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Starbucks is a large multinational chain of gourmet coffee shops, often serving desserts and serving as a center for socializing and intellectual discussion, particularly among students and young urban professionals[?].

The first Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington in 1971. At IPO in 1992, there were 165 stores. Starbucks increased its number of stores by 150 in one day with the purchase of Seattle's Best Coffee[?] and Torrefazione Italia[?] from AFC Enterprises[?] in April 2003. As of May 2003, there were more than 6,400 locations. This rapid proliferation of outlets has been the subject of much comment and occasional parody, for instance in the Austin Powers films, The Simpsons, and South Park. Starbucks' success has not always been replicated around the world, though--it has found the going tough in areas where coffee shops and restaurants already serve a variety of high-quality coffees.

Starbucks serves a huge variety of coffee-based drinks, featuring a variety of flavourings.

Starbucks offers 'fair trade coffee', where the customer has the opportunity to buy coffee that does not exploit poor countries.

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