It can be hard to find the right words to convey the experience of 2021 – another year largely shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic that was full of peaks, valleys and just the day-to-day stresses of the unknown. Things we’d hoped would be normal again by now are still challenging.
But even within that, there were – and are – still so many beautiful moments when we truly see the humanity of the world and what happens when we come together.
Around the world, our partners (employees) once again stepped up for each other, their communities and their customers. They gave back, brought joy and worked hard, knowing that comfort can sometimes be found in a cup and that the ritual of a trip to Starbucks can provide even a little bit of normalcy in a world that can be so unpredictable.
For Starbucks, 2021 also marked our 50th anniversary. From our beginning back in 1971 as a small coffee, tea and spice shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market to today, we are looking forward to our next 50 – bringing people together over coffee, and helping create a better future for our planet and everyone on it.
While it can be hard to find the words to hold all that, sometimes photos can, so today we’re looking back at some of our favorite images from 2021. Reminding us of the powerful moments we have been able to share. And most importantly, inspiring all of us to keep going forward with hope and optimism for what is yet to come.
Honouring our diversity
Our stores are in neighbourhoods and towns around the world and our partners represent, support and celebrate those communities. We span a beautiful spectrum, and we honor our diversity. From Asian Heritage Month to Pride Month, Black History Month, Latinx Heritage Month, Disability Pride Month, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and more, we featured partners and their stories of identity, culture and tradition.
In 1971, a small coffee, tea and spice shop opened near Seattle’s Pike Place Market with a name out of Moby Dick and an alluring siren as a logo.
In 2021, while we celebrated our 50th anniversary, it was a great time to unbox some of the historic and archival items that had been gathered and stored at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle – spanning the history of the company.
We found original menus, bags of coffee and tea, our first-ever holiday cup, tokens for free coffee and even unopened bottles of Mazagran – a carbonated coffee beverage launched in 1994 that lasted only a brief time but developed a dedicated following.
Stepping up, helping out
Even in the midst of the pandemic, Starbucks partners didn’t sit idly by in 2021. As always, they were getting involved in community efforts around the globe. We introduced FoodShare across Canada, a national food rescue program, and donated over 500,000 meals to people in need. Starbucks partners and customers around the globe continued to show acts of resilience, kindness, courage, and joy during times of uncertainty.
Starbucks partners recognized need in their communities in 2021 and stepped in to help, doing everything from working at food banks, volunteering in the community, participating in annual causes, like Coldest Night of the Year, and providing coffee to front-line responders.
With grants from The Starbucks Foundation, our partners worked to bring clean, safe drinking water and handwashing stations to communities in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Expanding support for farmers and the planet
Coffee farmer Walquíria Peixoto Correa holds the coffee she saved for her own family after the conclusion of harvest on her family farm in Guaranésia, Brazil.
In 2021, Starbucks opened our first farmer support center in Brazil, our 10th globally, offering resources to farmers like Walquíria. Located in Varginha, Minas Gerais state, the new Farmer Support Center provides open-source agronomy and training on ethical sourcing practices to farmers, regardless of whether or not they sell to Starbucks.
Beauty in a beverage
As always, we are in love with coffee, including the way it comes to life in our cups.
A looping GIF shows milk cascading through a cup of Starbucks Cold Brew, photographed with a macro lens.
Love in a cup
As the curtains close on 2021, one thing is clear: The year was made so much better because of the people. Our partners and the wonderful customers that visit our stores all coming together to lift humanity and leave us all inspired. As we’ve always known, it truly is about so much more than coffee.