Starbucks

Korean artist opens a new door to the way we look at Starbucks’ paper cups

To some hardcore coffee fanatics, Starbucks may not serve the best coffee in the world, but they are definitely the most internationally popular coffee brand known to us. Starbucks fans around the world are not just in love with the coffeehouse chain’s signature blends, many of them like the brand as a whole entity, and some artistic individuals have even been inspired to create handicrafts and pieces of art with the brand’s packaging items.

Think you know the brand’s iconic logo well enough? Korean artist Soo Min Kim shows us faces of the infamous siren that we’ve never seen before in his creative renditions of Starbucks cup art!

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Honey, granola and soy — a match made in Starbucks Roppongi!

We’ve all grown to expect seriously enticing beverage offerings from Starbucks by now, haven’t we? Some of them even had customers forming long lines and selling out by noon, like the fresh banana Frappuccinos that they sold for a limited time earlier this year.

Well, according to buzz on the Japanese Internet, it seems Starbucks has done it again with another sweet-sounding Frappuccino, this one combining two already very popular ingredients: granola and honey. But this time, the tempting drink is only available in one area of Tokyo, the Roppongi Hills complex, which meant only one thing — we had to head off to Roppongi and try their new creation ourselves!

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Lifehack: Transform a Starbucks paper bag into a fully functional wallet!

When I was a high school student, I used to find it both ironic and a little bit silly that some of my schoolmates would spend close to a hundred dollars on a wallet, but when you took a peek inside said cash keepers, they would have at most 10 dollars in them. I mean, I could have 50 dollars in my pocket and that would make me richer than them even though they had a snazzy wallet that was the latest trend in town. I never believed in buying things for the sake of trends or status.

If you’re a student who only has 10 dollars to your name, here’s what you should do instead of splurging on a branded or “in-trend” wallet. Buy yourself a drink at Starbucks, to go, get your hands on one of their paper bags, and use that paper bag to make your very own, surprisingly awesome wallet. Instructions after the break!

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Starbucks Geisha coffee is expensive, elegant, has no connection to traditional entertainers

When I walk into Starbucks and order a drink, I accept that I’m paying for more than just a beverage. Embedded in the price are the costs and economic premiums of a central location, comfy couches, and a relaxing atmosphere, and as a consumer, I’m generally satisfied with what I get for my money.

Still, every now and again the chain rolls out some new type of coffee that seems exorbitantly expensive, and this month’s new addition is a doozy, at 1,850 yen (US$18.30) for a single cup! But hold on, it’s called Geisha coffee? Well in that case, it sounds like a bargain! Time with Japan’s traditional entertainers usually isn’t anywhere near that cheap.

Actually, we’ve got some bad news for hardcore Japanophiles, but it’s also good news for coffee lovers. Geisha refers to the type of beans used, which are some of the rarest in the world.

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With autumn nearly here, we skip the beach and head to Starbucks for new caramel beverages

With the calendar now flipped to September, we’ve got to sadly admit that summer is winding down. Japanese society is always in tune with the changing of the seasons, and as autumn starts you’ll see fashionable Tokyoites sporting their fall coats, nature lovers heading for the mountains to appreciate the changing leaves, and Starbucks rolling out seasonal drinks like its new Caramel and Pudding Frappuccino and Shaken Caramel Custard and Espresso.

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Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

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Japan is going bananas over … bananas! We try new banana drinks from Starbucks and McDonald’s

When we first heard about the new banana-based Frappuccinos from Starbucks, we had a sneaky feeling that they just might be a big hit. Bananas have always been a popular fruit in Japan, after all, and the description of the two new Frappuccinos made them sound seriously mouthwatering.

Now that they’ve been on sale for over 10 days, it seems the banana Frappuccinos have been successful beyond everyone’s expectations, and with McDonald’s also having come out with original banana beverages as well, bananas appear to be the sizzling hot ingredient in the world of Japanese cafes at the moment. So, of course we had to look into what everyone was going bananas about!

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Starbucks Japan releases yet another drool-worthy Frappuccino flavor for summer

Starbucks Japan does it again with another seasonal item: the Crunchy Cookie Frappuccino. It’s like milk and cookies in a cup, but it’ll also keep you cool this summer. With a vanilla base, chocolate chunk cookie clusters, and even almonds, it sounds like it’ll be another tempting option on their menu…with an entire cookie crumbled up and blended in!

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Is this new coffeehouse in Tottori Prefecture out to screw Starbucks?

Out of the 47 total prefectures in Japan, Tottori is the only one left without a Starbucks. Total Starbucks domination may seem imminent with plans in the works to open the first shop by spring 2015. However, a new coffee chain opened in Tottori on April 4, and word on the street is that it seeks to rival the international coffee giant. Even its name is a linguistic play on the word “Starbucks.” Do you think this new local business can put a damper on Starbucks’ eventual expansion?

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New Starbucks Frappuccinos look and sound so good they drive us nuts even before going on sale!

Sweet heavens, someone help us because we’re squirming half in delight and half in agony after seeing the newest press release from Starbucks Japan. Half in delight, because we’ve been given a glimpse of the divine-looking new Frappuccinos that will be coming out later this month, and half in agony because we can’t have them RIGHT NOW!

And unless you have a deadly hatred of sweets, we think you just may feel the same way after hearing the description of the two new banana and chocolate based Frappuccinos that were announced earlier this week. Yup, chocolate and banana — you really can’t go wrong with that combination!

