Learning about America from Starbucks | KCUR

Learning about America from Starbucks

For the last 15 years Starbucks has been giving middle-class Americans exactly what they thought they wanted... and it isn't the coffee.

Kansas City, MO –

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Brian Ellison talks with Temple University historian Bryant Simon about his book Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks. We take a look at how the company created a product that allowed consumers to portray themselves as they wanted to be seen, and why overpriced coffee became an affordable form of status making.

We also examine why at the moment of Starbucks' profit-generating peak the company took a financial nose dive, and look at how "Starbucks' explosive success and rapid deflation exemplify American culture at this historical moment."

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Learn more about Everything but the Coffee

Bryant Simon is professor of history and the Director of American Studies at Temple University. He is the author of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America. His most recent book, Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks, looks at what our latte choices tell us about our daily desires and dreams. This research took him to more than 450 Starbucks in 10 countries.