Why Is Starbucks so Popular? Roasting, Marketing, and More

Starbucks is officially the largest coffee chain in the world – but how exactly did it get so popular? Here, you can discover the keys to Starbucks’ success and everything else in between. You’ll surely find it useful whether you’re a coffee shop owner or a coffeeholic.

As of today, Starbucks is worth $52.83 billion (GOBankingRates). It has more than 32,000 stores and 180,000 employees spread out across a staggering 80 different countries. Most impressively of all, Starbucks has grown year-by-year since its founding in 1971, which means its number of stores and employees is constantly growing.

Naturally, this raises the million-dollar question: why is Starbucks so popular?

This isn’t a question that can be answered in a single sentence. The truth is Starbucks is popular and successful for a huge variety of reasons. Remember, the brand has been active since 1971 – and it didn’t become a success overnight.

In this guide, you can read in detail why Starbucks is the most popular coffee chain around. By the end, it’ll all make sense.

1. High-Quality Green Coffee Beans

People always talk about the fact that Starbucks coffee tastes insanely good. This isn’t by accident: it’s the result of decades of hard work behind the scenes. Specifically, it’s to do with the green coffee beans that Starbucks uses.

Green coffee beans are the raw seeds that you fund in coffee cherries. No coffee beans, no party. Without them, you can’t make coffee: it’s that simple!

The amazing flavor of Starbucks coffee lies within these green coffee beans. However, Starbucks puts its green coffee beans through a rigorous roasting process to truly draw out the taste and flavor that people love. The roasting takes place at 1 of 5 roasting plants before being distributed to centers where the coffee beans are ground and packed into consumer packages. This is the Starbucks supply chain, and it works extremely well.

As a result, Starbucks can offer coffees that are classified by 3 different roast profiles:

  • Blonde roasts (light, mellow, and gentle)
  • Medium roasts (smooth and perfectly balanced)
  • Dark roasts (full-bodied, strong, and more intense)

When it comes to sourcing green coffee beans, every coffee chain is different. Most of them source from green coffee importers to get the amount of coffee beans they need. From there, the beans can then be roasted and prepared for the consumers.

If you’re the owner of a coffee shop, it’s incredibly important to source high-quality coffee beans. Starbucks gets its coffee beans primarily from Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa. They source a wide variety of green coffee beans so that they can ultimately provide unique coffee flavors to all of their consumers.

Regarding all of this, Starbucks states that:

“Each coffee is roasted to a unique taste profile to highlight these inherent flavor characteristics: that is why roasting is a true craft.”

Truer words have never been spoken!

2. The Holy Trinity: Vanilla Latte, Iced White Chocolate Mocha, and Pumpkin Spice Latte

In recent years, Starbucks’s popularity has reached even greater heights thanks to these 3 specific drinks:

Each week, around 60 million visit Starbucks stores around the world. A large percentage of these people will order one (or multiple) of the above-mentioned drinks. This is mainly because they taste great – but it’s also about the ‘hype’ factor. Consumers love to replicate what others are doing, and everyone knows that the vanilla latte, iced white chocolate mocha, and pumpkin spice latte are the biggest (and best) drinks Starbucks offers.

3. Vibe and Ambience

Have you ever been inside a Starbucks before? Of course, you have!

Aside from the coffee itself, you’ll also have gone to Starbucks to experience its vibe and ambiance. Unlike most other coffee shops (where people want to buy their coffee and get out), Starbucks is incredibly welcoming. It almost feels like you’re part of an exclusive and popular club. Some people are sitting doing work on their MacBooks, while others are relaxing on comfortable chairs with their friends or colleagues having nice conversations. It’s what Starbucks is all about!

Not to mention, Starbucks also goes to great effort with its interior design, lighting, and music choices. No other coffee chain around can compete with them in these departments, which is another reason why the brand is so popular.

4. Rewards Program

If you’re a Starbucks fan, you’ll know that Starbucks has a rewards program. To gain access to the program, all people have to do is:

  • Download the app
  • Make an account
  • Choose their preferred payment method
  • Scan the app whenever they purchase something in order to collect stars (every $1 spent = 3 stars), 
  • Receive rewards when a certain number of stars is reached

For example, if you collect 150 stars, you can get a free drink. Then, if you collect 450 stars, you’ve reached gold level, which means you can get extra shots of espresso, whipped cream, and more – all on the house! Also, if you’re a gold member, you can get a free drink whenever it’s your birthday, which is another excellent reward that Starbucks gives its loyal consumers.

5. Amazing Marketing

Starbucks has an amazing marketing team behind the scenes. This marketing team has established Starbucks as a social media powerhouse. Whenever Starbucks tweets or makes an announcement, it gets much attention and engagement.

Ultimately, the modern consumer wants this: especially from big coffee brands like Starbucks. After all, it shows that they care and want to interact with their consumers, which is something that some big brands fail to do – especially in the coffee world.


It seems highly likely that Starbucks will continue to dominate for decades to come. With its amazing range of drinks and top-level marketing, other coffee chains are faced with the task of trying to knock Starbucks off the top of the mountain – and it just isn’t going to happen! There’s a lot to learn from Starbucks, especially if you’re a coffee shop looking to grow, so remember all the factors you’ve just read about. 



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When I'm not volunteering my time at a local nonprofit, I write about family. Running a household isn't easy, but I'll do my best to share my insights!

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