July 2011

On Wisconsin … and Bon Iver!

Bon Iver

A big part of the story of Justin Vernon, the focal point of the indie-rock band Bon Iver, centers on Wisconsin, his base of operations. And every time the state earns mention in Vernon interviews – which is pretty frequently these days, now that Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore album is out and winning critical kudos – I well up a little with pride.

You see, I was born and raised in Wisconsin and, though I haven’t lived there for a long time, well … once a Badger, always a Badger.

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Jamaica Blue Mountain®, Back by Popular Demand

Jamaica Blue Mountain

It’s that time of year again when all is blue, the weather is warm and the sun is shining. We’re brewing up yummy cups from our Clover® brewer and stocking the shelves with bags of Jamaica Blue Mountain® for all who are delighted as it makes a return appearance. We discovered this was a coffee that folks buzzed about when we featured it last season. Well, we listened to you, and it’s back!

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60,000 Volunteers, 30 Countries, 30 Days

The Results Are In! One act of kindness can make a world of difference. In April 2011, nearly 60,000 Starbucks partners (employees), customers, community members and nonprofit organizations from across 30 countries on four continents joined together in their local neighborhoods to be a catalyst for change and make a positive impact in people’s lives.

From gardening and painting projects, to building irrigation and rubbish management systems, to refurbishing schools and renovating parks, these passionate volunteers transformed communities in need and helped spark a sense of pride and ownership in all those involved.

Education was an important component of this service and how it will be maintained over time. For example, volunteers in Shanghai helped educate residents on leading environmentally conscious lifestyles. In London, young people engaged in leadership training to help empower them to be change makers in their hometowns across the United Kingdom.

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Three Reasons Why I Love Bistro Boxes

I’ll admit it – it’s seriously hard to make good food choices when you’re busy. It always feels like I have to make a tough choice: will it be quick or will I feel good? And since I am already making admissions … sometimes I choose the wrong one. You know the wrong choice (we’ve all made them!), where you sacrifice speed for something that resembles food.

Our newest additions, Bistro Boxes, finally make these choices easy. Now you can enjoy fast, delicious wholesome food with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. And the super-cute box makes it easy to take wherever you are off to – your next meeting, in the car or hopefully the beach!

When you can recognize the food you’re eating its easy to know you’ve made a good choice, but you can also feel good about the fact we’ve crafted all Bistro Boxes to be less than 500 calories.

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Passarim: In a Bossa Nova Mood

Hello. This is Passarim - one of the bands on the swoony Starbucks compilation In A Bossa Nova Mood—and we’re here to answer a few questions:

What is it about bossa nova?

“Esta música vai incendiar o mundo.” This music will set the world on fire. ~Herbie Mann

(Nick, saxophonist)
I started playing bossa nova because of its soft and subtle beauty, its understatement, the gorgeous harmonies and lyricism. Jobim took complex songwriting theory and extended harmonies and applied it to Brazilian samba, creating a beautiful and often delicate hybrid—a blend of jazz and classical lines with Brazilian aesthetic, coupled with an obsession for moving melody. It’s very fun to play.

“Why don’t they write sambas that we can whisper to our girlfriends?” ~Dick Farney, crooner and forerunner of bossa nova

(Francesca, singer)
Its intimacy is what lured me. I remember hearing Getz/Gilberto for the first time and thinking What is this magic? Pure seduction. The feeling of languid breezy afternoons, the round sound of Brazilian Portuguese, velvet vocals playing with phrasing and rhythm and storytelling… but it was the whisper, vocally and musically. There’s so much art in the restraint.

“Do not injure the silence, for it is sacred.“ ~João Gilberto

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The Perfect Summer Ice Cream

Starbucks Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino® ice cream

July is National Ice Cream Month – and our delicious Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino® ice cream is back in grocery stores for a limited time. It’s the perfect summer treat: real strawberries blended with rich and creamy vanilla and strawberry ice creams. Simply delicious!

At StarbucksIceCream.com, you can find information about which local grocery stores carry our ice creams, along with recipes featuring our decadent flavors. My favorite recipe right now is for Strawberry Frappuccino® Ice Cream Sandwiches, but a close second is the Java Chip Sandwiches.

We encourage you to treat yourself, share with friends and family and then let us know your favorite recipe. Enjoy!

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Introducing Starbucks Refreshers™ Iced Beverage

Starbucks refreshers

You know that cool moment, when you come across something head-scratchingly different, new or just plain-old-intriguing? Like discovering a new band, a hidden-gem restaurant, a new app, a genius artist? I love that feeling!

Well, here’s to a new kind of coffee experience that I hope feels a little like that. You have told us you want more thirst-quenching beverages at Starbucks. So we dabbled. We played. We mixed. We tasted. We dabbled a little more. And we created Starbucks Refreshers™, a new line of iced beverages currently available in select stores in southern California and Arizona.

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Jamaica: Soulful Town, Soulful People

Starbucks Jamaica: Island in the Sun compilation

I’ve found that most musically minded folks aren’t usually all that familiar with reggae. When asked to name a reggae singer, everyone immediately names Bob Marley, and rightly so, but when asked to name another, well … it gets kinda fuzzy.

Even the savvier might lamely offer up a “Ziggy Marley?” Or at best, “Jimmy Cliff?” Which is not bad and it’s all no big deal. It’s just the way it is. But for our newest compilation I wanted to give greater exposure to some of the less-heralded names in reggae and show its rocksteady and ska-influenced roots.

It’s quite phenomenal that all this music and talent came from one small Caribbean island. Arising from the Kingston neighborhoods almost 45 years ago, reggae quickly influenced the sound of all popular music that followed. Our Jamaica: Island in the Sun compilation (in stores now) is chock-full of rocksteady gems and such from the proto-era of what most people associate with Bob Marley and the Wailers and reggae’s heavy sound. It spans a range from 1967-1978, a golden era of the island’s rich history.

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Treat Receipt is Back!

The summer sun is heating up and what better way to beat the heat than celebrating the return of treat receipt! This is the perfect way to cool off on any hot summer day with a cold Grande hand-crafted drink for only $2 (plus applicable tax). My favorite summer drink is our Tazo® Iced Passion Tea Lemonade with its blend of hibiscus herbal tea and tangy lemonade sweetened to perfection. This pink hued drink pairs perfectly with flip flops, sunglasses and a sunny summer day.

And, starting this year, our friends in Canada can take advantage of treat receipt – same refreshing beverages, same price $2 (plus applicable tax). Many of you already know the drill, but it’s easy to take advantage of Treat Receipt, just come in anytime before 2 p.m. for your regular morning drink and return after 2 p.m. with your receipt in hand for any cold hand crafted beverage for only $2 (plus applicable tax).

Treat Receipt is available at participating stores.

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