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Six sensational Starbucks for sakura spectators

With the earliest varieties of cherry blossoms already starting to bloom around Tokyo, it’s almost time for sakura season to get into full swing! It’s Japan’s most enticing time to get out of the house and enjoy the beauty of nature! There’s just one little problem, though.

It’s still pretty cold out.

So if you’re torn between feeling immersed in Japanese culture and feeling anything in your toes, here are six Starbuck’s locations where you can relax with a warm cup of coffee while gazing at the cherry blossoms just outside the windows.

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Limited edition ANA Starbucks bottles are available over Japan, but not in it

Just like it does in other markets, Starbucks offers special limited edition merchandise for specific locations in Japan. But even if you’ve already got special tumblers from Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, you collection won’t be entirely complete without this special Starbucks bottle that you can only purchase onboard ANA flights inside or connecting to Japan.

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Japanese netizens praise Starbucks’ move to promote 800 temp workers

With just over 1,000 stores covering practically every prefecture, Starbucks is a coffee powerhouse in Japan. Since opening its first store in Tokyo in 1996, the company has managed to adapt its business model to suit Japanese tastes with seasonal flavors, expanded (alcoholic) menu options and utilizing Japan’s unique architecture. Last week, Starbucks went one step further in its Japanese expansion plan by announcing that it would promote 800 temp workers to full-time positions, which netizens applauded as a move to create pressure on the Japanese market to provide better benefits to workers.

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Starbucks Japan’s sakura drinks: One more reason we’re ready for winter to be over

Is it spring yet? I know my southern Californian upbringing means I whine whenever the temperature is cold enough that I have to put on a jacket to go out, but I could seriously do with some warmer weather right about now. There’s all sorts of things to look forward to in the coming season, such as longer days, being able to spend more time outdoors, and the blooming of the sakura, or cherry blossoms.

And just in case the deal needs any more sweetening, there’s also Starbucks’ springtime sakura beverage lineup.

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Mr. Sato takes a stroll in his USB Pollen Blocker: “Felt great but it was a struggle to order coffee”

A few days ago we brought word of a revolutionary hay fever remedy from the folks at Thanko. Harnessing the mighty power of nylon and universal serial bus ports, the USB Pollen Blocker may be our savior for this impending allergy season in Japan.

To be sure, we picked one up in Akihabara and gave it to our resident ace-reporting guinea-pig Mr. Sato for a road test. Did it cure him of his seasonal sniffles or did it simply make him look like an demented bee-keeper on the streets of Tokyo? The following is his report.

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The “doya-gao” phenomenon and where you’re most likely to see it

A calm atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and decent coffee – what’s not to love about Starbucks (unless you’re a staunch New Englander who swears by Dunkin’)? If you walk into any branch, you will see a line of people waiting to grab their favorite caffeinated pick-me-up. You’re also likely see a bunch of people hunched over their laptops typing away furiously, either by themselves or huddled together in groups. The laptop of choice to go with their steaming mug of coffee? From what we’ve seen, it seems to be a MacBook Air.

Have you ever watched people when they’re silently working on a computer, wondered what they’re up to, and then all of a sudden a smug little grin inexplicably breaks across their face? This self-satisfied look is known as a doya-gao in Japanese. One of our Japanese reporters, who is a frequent patron of Starbucks, recently began to notice a correlation between the frequency of people using MacBook Airs in Starbucks and those wearing a doya-gao expression. Intrigued, she started taking notes, and discovered that there are three branches of Starbucks in Tokyo where the doya-gao phenomenon is particularly common…

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Starbucks close to total Japan domination

Tottori Prefecture, the final frontier. It may sound strange, but when it comes to Starbucks, Tottori is uncharted territory and the only prefecture in all of Japan without a Starbucks location. That will all change soon as the coffee giant plans to open a new store somewhere within the small prefecture’s borders by March 2015.

With the largest population of elderly folks in all of Japan, it might seem natural that Tottori went without a Starbucks for so long. However, you might be surprised to find that there are places in Tokyo that have yet to see the familiar green and white mermaid.

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We purchase a Starbucks Lucky Bag, makes us look at the big picture

A New Year’s Tradition in Japan is the fukubukuro (lucky bag) sold in most businesses in the country. Basically it’s a bag full of merchandise sold at a fixed price, but the catch is you don’t know what’s inside. For example, last your our reporter waited eight days to get an Apple fukurobuko only to get some measly accessories, while the guy in line behind him scored a MacBook Air (don’t worry the story had a happy ending, and this year turned out a lot better).

This year our food reporter Kuzo got a Starbucks lucky bag in hopes of some high quality coffee and related gear. Did fortune smile on him? Let’s find out.

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Forget coffee, this Tokyo Starbucks now sells booze!

Normally known for a spot to get a sugar-fueled caffeine fix, Starbucks recently opened a new outlet in Tokyo that is serving alcohol. The new coffee shop is part of a concept line of cafés the company is establishing in Japan to offer customers something a little different from the usual Starbucks experience. In addition to serving upscale coffee drinks and homemade desserts, this shop will be selling wine and beer after noon in the fashionable Shimokitazawa neighborhood.

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Bangkok brothers get banged with a Starbucks lawsuit

Starbucks has a policy of seamlessly blending their coffee outlets into remote tourist locations around the world. So when two brothers in Bangkok set up their street-side coffee cart business under a familiar looking green logo, Starbucks was quick to assert that this was not one of their operations.

Damrong and Damras Maslae are now in hot water as the global coffee franchise is coming down hard and suing them for copyright infringement.

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