The History of Caribou Coffee (A Non-Evil Origin Story….)

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If you grew up under a rock, let me share some life-changing news with you: there is more to the coffee world than Starbucks.

For many people, the discovery of “other” coffee places is a money-saving and taste-bud-pleasing happenstance. If you’re really lucky, the discovery of other coffee places will include Caribou Coffee.

Caribou Coffee is the second-largest coffee chain in the United States so it’s highly likely that there is one nearby that you could stop in and try (there are 798 of them after all).

Not only are Caribou Coffee locations friendly and fun, but they make some really delicious coffees, teas, smoothies, and baked goods.

A History of Caribou Coffee

If you can’t guess by the name, the Caribou Coffee Company was inspired by the wildlife of North America. Caribou Coffee founder, John Puckett, and his wife, Kim, were inspired to start their own coffee company after a trip to Alaska and the amazing Denali National Park.

Whether they saw some wild caribou or just really wanted to I’m not sure but it was enough that the majestic animal became the name-sake for their soon-to-be-founded company.

In 1992, the first Caribou Coffee Company shop opened in Edina, Minnesota, one of the suburbs of Minneapolis, where John Puckett had originally planned to open the shop. Various issues with leasing and funding prevented the ideal location from being used, but the actual location wound up being a great fit.

Caribou Coffee was sold to a German company 20 years later, in 2012, for a sum of nearly $325 million. The buyout was unanimous with the Caribou Coffee board members. The Joh. A. Benckiser Group paid $16 per share when they purchased the company.

The Joh. A. Benckiser Group also bought out Peet’s Coffee and Tea in 2012, buying that company for about $1 billion.

Caribou Coffee continues to be headquartered in Minnesota and, even after almost 30 years, they are still growing and have expanded into 10 different countries.

But all of that is hardly important if you just want a dang cup of joe. So let’s talk about some more important things.

The Caribou Coffee Menu

The coffee company has continued to grow from that original coffee retailing company. They serve a variety of food and beverage choices including some of the following:

Everyone has a favorite. This is mine.
  • Coffee
  • Sparkling Teas
  • Iced Teas
  • Lattes
  • Mochas
  • Smoothies
  • Crafted Press Drinks
  • Hot Teas
  • Coolers
  • Hot Cocoa
  • Hot Cider
  • Bagels
  • Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Coffee Cake
  • Breads
  • Scones
  • Fritters
  • Muffins
  • Oatmeal
  • Cookies
  • Toasted Sandwiches

Of course, you can always purchase a bag of beans or coffee grounds to use at home if you’re so inclined.

Caribou Coffee Nutrition Information

Unlike some restaurants, Caribou Coffee’s menu is easy to navigate for nutritional and allergy information. Their website makes the information easy to read, and allergens have their own tab for easy navigation.

Each variety of the drinks and foods offered by the company has clear information like calories, fat calories, protein, sugar, fiber, and other important nutrients, so that you can know exactly what you’re getting into as you order an iced versus blended, versus hot version of your favorite vanilla latte.


At the end of the day, one of the best reasons to get Caribou Coffee is simply so that you’re not getting Starbucks. No one wants to be a sheeple. And besides, everyone will be asking you which Starbucks you got the rad blue cup from.