Barbie, Senior Product Specialist at Starbucks Asia Pacific

Celebrating International Women's Day

From Bean to Cup: Celebrating International Women’s Day with 5 Women Shaping the Coffee World in Asia Pacific. As we reach our final story of the week, we meet Barbie from Starbucks Hong Kong Support Center.

International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating women’s amazing achievements across the globe – and there are certainly plenty to celebrate in the coffee industry!

From coffee farmers to Starbucks partners (employees), both in-store and behind-the-scenes, we are bringing you the stories of five inspirational women in Asia Pacific who are making an impact in the coffee world. Join us as we share the stories behind their coffee experiences – and discover the vital parts they play in crafting your perfect coffee, from bean to cup.

While baristas might be the first people you see upon stepping inside a Starbucks store, there are hundreds of others working behind-the-scenes to help craft your coffee, from bean to cup – people like Barbie Lee, who oversees packaged coffee at Starbucks Asia Pacific.

In her role as Senior Specialist, Product, Barbie works with local markets to understand their needs and trends; with global teams to source the finest arabica coffee for stores; and with agencies to create meaningful designs for Starbucks’ packaging, telling the unique story of each coffee.

Discovering more about the journey of each Starbucks coffee, from farm to cup, has given Barbie a deeper appreciation for her part in the process. “I remember visiting one of our coffee farms in Sumatra and meeting the farmers there. The joy and pride they had while talking about their work inspired me,” she recalls. “I understood that we are part of an ecosystem that can benefit thousands of people across different countries.”

Barbie believes that working at Starbucks allows her to create a positive impact on society. “I’m passionate about how Starbucks invests in coffee, such as our Farmer Support Centers, and sources coffee in a sustainable and human-centred way,” she says.

As for her own journey at Starbucks, Barbie highlights how “the trust and empowerment from my leaders has given me the courage and belief to keep making progress”. As she reflects: “There will always be challenges – but knowing there are so many women working in the coffee industry inspires me.”

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