Valley aids quest to fill up cup

first_imgNEWHALL – Winter walked into the Starbucks store on San Fernando Road and Carl Court on Saturday afternoon in search of a sample of the day’s brew – and on his way to becoming a legend. Winter – who says that’s his entire legal name – has a goal to visit every company-owned Starbucks in the world. Asked by a cheerful server why he is on his quest, Winter answered, “No good reason,” as she handed him a short cup. “It’s Christmas Blend,” she told him. “What a surprise,” he said. “Please fill it to the top.” He’s been on his Starbucks quest for a decade, driving a road-weary 1997 Honda Civic with 246,000 miles on it – 168,000 of them used up in search of coffee. Sometimes, he admits, he rents a vehicle to get to a store, especially if it’s in a far-flung region. He travels relatively light, plugging in a battery charger, his cell phone and laptop in the store while he sips his coffee. A computer programmer by trade, he uses the Internet for a good portion of his journey – from getting directions and mileage estimates to finding a decent bagel near a target store. Along the way, he also photographs each store. He posts his photos at, along with a blog of his cupside observations. A map of North America sports a series of blue and yellow dots – blue are stores that are open but not yet visited; yellow are stores that have been announced but are not yet open. He has spent more than $30,000 of his own money on the venture, counting gas and airfare (a small amount of that is for coffee, since he usually gets his sample free). So far, his place in the annals of coffee is secure, and he’s already been included in books on strange and unusual quests alongside Virginia resident Peter Holden, who has visited 12,000 McDonald’s restaurants. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Wearing a black T-shirt with “Starbucks” embroidered in white across the chest, Winter asks for a 4-ounce sample of the day’s coffee at each store. This sample was No.6,286. If Starbucks stopped opening stores today, Winter would only have about 1,000 cups to go. But the corporation’s goal of having 40,000 locations worldwide means he’s got a lot of drinking ahead of him. “We’re flattered by his enthusiasm for the Starbucks experience and wish him well in his endeavors,” Starbucks spokeswoman Sanja Gould said. After finishing the short shot of caffeine, Winter pored over a map of Southern California, plotting the rest of the weekend’s journey. He planned to visit 15 more stores by day’s end and 28 before this morning. The 34-year-old Houston native arrived in Santa Clarita Saturday after completing a consulting job up north. last_img

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