Most average Joes enjoy the occasional cup of joe at Starbucks. But 42-year-old Winter, a computer programmer from Houston, Texas, is no average Joe: He loves Starbucks coffee so much that in 1997, he pledged to visit every single branch of the Seattle-born coffee giant on Earth.
Of course, the chain had a mere 1,500 branches back then; at last count, Starbucks had 20,891 branches in total, with the company boasting more than 5,500 coffeehouses in at least 50 countries. So far, Winter has managed to visit 11,676 Starbucks cafes, including 2,471 international stores in Chile, Australia, Kuwait, the Bahamas, Spain, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Switzerland, to name a few of the 36 countries where he's paid coffee homage. And at each stop, he has to drink at least one cup to qualify as a visit.
"I do not expect to ever complete the project", Winter -- who has spent more than $168,000 on Starbucks -- told the Daily Mail, "as I have every reason to think that Starbucks will outlive me".
And if you ask comedian Lewis Black, the universe will surely end before Winter ever gets close, given the existence of a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks.
Presumably always buzzed, Winter plans to press on with his mission. But as he told Thrillist, it's more about the places, and less about the Pike Place, so to speak.
"While my Starbucking project has value to me in and of itself, a large part of my motivation is to continue to travel the world, to visit new places and favorite places", he said.
Check out the full list of stores Winter's visited here -- from the conventional to the downright strange; of the world's weirdest Starbucks locations, Winter has visited one inside a bank vault in Amsterdam and another housed inside a shipping container in Tukwila, Washington.