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September 2011

A Day to Honor and Remember

Like many people, I’m deeply moved by the upcoming 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I was in Manhattan on that morning, and I remember very well what I experienced: the fear, the anxiety, the uncertainty of not knowing what would happen next.

But I also recall the gratitude we felt for the first responders on the scene, the relief we held when loved ones were located, and – most of all – the comfort and sympathy we found in the company of others.

I also vividly remember the days following this tragic event. So many came back to our stores to share their stories with friends and colleagues. Some came just to get back a semblance of their normal routines, and some merely wanted the opportunity to be with others.

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New Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Coffee Blends Now in Grocery Stores

Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew House Blend and Breakfast Blend coffees

Fall is here, which means it is time to get back to my everyday routine. I love when the leaves turn, the temperature cools and my favorite sweaters come out from hiding. And, as the days become shorter I find myself needing a warm welcome to the dark mornings.

Lucky for me, two of our most popular coffees are coming to a nearby grocery store. Customers can find our new Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew House Blend and Breakfast Blend coffees where they buy groceries.

Both of these blends are made from 100 percent arabica coffee and taste just like our fresh-brewed coffee. House Blend is steeped in tradition – it is one of our longest-running blends, with a smooth, balanced flavor. Breakfast Blend is bright and lively, and perfect if you like a lighter roast. So don’t worry about hitting that morning snooze button – Starbucks VIA® coffee will fit in with your schedule even if you’re running five minutes late.

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Live from the 2011 Cup Summit

I’m in Boston for Starbucks third Cup Summit, an effort that began in 2009 and has brought together 100 leaders throughout the paper and plastic cup value chain for a common purpose – to find a way to make food packaging and serveware recyclable. We are working with more representatives from suppliers, cup manufacturers, retail and beverage businesses, recyclers, NGOs, and academic experts– even competitors. We know that together we can find innovative solutions for our cups and packaging and make a meaningful impact.

On Friday, Sept. 9, I’ll be hosting a panel discussion at the Cup Summit with experts from MIT, Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and New York waste management company Action Carting Environmental Services. We’ll talk about the common challenges we face, the progress we have made, and ideas for the future.

I hope you’ll join the conversation at our live webcast on Friday, Sept. 9 at 12 p.m. Eastern/9 a.m. Pacific at or on Starbucks Facebook page. Submit your questions and ideas on Twitter by using the hashtag #cupsummit or Facebook.

Jim Hanna is director of environmental impact for Starbucks.

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From Pumpkin Patch to Bakery: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin

Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t the only pumpkin in the family – have you ever met (or tried) PSL’s tasty cousin, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin? This tasty treat is filled with delectable cream cheese frosting and topped with candied pumpkin seeds, and has the same great warm spice flavor you love.

While PSL is our most famous pumpkin flavored treat, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin is just as delicious. Read on to discover some not-so-well-known facts about this muffin.

  • Pumpkins get their red-orange color from the pigment known as beta carotene. Telling yourself this helps you enjoy the rich, creamy indulgence even more.

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Anniversary Blend: New Beginnings and a Fall Favorite

Starbucks Anniversary Blend

Fall is always a special time of year for me. I grew up in the east coast and still fondly recall the moment when the landscape starts to transform to vibrant yellow, red, and orange hues from the changing foliage. Last fall produced another great memory; I joined Starbucks and the first coffee I was able to explore was Anniversary Blend. I fell head over heels for the coffee as it brought me back to a pile full of leaves and brisk fall mornings.

As I embarked on my new adventure and began to explore Anniversary Blend last fall, I wanted to learn everything I could about this particular coffee and Starbucks. Anniversary Blend was introduced in 1996 to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. That year we had over 1,000 stores and only 2 were outside of North America, we now have over 17,000 stores globally. I read the prospectus we sent to our shareholders that year and was encouraged to read that, “everything we do begins and ends with coffee.” That has not changed.

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Braille Banter

Starbucks Braille Card

Recently I was reading Howard Schultz’s new book, Onward. Page after page, I found myself appreciating Howard as a guiding light – for rethinking what’s possible, for bringing the company back, for redefining vision. Then I came to page 116.

What? He’s speaking directly to me, I thought. That’s where Howard describes a trip to one of our stores in Japan where he finds a hand-made Braille menu. In the book, he talks about rubbing his finger across the Braille and wishing that “everyone at Starbucks could experience this with me.”

I’m sure you all know that Onward is available in multiple languages, but did you know that it is also available in electronic Braille?

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Goin’ Back to Speakeasy Times

Speakeasy Times

When I got married a decade ago, I was put in charge of the wedding music. In fact, other than showing up, that’s pretty much where my responsibilities began and ended. Being someone who’s made music a vital part of my personal and professional life, I naturally gave my sole assignment considerable thought.

I worked out a budget, searched the web and thought about the spirit I wanted a band to bring to the event. Then I tracked down a bunch of old-time musicians who were experts at playing the music of the 1920s. And not the obvious stuff, either!

They were great! To top it off, they showed up with not one, but two, bass saxophones! Now the bass saxophone has fallen out of favor these days, probably because they’re taller than your average point guard and can’t be a lot of fun to haul around. But they turn up relatively frequently in ‘20s recordings. They sound kind of like a tuba with a little more bleat coming through.

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The 1 and Only Beatles

The Beatles

Just how big were the Beatles?

Well, if you’d have laid them end to end, they’d have stretched a little over 23 feet, but that’s probably not the scale we’re looking for.

The real measure can be found in the newly-remastered reissue of Beatles 1, the definitive collection of the 27 recordings that topped the charts in either the UK or U.S. The first of the tracks to reach No. 1, “From Me to You,” did so in May of 1963; the last, “The Long and Winding Road,” captured the top spot in June 1970. That’s 27 chart-toppers in about 85 months! Consider that most of those singles settled in at No. 1 for multiple weeks, and “Hey Jude” perched on top of the U.S. Billboard charts for nine weeks. They rarely vacated the top spot. We’ll never see that kind of commercial dominance again. Ever!

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Chai Tea Latte: Experience a Classic Again

Tazo® Chai Tea Lattes

Tazo® Chai Tea Lattes mix the exotic with the familiar. This beverage starts with a rich, full-flavored Assam tea and blends five spices that have been used in Indian chai recipes for decades: ginger, cardamom, star anise, cloves and cinnamon. The blend is a “classic masala chai” – the Tazo recipe adds sweetness with honey, organic cane sugar and a hint of vanilla.

Like most of our beverages, the Tazo® Chai Tea Latte is customizable. If you want to savor some extra cinnamon or try it very vanilla, just ask. One of the more popular customizations you’ve told us about is to add a shot of espresso for an extra kick. There’s an iced version perfect for warm days. And there are a full range of milk options, including soy.

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Cup Summit 3

Starbucks 3rd Cup Summit

Starbucks held its third Cup Summit in Boston last week, gathering over 100 packaging industry leaders to discuss solutions for the recyclability of cups and other packaging. In addition to the meeting itself, there was a great 2011 Cup Summit webcast with expert representatives from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and Action Carting Environmental Services.

The Summit was a great success, with everyone feeling like we made a lot of progress solving this difficult issue. We met in the incredible MIT Media Lab, hosted by Peter Senge, senior lecturer at MIT and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning. Peter and his team helped the group focus on system solutions that consider the entire life of cups and packaging: sourcing of raw materials, use by our customers and final disposal.

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