There are seasons in life when we find ourselves transforming and growing in ways we never imagined possible.
The last time I felt on the precipice of such incredible transformation was the winter of 1983. I was on my way back to Seattle after countless hours walking the streets of Milan and immersing into the world of Italian-style espresso. I experienced a coffeehouse culture rich with the spirit of connection and community, and I was overflowing with inspiration to bring it to the United States. This dream transformed my image of what Starbucks could mean to people and transformed our brand into a global movement to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
Transformation was Starbucks catalyst for growth, both for our business and for our purpose as a company. And our embrace of this growth mindset means that our quest for transformative inspiration is never ending—we must always be searching for new ideas, or old ideas that can be transformed into something exceptional.
This summer, I was once again captivated by a transformational idea while traveling through Italy. I came across a time-honored tradition that transformed my coffee experience and improved my life. It was wholly unexpected, yet the possibilities filled me with excitement.
Today, we reassert our enduring aspiration to deliver coffee innovation to customers around the world, by bringing together two time-honored Italian traditions to create a new coffee ritual—a unique alchemy of two of nature's most transcendent ingredients: coffee and olive oil.
As with anything we have ever done, the proof is in the cup. When you take your first sip of one of our innovative new Starbucks OleatoTM beverages, you will taste a unique blend of artistry, craft, premium quality ingredients and bold innovation that create a truly extraordinary experience. This is much bigger than any beverage—it demonstrates the creativity and bold vision that makes Starbucks a global leader in coffee innovation.
Many have underestimated us before, and they’ve been wrong. I am full of optimism that when we follow our intuition and dedicate ourselves to the art and elegance of coffee, embrace our passion for the experience and support our green apron partners to provide the highest level of care to customers, we will exceed expectations every time.
In fact, Italians have embraced Starbucks in a way that many did not see coming. In Starbucks stores across Italy, our top selling beverage is the solo espresso – a validation of the quality of the coffee that has defined Starbucks since its founding in 1971.
With this alchemy of unexpected ingredients, we return to the spirit of entrepreneurship that has differentiated Starbucks for more than 50 years. I truly believe that our enduring drive to constantly exceed the expectations of our partners and customers is the key to our future.
As I prepare to pass the mantle of leadership to Laxman and the rest of the Executive Leadership Team, it’s my deepest wish to share this moment of inspiration and love with you. This innovation is a tribute to the convening power of coffee and connection, and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us forward to new possibilities.
No matter where our next season of life may take us, I remain ever your partner.