Wondering why is Starbucks coffee so good? So was I. Before I had visited any Starbucks coffee branch, I had yet to understand the hype, the long lines, the ever so persistent Instagram pictures of random selfies, most of them shot around espresso and latte.
I vowed only to support local family cafes, but for the sake of quenching my thirst for answers (and caffeine), I finally went to the nearest Starbucks I could find.
The magic of Starbucks ascends from more than the best quality beans and brewing methods. What makes Starbucks so good is that it understands coffee, the consumers, the employees, and the business aspect of having a cafe shop.
Gear up and get a cup of coffee to sip while reading this article. This story is going to be an exciting read.
Why Is Starbucks Coffee So Good? And Why Is It So Addictive?
The question of why Starbucks Coffee is so good is such a controversial question in itself. Many coffee lovers and baristas would beg to differ, calling Starbucks coffee burnt coffee, bitter coffee, or describing it as “too commercial” and “soulless.”
However, nobody can contest that Starbucks is a very successful business in the United States and many countries worldwide.
If some coffee shops can arguably make “better” coffee than Starbucks, why aren’t they hitting off the charts as Starbucks does? The reason behind the success of Starbucks and what makes them so popular is beyond that of taste.
It has perfectly made an outstanding balance of prestige and openness, explicitly knowing what the consumer desires and the things they want but do not know they want.
1. The Experience
Before Starbucks went big, cafes around the United States (if not worldwide) focused on only one thing: coffee. Many people would think, “Why wouldn’t they? After all, they are a cafe, right?”
When Starbucks was first founded in Seattle in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Ziv Siegl, they all knew that making good, even great coffee wasn’t enough to set yourself above the rest of the competition.
They all knew that instead of making the daily trip to the coffee shop downtown a more straightforward “get in, buy one, get out” task, they had to make the whole process an experience.
Starbucks was indeed a trailblazer and was ahead of its time. Right now, if you go to a Starbucks cafe, you are greeted with luxury-feeling, aesthetically pleasing architecture, leather furniture, and fully furnished wooden chairs.
More importantly, their products are not only pleasant to taste, but the whole place has a waft of caffeine around it, with coffee looking so good, Instagram can’t just get enough of it.
There is a reason why people want to grab their laptops and work at the nearest Starbucks. The air-conditioned, friendly, and eye candy coffee shop makes anyone feel as productive as ever, that even offices are jealous.
They have perfected and curated their experience around the heavily coffee-reliant demographic– the Millenials. As a result, each section of the cafe, every drink, and pastry, is an Instagram post waiting to be captured by a camera.
As the growing number of work-from-home employees and freelance workers seek new areas to be productive and feel productive, Starbucks tries extremely hard to cater to the needs of these independent workers. After all, if someone starts to do their work at a Starbucks, they will most likely come back every day!
2. The Taste and The Food
Many baristas despise the very name of Starbucks itself, questioning why such an “abomination” of a cup of coffee is revered so highly in the first place. However, what they do not know is that Starbucks has mastered the wants of the masses.
Starbucks is not targeting the heavily critical specialists who are very keen on acidity level, brewing time, bean quality, and whatnot. What they want is for everyone to forget all the jargon and enjoy the coffee. They work more like Apple does in the smartphone industry.
Apple does not care about the technical specifications, like how much RAM the next iPhone will have or the screen resolution of the next iPhone display. All they would like you to know is that it works, and it works great.
Starbucks, like Apple, does not want you to think of how long the brewing process is, what type of method they are using, and other coffee jargon an average coffee lover would not know. Instead, all they want you to know is that their coffee tastes great.
They don’t need the approval of experts to sell well, as they are not the ones who are buying. As long as the customer likes it, everything will undoubtedly be a bestseller.
This extreme focus on the customer is evident in their way of testing products. For example, before Starbucks releases a new product, they will first hire a panel of average consumers (not experts) to tell how their products fare well in their taste buds. After all, the average consumers are the ones who buy the most coffee.
No matter which Starbucks you may want to visit, you will be assured of one thing: consistency. It doesn’t matter if you will drink a Frappuccino in Seattle or Los Angeles, as both of them taste the same no matter what.
This consistency allows Starbucks to assert confidence within their customers to not worry about losing the familiar taste of their favorite menu, no matter where they may be.
In the food industry, there is always a saying called “made with love,” and this could not be truer when it comes to Starbucks. Despite not being owners of the Starbucks branch itself, employees perform better and stay for longer working for Starbucks as the company gives their employees a lot of benefits.
As evidence of this, the Starbucks barista position is one of the most highly coveted positions in the food industry.
For college students working at a Starbucks, once you have over 160 hours or two months of service with Starbucks, you will be granted a scholarship by Starbucks wherein they will pay 100 percent of your tuition fee. Other benefits include health coverage, stock and savings, commuter benefits, paid leaves, and more. Not so bad.
So why exactly does this matter? Studies have already proven the importance of employee compensation and its correlation with the employees’ overall quality of service.
Treating employees with many benefits will also result in lower training costs. Employees will not leave as often, and Starbucks will not need to repeatedly recruit and train new employees.
Starbucks will pass on the savings from training to their employees in the form of employee benefits. Employees will transfer the savings to the consumers in the form of better service. It’s a win-win situation.
5. A Personalized Experience
When it comes to ordering at Starbucks, you will notice the tradition of having your coffee cup marked with your name on it (albeit with the commonly misspelled names). This tradition is only a part of their tactic as to which they would market their stores as a social venue, a place where people would come and meet, a place of comfort.
Significantly since the number of social spaces is declining, Starbucks tries to fill the void by offering its cafes as an alternative to parks, town squares, and plazas.
Additionally, Starbucks also allows a lot of customization on their coffee products, unlike other cafes. Starbucks has claimed that their baristas can serve up to 87,000 drink combinations and still have them serve it to you without breaking a sweat (props to their excellent training and experience).
The “So Good” Questions Asked By Our “Stars” About Starbucks
What beans does Starbucks use?
Starbucks makes use of specialized Arabica beans curated precisely for their needs. This specialization makes Starbucks have a high degree of control regarding the quality of their coffee beans.
Does Starbucks localize its drinks?
Yes, they do! If you visit Starbucks in other countries, they will likely offer additional menu items not available in the US and some menu items present in the US which may be missing from the said Starbucks. The purpose of curating their drinks to the preferences of their target consumers is to increase local sales.
How many Starbucks stores are there?
As of writing, there are more than 39,000 Starbucks coffee shops around the world. So imagine how much coffee is roasted at Starbucks’ roasting plants.