Continuing The Year That Was, our year-end retrospective of food news.
Wow, were there ever a ton of Starbucks items this year, starting with the news that McDonald's was entering the coffee business, challenging Starbucks in a big way. The rest of the year, we watched as the Seattle-based coffee chain attempted to answer that challenge and many more.
Starbucks, whose stock declined over much of the year, brought back founder Howard Schultz as CEO, eliminated jobs, got rid of its breakfast sandwiches but then brought them back, started grinding beans fresh in-house, bought the Clover Equipment company, released a new milder brew but then brought back its old bitter "burnt-tasting" blend, redesigned its cups and then scrapped the redesign, started a social-networking site to grab your ideas, inspired a blog written by an anonymous S'bux barista, introduced a fruit smoothie option, closed 600 stores (including one of the two branches under Stephen Colbert's desk), closed most of its Australian stores, debuted a line of healthier breakfasts (including oatmeal, Serious Eater Erin Zimmer's favorite breakfast), created new piadini sandwiches, and came out with a Gold Card that offered discounts to Starbucksaholics.
Starbucks Coverage Backstory
I sort of feel like I'm stepping on Erin Zimmer's toes with this particular wrap-up. By some weird coincidence, Erin seemed to be writing Starbucks post after Starbucks post. So much so that at one point we dubbed her our "Serious Eats Starbucks correspondent." Thereafter, we half-jokingly made it unofficial policy to have her cover any S'bux news that came across the wires. (Sorry, Erin!) I would have asked her to do this wrap, but I didn't want to drive her over the edge.