This man has visited more than 15,000 Starbucks locations around the world - and he wants to see them all
- A man named Winter says he has visited at least 15,061 Starbucks locations across the world.
- He told Business Insider his personal mission is to drink coffee from every company-owned Starbucks store in the world. He hit his 15,000th store visit in Peru last month.
- There are currently about 30,000 Starbucks stores in the world. Winter plans to visit as many as he can, though he says that at this point, he doesn't much care for the coffee.
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America might run on Dunkin', but there's at least one man who runs on - and in pursuit of - Starbucks.
A Texan man named Winter says he has visited at least 15,061 Starbucks stores across the globe since 1997. His goal to hit as many of the company's 30,000 locations as possible is all part of a project he calls "Starbucks Everywhere."
"This project does get quite tedious," said the 47-year-old, who told Business Insider that his career as a contract computer programmer gives him the freedom to travel across the world for his hobby, which he calls "Starbucking." To make each visit "count," Winter usually orders a small sample size of coffee in each store, downs it, and then snaps a picture for his website.
To date, Winter has traversed four continents in search of Starbucks locations. Needless to say, that's a lot of coffee-drinking for someone who doesn't even like the taste of Starbucks - Winter said he's never even tried the company's famed Pumpkin Spice Latte. But despite his personal preference for independent coffee roasters, Winter powers through for the project.
"If I want to accomplish the goals of hitting future milestones, I got to go through the motions of following the rules of Starbucking," he said.
Winter's hobby started by chance in a Starbucks in Plano, Texas, 22 years ago, after he started speaking to some baristas about the coffee chain that seemed to be growing quickly. At the time, Winter recalled, there were close to 1,500 locations in the US.
"And then I immediately asked, 'I wonder if it would be possible to visit them all.'"
In the early days, Winter completed his quests by using phone books and speaking to baristas. Since then, he's developed a more advanced system to keep track of his visits, which involves recording trips with photos and assigning numbers to correspond to the stores.
His hunt has taken him to stores in South Korea, Japan, and Qatar and even nabbed him a backstage pass to meet rock band Vampire Weekend at Madison Square Garden, after one of the band members heard about his extreme hobby.
The habit has facilitated meaningful friendships for Winter all over the world and has nabbed him national media attention. But he says all of this was completely unplanned.
"I never anticipated that it would get to this level," Winter said, adding, "I'm just a boring computer programmer."