Starbucks – Keeping it Local Around the World

Starbucks Coffee Warisan Plaza

As we coffee addicts know: you can get attached to your favorite drink and favorite coffee shop. Luckily for Starbucks lovers, the company has grown into the largest coffeehouse company in the world with roughly 18,000 stores worldwide and is currently located in over 62 countries with plans for greater expansion.

You can travel and never be far from your daily Caramel Frappucino.  While the company still maintains its Seattle roots, Starbucks is taking notes of regional customs and preferences.

Check out these unique locations and items not offered at your local Starbucks!


In 2012, Starbucks opened its first European concept store in Amsterdam. The store is located in a former bank building. The company hoped to lure natives with an inviting and unique space including regional antique furniture, murals from old bicycle saddles, and traditional blue and white Dutch tiles.

Starbucks cafes also received a makeover in Spain. The Madrid Starbucks located in the historic Palace Hotel. It is the first LEED®-certified store in Spain.

The café used antique furniture found at local markets and repurposed an old wooden bench for the countertops.

In France, Starbucks individualized its stores through design and small changes in café offerings. The Starbucks Louvre location now sports a sleek, wood coffee bar. The Boulevard des Capucines is home to an extravagant location with velvet chairs, chandeliers, and gilt-leaf ceiling.

If you are an espresso drinker, then you are in luck.

The most popular drink in France is espresso and the company has introduced two different espresso roasts in an attempt to please their French customers.

In the United Kingdom, Starbucks designed the Conduit St, London café with an eye for local items and environmental responsibility. Reclaimed and unique items such as the shelving from fallen Welsh oak trees and the frames from a demolished Victorian-era brewery give the café a distinctively local feel.

Starbucks also paid attention to local tastes as latte coffee is stronger in the UK.

If you are craving a quick caffeine fix, rest assured as UK has drive-thru locations.


Asia is the largest growing market for Starbucks. The company currently has over 700 stores across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Starbucks hopes to open over 100 new stores in Indonesia and the Philippines.

The immense growth in Asia has been the result of planning and understanding of the local culture and tastes resulting in some interesting drink and food options unavailable at other stores.

Starbucks, a coffee company, was able to expand rapidly in China, a historically tea drinking country. Many claim its success due to close attention to local tastes. Many items on the Chinese Starbucks menu are green tea based – including the coffee.

Unlike in the UK, which welcomes drive-thru service, Chinese cafes promote dine-in service.

Food items offered also cater to the local clientele. Patrons at Southern China locations can order dim sum at local stores.

Traditional mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival and zongzi during Dragon Boat Festival are offered at China locations.

Starbucks customers in Japan enjoy unique menu items like tiramisu-flavored coffee at the Tokyo airport.

You may purchase smaller sizes in Japan. Store design, like the one in designed by Kengo Kuma in Dazaifu, creates a unique coffee experience. The natural wooden latticework frames creates an ambiance of drinking coffee in a modern art museum.

Although Starbucks is one of the largest international chains, its efforts to localize and understand the local communities have resulted in some unique locations.

Make sure to visit one the next time you are in town!

– Starbucks – Keeping it Local Around the World

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