Starbucks Coffee Culture

Reading and discussion activity

  • Is coffee popular where you live? Is there a coffee culture?
  • How often do you drink coffee?
  • Where do you usually drink coffee?
  • Are there any Starbucks coffee shops in your area? Who are their typical customers?
  • What do you know about the company Starbucks, origin, name, success, etc.?

Read the text below and find the answers to the last question, and other information on the company.


The first Starbucks opened in 1971 in downtown Seattle. Back then, the company was a single store in the historic Pike Place Market. The small coffee shop offered some of the world’s finest fresh-roasted whole bean coffees. The name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the tradition of the early coffee traders.

In 1981 a New York man by the name of Howard Schultz became curious about the company. Schultz went to Seattle to see what Starbucks did, and met the three partners who owned Starbucks. He wanted to become part of the company. In 1982, he was hired as the company’s head of marketing

A year later, in 1983, Howard traveled to Italy and became captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition back to the United States. A place for conversation and a sense of community. A third place between work and home.

Between 1987 and 1992, Starbucks opened 150 new stores—and that was only the beginning. Starbucks first international coffeehouse opened in Tokyo in 1996 and the response was extraordinary. Starbucks coffeeshops have been embraced by millions of people around the world. With more than 21,000 stores in over 65 countries, it’s clear that the company’s passion for great coffee, genuine service and community connection transcends language and culture.


Can you answer the following questions without going back to the passage? Check your answers afterwards with the text.

1.What is the main topic of the reading?   
2.Who is Howard Schultz?
3.Where does the name Starbucks come from?
4.What idea did Howard Schultz get from his trip to Italy?       
5.What’s the reason behind Starbucks success?

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