In the last 50 years coffee has gone from being something only drunk in the privacy of the home to something consumed everywhere - on the go, in the office, as a social destination (particularly during lockdown when all we have to do is a coffee with a walk).
According to a report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture sector, more people are drinking coffee than ever before as the middle classes swell and people can afford a cup of joe as a daily habit. The numbers suggest Finland and Sweden are the most prolific coffee drinkers, consuming around 12.5kg per person every year.
As our taste for the black nectar has grown, so have coffee chains. In 2021, Starbucks will celebrate 50 years in business, growing from a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place market, which opened in 1971 to nearly 33,000 stores worldwide today, with its iconic mermaid logo becoming one of the most instantly recognisable logos in households across the globe.
It is not only a phenomenon in the food and drink sector but culturally too: becoming the celebrity cup of choice with everyone from the Kardashians to Renee Zellweger regularly snapped by the paparazzi with a green straw to hand. One of the takeaway cups even accidentally featured in a Game of Thrones background scene.
And as the brand has become more ubiquitous, the locations it can be found in are ever more varied - from old petrol stations to repurposed shipping containers, these are the most unusual Starbucks locations around the world. Consider it a bucket list for coffee connoisseurs and design enthusiasts alike - for wherever you want your morning brew.
1. The petrol station in Los Angeles, USA
Movie fans, this one is for you. The Gilmore Gasoline Filling Station store is a restored petrol station that was previously a backdrop for films and adverts, including a scene with Eddie Murphy in “48 Hours” and in Steve Martin’s “L.A. Story”. The drive-thru coffee shop has sweeping cantilevered canopies and energy efficient rope lights to replicate the old tubes of neon lighting, hinting at the building’s art deco past.
2. The pink seaside store in Turks & Caicos
What we wouldn’t give to be on a Caribbean island right now. And in Turks & Caicos you will find this pink seaside store converted into a Starbucks. The café on the southern tip of Grand Turk island is the first on the island and features a pale pink exterior.
3. On a train in Switzerland
In 2013, Starbucks unveiled its first store on a train – offering passengers to Geneva airport a chance to buy coffee on the move. The first official voyage for the Starbucks train took place on the 06.36am train from Geneva Airport to St. Gallen. The two level store provided seating for a total of 50 people. You won’t ever miss your train waiting for a coffee again.
4. Up a mountain in California, USA
Thought you could get away from Starbucks by going to the top of a mountain? Think again, the ski slope at Squaw Valley in California has had its very own Starbucks since 2012. Most everyone is familiar with a drive-thru, what about a ski-thru at 8,000 feet? This is a one of a kind experience but you don’t have to be skiing or snowboarding to access it, anyone can enjoy the mountain views via the resort’s lift.
5. The old post office in Milan, Italy
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan is an intricate masterpiece of Italian craftsmanship and coffee innovation inside a former grand post office. The first “Starbucks Roastery” in Europe, its marble and brick exterior, the twisting copper pipes and blossoming bronze roasting cask make this a little different to your average neighbourhood coffee shop.
6. A converted house in Hanoi, Vietnam
The Duy Tan store in the historic capital city of Hanoi is actually a two-story former residence nestled between two towering office buildings. The location contrasts old and new, with original brickwork alongside modern chevron wood cladding.
7. A shipping container in Seattle, USA
In 2012, Starbucks opened its first coffee shop made entirely from a recycled shipping container - one that had been used in a former life to transport coffee all over the world - in Tukwila, Washington, just south of Seattle. It is part of the brand’s ongoing initiative to encourage green building to reduce energy-use.
8. The Turkish courtyard in Istanbul, Turkey
The Starbucks in Narmanli Han, Istanbul, is Turkey’s 500th Starbucks and combines historic architecture with a large central courtyard. Located on the famous Istiklal Avenue in the heart of the capital, it serves the classic Starbucks range as well as a range of traditional Turkish coffee.