'Starbucks guy' spent 22 years hitting more than 15,200 locations around the world
TORONTO -- For the last 22 years, a man, who only goes by Winter, has pursued the goal of visiting every single Starbucks location in the world. His tally so far is 15,218 coffee shops in 55 countries.
And forget the caramel macchiato with 10 pumps of white mocha and 9 shots of whole milk in a trenta cup. Winter generally just asks for a simple 4 oz sample of drip coffee, which he said he has gotten for free at about 90 per cent of the locations worldwide.
His goal began as a “random idea” to do something different, but is now a part of his “global identity.” It has allowed him to make connections around the world and have experiences he would not have otherwise had as a computer programmer, he said.
"I’ve had great experiences in Tahrir, Egypt. I’ve gotten tear-gassed in Turkey, romantic liaisons in Hong Kong. This project has taken me to places I could never have dreamed of going as a child," he told CTV’s News Channel, adding that he loves the challenge of trying to keep up with the coffee chain’s continued growth.
With 31,256 stores around the world as of September 29, 2019, Winter knows reaching his goal will likely be impossible. But he doesn’t mind.
"Starbucking is not about Starbucks, it’s not about reaching the goal. It’s 100 per cent about the destination, the experiences, the friendships that I’ve made along the way."
Some of his favourite locations include the newly opened Starbucks Reserve Roastery in downtown Chicago. At 35,000 square feet of coffee brewing spread over five floors, it is the company’s largest location in the world.
He also has a particular fondness for Canada because of his goal.
"I have spent so much time in Canada over the last 20 years because of my Starbucks project and I truly love it up there," Winter said.
He has occasionally considered giving up, but has always found the energy to keep going.
"I have this global identity as the Starbucks Guy now and honestly it’s hard to give that up anymore than LeBron could give up his title as the greatest basketball player in the world."