Starbucks 2022 Photos of the Year

Collage of baristas, volunteers, hands picking coffee cherries and coffee dispensing into a cup

At Starbucks, 2022 was a year where we listened, learned, took stock, dreamed about what's possible and took action, even in a constantly changing environment around the globe. For some people, 2022 brought back a sense of normality. For others, the pandemic continues to cause grief and test resilience in unexpected ways. But no matter what, one thing that hasn't changed is our need for human connection. As we lean into reinventing our company for the future to better serve partners (employees) and customers, we are focused on finding innovative ways to nurture and inspire the human spirit.

Our annual year in pictures, created by our team of visual storytellers, highlights the true heart and soul of our company — our partners — as they continue to keep our company grounded in a time of change, both inside and outside our walls.

Through these images, we are reminded of who we are, what's possible, and what we hope to be in the new year.

Partners and quality coffee at the core

Our retail partners are constantly involved behind the scenes in the co-creation of new solutions to help all partners do their jobs more smoothly. Earlier this year, we launched a massive reinvention of the company, with a focus on improving partner experiences. Some of the immediate changes included improved technology in stores, providing additional training time and bringing back the beloved Coffee Master program. Our partners demonstrate every day that the Third Place Experience isn't just about a physical location — it's a feeling that starts and ends with our partners, with quality coffee at the core.

Photos by Joshua Trujillo and Connor Surdi

""

Serving our communities, creating impact

After months of lockdown, social-distancing and ever-changing restrictions, Starbucks partners around the world ventured beyond their stores and gave back to their local communities. During this year's Global Month of Good, thousands volunteered at events around the country. From nominating nonprofits for Neighborhood Grants and restoring parks in Queens, New York to setting up backpack drives in Tacoma, Washington and coordinating coffee donations to firefighters in Fountain, Colorado — our partners leaned in on a daily basis. They are a true reflection of the company's commitment to social responsibility and sustainability.

Photos by Connor Surdi, Joshua Trujillo and Parker Seibold

""

Grounded in coffee culture

This year, Starbucks worked to bring more focus back to coffee and the culture that we have built over the last half century. While most people are familiar with what we call the final 10 feet of the bean-to-cup journey in our stores, they are less familiar with our partners who work at the first 10 feet on coffee farms around the world. Farmers, roasters, baristas and partners in our "cupping room" who taste-test coffee all play a critical role in creating the perfect cup of coffee. For that reason, we've prioritized and elevated coffee culture and education in our stores and throughout the company. In the fall, we announced the return of the Origin Experience, an experience that brings select partners who have completed the Coffee Masters training from across the country to Hacienda Alsacia, our farm in Costa Rica, to learn more about earliest stages in the lifecycle of a coffee bean.

Photos by Connor Surdi

""

Howard Schultz returns to Starbucks

In April, Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks as interim chief executive officer. He began his first morning back on the job with a stop at the original Pike Place Starbucks store in Seattle, followed by a family meeting with partners at the Starbucks Support Center. During a visit the following day to the roasting plant in Kent, Washington, he ran into Dave Seymour, the longest tenured Starbucks employee who also happened to start on the exact same day as Howard back in 1982.

Photos by Joshua Trujillo

""

Celebrating our diversity

We recognize the key role that Starbucks often plays as a safe and welcoming space in every community we serve. It's important for our partners who work in those places to also feel seen, heard and celebrated.

  • In North America, we honored and elevated the diversity of our partners through numerous initiatives, hosted monthly heritage events and held space for family meetings to discuss emotionally and timely topics.
  • Around the world, Starbucks also received recognition in Japan for promoting diversity and inclusion, opened our latest signing store in Indonesia and drove programs to support LGBTQIA+ in several Latin American markets.

As seen in the images below, Starbucks also introduced pronoun pins this year and empowered our partners in the Black Partner Network to coordinate local activities during Juneteenth, a federal and company holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.

Photos by Joshua Trujillo, Kyna Uwaeme and Starbucks Japan

""

Co-creating and reinventing the future of Starbucks

Immediately following Howard's return, Starbucks launched co-creation sessions where hundreds of partners in dozens of cities took part in imagining and co-creating the future of Starbucks. The featured images below show the circular seating and format of these talks, participants upvoting ideas they liked, and the camaraderie among our partners. The learnings from these sessions ultimately helped to inform the company's reinvention plan, which was announced in July and is being rolled out nationwide. Changes instituted so far include but are not limited to:

  • Launched credit/debit card tipping
  • Doubled new partner training hours
  • Expanded the family expansion benefit
  • Provided new savings benefits
  • Rolled out new ovens and Mastrena coffee machines for the stores
  • Instilled a $15 minimum hourly wage
  • Increased craft trainings in all stores

Photos by Joshua Trujillo

""

Responding to societal challenges

We often say that Starbucks partners are on the front lines witnessing history, and that our drive-thrus are a window into what's happening in America. Most of the time, that means we see incredible, inspiring moments — but sometimes it means providing support to communities experiencing trauma.

