Starbucks Coffee Company Starbucks began in 1971 as a roaster and merchant of complete bean and floor espresso, tea and spices. In the past, the company was an individual store in Seattle's ancient Pike Place Market. From simply a thin storefront, Starbucks offered some of the world's finest fresh-roasted whole bean coffees. ("Starbucks Espresso Company") Starbucks is named after the first partner in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The name evoked the relationship of the high seas and the seafaring traditions of the first coffee dealers. The logo design is also encouraged by the sea, featuring a twintailed siren from Greek mythology. ("Starbucks Coffee Company") In 1981, Starbucks chairman, leader and chief executive officer, Howard Schultz, was attracted into Starbucks from his first glass of Sumatra, and signed up with Starbucks a yr later.