Starbucks year in pictures: A look back at 2023

A collage of images, from left to right; two people hugging in cap and gown after graudating from ASU, a close up shot of coffee cherries on a coffee tree, three people at a volunteer event, a barista behidn the counter with dark hair, and a close up shot of someone pouring coffee in a clear Starbucks cup

From getting a new chief executive officer, to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, to unveiling new coffee varietals and so much more, our photographers were there.

At Starbucks, 2023 was a year to celebrate the new, and honor the foundations that made it possible. We welcomed Laxman Narasimhan as our new chief executive officer, updated our values and mission statement and unveiled exciting innovations like our China coffee park and breakthrough work on coffee varietals by our research and development team in Costa Rica.  

Our store partners (employees) continued to nurture and inspire the human spirit through their daily interactions and their involvement in their communities. We marked the 20th anniversary of the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte, and relaunched our Origin Experience program in the U.S., through which thousands of partners have now visited coffee farms around the world.  

Our annual Year in Pictures, created by our team of visual storytellers, highlights the people who are the heart and soul of our company, captures some of our favorite moments from the year, and reminds us of who we are and what we can be.

Our partners, the heart of Starbucks 

Our partners bring Starbucks to life and create magic for customers every day in our stores. (Photos by Connor Surdi and Joshua Trujillo)

Return of Starbucks Origin Experiences 

Origin Experience trips returned this year, and almost 900 partners took trips to Costa Rica, Indonesia and Rwanda. The goal? To immerse in the story of coffee on the farms where it’s grown. The partners who went represented a variety of roles and perspectives, from baristas and manufacturing to support centers and operations. They met farmers, agronomists, exporters and buyers; planted coffee seedlings and harvested coffee cherries; and saw how coffee is grown and processed. (Photos by Joshua Trujillo)

Starbucks gets new ceo – and co-creates new mission, promises and values 

In March 2023, Laxman Narasimhan took over the reins as Starbucks ceo following a unique six-month immersion unlike any other in Starbucks history. As Laks charts a new course for the company during an unprecedented time, he unveiled a new mission that serves as an homage to Starbucks past, while evolving toward a new future. The mission is simple: “With every cup, with every conversation, with every community – we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection.” 

Partners gathered in sessions to discuss the new mission and how it will apply to their work. This year, Narasimhan also shared the new partner promises and values that were shared in sessions with partners this summer and fall. (Photos by Joshua Trujillo, Connor Surdi and Taylor Kelliher)

12,000th graduate from Starbucks College Achievement Plan 

More than 12,000 partners have received first-time bachelor's degrees through this innovative benefit, which provides 100 percent tuition coverage at Arizona State University. The latest SCAP class, graduating in December, was our largest yet, and is part of our partner promise to help build a bridge to a better future. (Photos by Sam Veatch and Taylor Kelliher)

Beauty in coffee 

We’re proud to celebrate the coffee and craft at the core of our company, from the 10,000 partners who earned the coveted Coffee Master Black Apron this year, signifying their deep knowledge and passion for coffee, to the first Starbucks Global Coffee Week, to the launch of new coffees like Starbucks Reserve Roastery Microblends and Green Apron Blend, which was crowdsourced from partner ideas. (Photos by Connor Surdi)

Pumpkin Spice Latte turns 20

Twenty years ago, Peter Dukes and his team created Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, a beverage that sparked a movement and a multitude of dedicated fans. PSLs are now available in 79 markets around the world. The PSL – and Dukes – are so famous that his face is even painted on a mural in Burlington, Washington. “Nobody knew at the beginning what it would grow to be,” said Dukes, who still works for Starbucks, on the market strategy team within store development. “20 years later, it’s taken on a life of its own.” (Photo by Connor Surdi)

Special guests behind the bar 

Over the years, a number of celebrities have stopped by Starbucks, stepped behind the bar to make beverages – and surprised and delighted customers. This year, renowned musician Ed Sheeran visited a Starbucks store in Seattle before a concert. And Seattle Mariners players, including J.P. Crawford and Ty France, helped launch a new partnership with Starbucks. (Photos by Mark Surridge and Connor Surdi)

Hot Java Cool Jazz 

Since its inception in 1995, Starbucks Hot Java Cool Jazz has raised more than $1 million for local high school jazz programs, bringing together high-school musicians in a non-competitive format at a premier venue. One hundred percent of the event ticket sales go back to participating schools. The musicians below, captured in Polaroid portraits, were among those who performed at this year’s event at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, celebrating the power of live music. (Polaroid photos by Connor Surdi)

Barista Champions 

Starbucks celebrated our global barista champions around the world. The events honor our Green Apron partners, and all the ways they exemplify our foundational ideals of community, connection and craft. This year, our ceo, Laxman Narasimhan, also announced that barista championships would be happening in North America in 2024. (Photos by John Brecher, Nicholas Matthews and Starbucks Asia Pacific)

Serving our communities 

Starbucks partners showed up for their communities, whether it was making bricks in Rwanda, cleaning up beaches in Peru, working with women coffee farmers in Costa Rica or teaching customers sign language in China. Other service projects took place on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington state, for military families near Washington D.C. and in other areas. Our partner networks really leaned in, going “ALL IN” on 23 projects around the U.S. that addressed food scarcity, health and education. (Photos by Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks China, Starbucks EMEA, William Rios Ramos)

Behind the beans, Starbucks production plants

Coffee is core to who we are, but we don’t often think of the incredible journey it goes on before it reaches our cups. Our global network of manufacturing, processing and distribution plants are a critical stop between the farms and our stores – where millions of pounds of green coffee beans are received, sorted, blended, roasted, packaged and sent out around the world. (Photos by Connor Surdi)

Starbucks China Coffee Innovation Park 

The new China Coffee Innovation Park, which opened in Sept. 2023 in Kunshan, about an hour from Shanghai, features a roasting plant, a state-of-the-art integrated distribution center, and an immersive experience center. It imports high quality Arabica green beans for roasting, packaging, storage, and distribution, while showcasing the ‘bean-to-cup’ coffee journey to visitors and providing coffee related training – all in one location. The facility also holds the distinction of being Starbucks most energy efficient and sustainable coffee manufacturing and distribution center in the world. (Photo by Starbucks China)

Full circle 

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz returned to Italy, where his original vision for Starbucks was born, and found a new inspiration: olive oil farms. It led to Oleato, one of Starbucks most unique coffee experiences. It was launched in February and now the beverages are available in select stores across the United States and in markets around the world. (Photo by Connor Surdi)

Varietals work, ensuring the future of coffee 

During Starbucks first Global Coffee Week this fall, we announced the development of six new coffee varietals that have the elusive combination of climate change resistance, high yield and good taste. We believe in ensuring a sustainable future of coffee for all, and these new varietals, developed by our research and development team at the Starbucks farm in Costa Rica, are being given away for free to coffee farmers around the world. (Photos by Joshua Trujillo, Carlos Mario Rodriguez, Becca Turner)

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Starbucks 2020: The year in pictures