The Year in Starbucks

How the coffee giant continued to evolve over the year 2012


In the 12th month of 2012, our true love (Starbucks) gave to us:

12,000-plus new locations in America alone;
11 flavors of Frappuccinos;
£10 million paid to make up for teeny tax rates in British;
9 ingredients in the world’s most expensive Starbucks drink;
8 insane locations around the world;
$7 cups of Geisha coffee;
6 new food items on the Starbucks Evenings menu;
500-plus new stores across the globe;
$4(50) gift cards made of steel for the 1 percent;
3 major changes to its Rewards program;
2 new energy drinks; and
a new flavor of Starbucks ice cream!

Click here for The Year in Starbucks Slideshow

Despite how obnoxiously clever we think we are, in all seriousness, Starbucks continues to change the game. 2012 brought not just new ventures into new markets — worldwide expansion into India, Europe, and other regions — but also new juice and tea acquisitions and even took the company into the civil rights discussion. Every week, Starbucks made news: buying the La Boulange bakery, opening its first Juice Bar, and rolling out a brand-new mobile payment plan.

That doesn’t mean 2012 was without some faults for Starbucks. Raised prices and hidden fees pissed off plenty of people, as well as changes to the Rewards program this fall. But arguably the biggest PR conundrum the company found itself in? The red insect dye used in its Strawberry Frappuccinos. Not exactly what Starbucks lovers want to think about in their drinks.

So despite the fact that cochineal is a natural, FDA-approved colorant, Starbucks officially replaced the bug dye back in March. 

For the Starbucks fans, we take a trip down memory lane with our green mermaid-labeled cups in hand. From the first claim of support for marriage equality in January to the $7 cup of coffee everyone loves to mock, it’s been quite a year for Starbucks.

 


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