Remember Your First Taste of Coffee? Starbucks Baristas and Customers Share Their Memories


The sound of coffee bubbling in a 1950’s percolator. The warmth of a coffee thermos on a camping trip. The first sip of coffee from grandfather’s trusty blue mug.

Memories of coffee are as varied as the beverages Starbucks baristas handcraft every day. On National Coffee Day, some Starbucks partners (employees) and customers shared their first coffee memories:

My first cup started with a question from my Mom. I was sitting at our old trestle table in our farmhouse kitchen when she asked, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” Being nearly 6-feet tall by that point in high school, she must have figured it wouldn’t stunt my growth. I said, “Sure.” My Mom unexpectedly passed away in 2004. Coffee is a topic I use to help my kids understand who Grandma was and what she was all about. Many mornings, my first sip is like a silent chat with Mom. Scott Carty

My first memory of coffee involves my father - he was in the Marine Corps and he was always my hero. I was about six years old when he came back from 13 months in Okinawa, Japan. He was sipping coffee while I was sitting on his lap drinking milk. I wanted a sip of his coffee - he put a few teaspoons in my glass of milk and that became our ritual when he was home between duty stations. I can still see him smiling and putting the coffee in my glass. Of course, it became more coffee and a lot less milk for me over the years. Lori Moak-Kean

The original Starbucks store was a modest place. Behind a worn wooden counter stood bins containing coffees from all over the world: Sumatra, Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica. Remember, this was a time when most people thought coffee came from a can, not a bean. The counterman scooped out some Sumatra coffee beans, ground them, put the grounds in a filter in the cone, and poured hot water over them. Although the task took only a few minutes, he approached the work almost reverently, like an artisan. When he handed me a porcelain mug filled with the freshly brewed coffee, the steam and aroma seemed to envelop my entire face. I took a small, tentative sip. Whoa. I threw my head back, and my eyes shot wide open. Even from a single sip, I could tell it was stronger than any coffee I had ever tasted. Seeing my reaction, the Starbucks people laughed. “Is it too much for you?” I grinned and shook my head. Then I took another sip. This time I could taste more of the full flavors as they slipped over my tongue. By the third sip, I was hooked. Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo - from his book “Pour Your Heart Into It”

I was a young 12 year old when I would go bird hunting with my Dad. It was always so darned cold that Dad's coffee thermos was our way to stay warm. I came to enjoy coffee (black, no sugar). When I'm cold and have any coffee now, I think of my time with my Dad. Steve Chapman

My first memory of coffee was my first day with Starbucks in 1994. I wasn’t a big coffee drinker beforehand. When we tried Starbucks Kenya Coffee I said, “Wow this is different.” To this day I’m a fan of coffee from Africa and now I couldn’t imagine starting my day without having a cup of coffee. My go-to drink is a double short Americano. Casey Gayman, a Starbucks store manager

My dad grew up very poor in southeastern Alabama during the great depression. He used to tell me stories about hopping trains from place to pick cotton and tobacco as young as eleven or twelve years old in the early 1930’s. Having little to no money, even coffee was a luxury item. Ground roasted chicory root was a cheap but bitter substitute for real coffee beans. As the economy got better dad would mix chicory with real ground coffee to make it last longer. I was about eight or nine years old when I had my first cup of coffee and immediately spit it out, just too bitter for me. That experience prepared me for thirty years of drinking some of the worst coffee the Navy had to offer. I prefer a Caramel Macchiato or a White Chocolate Mocha now. Dan Whittle

My first memory of coffee is awful. It was the instant coffee that my mom used to drink. The first great memory I have with coffee is when I started at Starbucks and tried Ethiopia Sidamo. I also love Anniversary Blend because it reminds me what we stand for as a company, and I look forward for it every single year. Rick Jones, a Starbucks barista for 12 years

I came from a Swedish family. To ask me my first remembrance of coffee is to ask me if I remember the first light out of the womb. Coffee means, "wake up" "glad to see you again" first date jitters in a public spot – a lot of human interactions that are the essence of coffee. Elice Swanson

My first memory of coffee was when I got a job, in high school, with Starbucks. We use to scoop the beans for customers and I remember that first week I would scoop the coffee and the smell and see the oils on it and put it the bag, I just loved it. Working in the store and smelling the coffee, especially on a rainy day, felt so comforting and warm. Gayle Munns, a Starbucks district manager

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