  • At our only store in Uvalde, Texas, store manager Nancy Martinez (below) and her team knew many of the families of the children and teachers killed in a school shooting in May. The care and love of those partners continues to ripple out into their grieving community.
  • Over the past year, we also expanded the Starbucks Outreach Worker Program into more cities. This unique partnership, launched in 2020, between Starbucks and nonprofits empowers retail partners to help address chronic societal issues like homelessness, mental health and substance use.
  • Around the world, we continued to see markets adjust to the rise and fall of COVID-19 cases in their local regions. Last summer, our partners in China at the Shanghai Roastery experienced an emotional store reopening as indoor seating finally resumed.

Photos by Connor Surdi and Starbucks China

""

District Manager+ Leadership Experience

In October, Starbucks held its first major internal partner conference since before the pandemic. Nearly 2,000 district managers and above convened over three days for training and professional development in Seattle. They also experienced a group tasting of Starbucks Green Apron Blend, a Blonde roast coffee with hints of Honeybell orange and graham crackers. Created by partners, for partners — a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the CUP Fund, a partner-funded program that helps partners in need (CUP stands for “Caring Unites Partners”).

Photos by Joshua Trujillo

""

Connecting with customers

While coffee will always be our core, connection is what sets the Starbucks Experience apart. Every day, we are witness to stories of how our baristas are bringing joy to their customers and to their communities through large and small gestures. In a world that is reeling from three years of pandemic-driven isolation and virtual meetings, people crave genuine connection more than ever. One of our favorite examples this year of what it means to meaningfully connection with a customer comes from our store in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood, where partner Kelsie and her team have developed a special bond with a long-time customer named Robert. Robert is DeafBlind, so the partners guide him through the store and communicate with him through tactile sign language and a braille text device.

Photo by Joshua Trujillo

""

Return of international Barista Championships

This year saw the return of in-person Starbucks barista championships in regions outside of North America, including Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. These competitions bring together leading barista talent from different markets. Over several days, partners showcase their craft and artistry through multiple rounds of complex coffee challenges, including espresso shot pulling, milk steaming, latte art and beverage innovation. They also shared their passion and knowledge of coffee through storytelling. In the picture below, regional champion Camila from Argentina took the prestigious crown of Starbucks Barista Champion for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) during a ceremony in Costa Rica.

Photos by Joshua Trujillo and Davide Verderame

""

Laxman Narasimhan named incoming ceo, begins Starbucks immersion

On Sept. 1, Laxman Narasimhan was named the incoming chief executive officer of Starbucks. Following an internal meeting with partners, he appeared publicly for the first time two weeks later in his new role at Starbucks Investor Day. He then hit the road to begin his Starbucks immersion — a deep dive into all aspects of the business alongside partners — from learning about coffee craft and in-store operations (including wearing the green apron to serve drive-thru customers) to seeing the mechanics of our supply chain operation and roasting plants. During an Origin Experience trip to the company's farm in Costa Rica, he also planted a coffee tree and saw firsthand the effort that goes into producing Starbucks coffee. He'll take over as ceo on April 1, 2023.

Photos by Taylor Kelliher and Joshua Trujillo

""

Empire State Building Reserve Store opens

On Nov. 16, our partners welcomed the public into the new Empire State Building Reserve store, offering hands-on coffee workshops, guided tasting flights and an extended artisan menu of new Princi food. The 23,000-square foot store spans three floors and is a living ode to ESB and the energy of New York City. Local music icon Alicia Keys made a special guest appearance for a lighting ceremony that turned the iconic building green.

Photos by Connor Surdi

""

The key Starbucks partners you don't see

Throughout the pandemic, partners in Starbucks Roasting plants, distribution centers, shipping and coffee quality teams continued to show up and work hard every single day. Often not seen by customers, their role is a key part of the business. As a company that purchases approximately 3 percent of the world’s coffee, sourced from more than 400,000 farmers in 30 markets, it takes a huge village to ensure massive quantities of coffee beans are processed and delivered to our partners and customers.

Photos by Joshua Trujillo

""

Global growth and new stores

This year, Starbucks continued to grow its global store footprint with more than 18,000 stores operated by 200,000 green apron partners in more than 80 markets, including our newest store in Laos. Globally, more than half of Starbucks stores are outside of North America and we continue to grow as we realize the future of the Starbucks brand around the world. Below are photos from our store opening in Cordoba, Spain and our store opening in Laos.

Photos by Starbucks EMEA and Starbucks Asia

""

Creating connection over coffee

As we look ahead to 2023, we foresee another year of uncertainty and angst. Yet looking back at these photos, we're also reminded of our strength and our resilience — especially when we come together. We are emerging from one of the toughest periods in recent memory for our global community. For our Starbucks community, we're fortunate that coffee endures and connects us all in a way few other rituals in life can or ever will.

Photos by Joshua Trujillo

thumbnail for Here’s a look at this year’s Starbucks holiday drinks and cups

Here’s a look at this year’s Starbucks holiday drinks and cups