchants elevate the display of their wares to an art form unrivalled by nearly anything in the Louvre. And whether I see the Eiffel Tower looming over the Champs de Mars or poking out from behind a building, I am still amazed by both its gracefulness and its strength.

There are few places in the world where food and wine are so celebrated. Even the simple, typical breakfast here – a baguette with jam and creamy, unsalted French butter – presents itself as a luxury when the ingredients are of such a high calibre. The butterfat content of the French butter is higher than many other places, and this makes it extra smooth and creamy. So a little goes a long way. And with a great cup of coffee, it’s a perfect way to start the day.

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Wake Up! with John Legend & The Roots

Wake Up! with John Legend & The Roots

Summer 2008. A time of high-stakes election campaigns beginning to gear up. There was a sense of imminent change in American national politics on the horizon, and an infusion of optimism that grew over the long months and swept up younger generations in record numbers. The country soon followed with the same optimism. Singer-songwriter John Legend included.

Legend connected the dots, drawing parallels between this newfangled sense of change and the cultural and societal shifts of the civil rights movement of the ’60s and ’70s.

And so the concept of Wake Up! was born. Further inspiration came in his recruitment of the seminal and always progressive hip-hop band, the Roots, to weigh in on the project. Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson and the Roots proved to be perfect foils, sharing the same affinity for vintage soul, reggae, hip-hop, gospel and funk music, and the record was put down in Philadelphia and New York in a series of sessions that lasted nearly two years.

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Espresso Roast – At the Core of It All

It has been nearly five years since I joined the coffee department. And while I have many great memories, my favorite one has to be the everyday connection I make with my team around the espresso machine.

Now this is not just any espresso machine – this is the two-group La Marzocco® espresso machine that sits in our tasting room. The original 1971 Starbucks logo hangs on the wall, a reminder of our heritage as a coffee company.

In the beginning these connections were made in the morning, before the day’s work began. The first person to arrive at work was the designated barista. They would “dial in” the machine to ensure the espresso shots were perfect. Espresso Roast filled the hopper of the Astoria® grinder, the oils on the beans glistening as an indication of the magic that was about to unfold.

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Fall is Catching Up with Me

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin

After a long, care-free summer with sunny days, lots of dinners enjoyed on the patio and plenty of outdoor activities, fall is rapidly catching up with me.

My best friend loves the fall season, so every year I love the conversation that comes about where I try to convince her to enjoy summer just a little longer – before giving up and deciding that I too must retire my white jeans and go back to busier schedules and chillier weather.

Besides my annual fall chat there are many other small moments that remind me fall is coming. Here are my favorite signs fall is here:

- The weekend you go back to the store and find it full of backpacks and pencils.
- The first time you see someone wearing boots and know that means you can start too.
- Enjoying my first Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin.

What are your favorite signs fall is coming?

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Organic Shade Grown Mexico

Organic Shade Grown Mexico holds a special place in my heart! As a store manager, I believe that every coffee we sell at Starbucks is the best that particular region has to offer, and I know that many of you truly appreciate the quality and the flavor.

This coffee – with its crisp first impression, uniquely subtle nuttiness, and bright, clean finish – is approachable and interesting to the average coffee drinker and the seasoned connoisseur alike. But there is more to this coffee than its extraordinary flavor.

Organic Shade Grown Mexico represents our commitment to environmental responsibility. Planted beneath the canopy of the lush cloud forest surrounding El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico, this unique coffee comes to life as a part of an ecosystem.

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Back In The Day: Sit Back and Unwind

There’s an amusing scene in the Sandra Bullock rom-com, The Proposal, where Bullock’s character and her fiancé (played by Ryan Reynolds) are trying to get to know each other better. She casually mentions that her first concert was Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock. Reynolds feigns ignorance, pretending not to know who they are, before admitting that he actually does and just wanted to hear her sing the lyrics. Both break into the 1988 hip-hop gem, “It Takes Two.”

Speaking of rocking the microphone: our first hip-hop compilation comes out July 20. Entitled Back in the Day: A Summertime Hip-Hop Mix, it’s a compilation of songs from what’s known as “the golden age of hip-hop” (c. 1988-1996), and it plays like the same Bullock/Reynolds shared joy of singing along to a hip-hop classic.

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What Summer Means to Me

Summertime: the time of long days, barbecues, fresh fruit and iced coffee – specifically, Gazebo Summer Blend™!

The first time I tasted this coffee was five years ago at Starbucks corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle. The coffee was served hot and paired with lemon bars. I thought, “Well, this is interesting,” and was prepared to move on to the next coffee. But the second tasting – that is what captivated me about this coffee.

The second tasting was served on ice, and the coffee was paired with a raspberry-lemon bar. The bar was homemade and, unfortunately, I never got the recipe. But with this pairing, the citrus and floral notes burst from the coffee and I was hooked.

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Real Food Simply Delicious, One Year Later

June 29 is an important day for the food team at Starbucks – it’s the day we celebrate our one-year anniversary of “Real Food Simply Delicious”! RFSD means we removed all that unnecessary stuff from our food in our U.S. company-operated stores. So no matter what you are looking to eat – a breakfast sandwich or yummy apple fritter – you can feel good about the fact that it has no artificial flavors, artificial dyes, artificial trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup.

I sat down with Lisa B., our manager of food research and development, to get the inside scoop on how she and her team made it all happen!

Question: Why did Starbucks make these changes to our food recipes?
Answer: We wanted a new approach to Starbucks food – one that celebrates real ingredients and focuses on simpler recipes that make our food even more delicious. We baked and tasted hundreds of recipes in our test kitchen to improve the quality of our food and proudly serve it alongside our coffee.

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