Does the name Howard Schultz ring a bell? He's the guy who figured out how to get you to pay $4.50 for a 75¢ cup of coffee. In the early 1980s, a Swedish plastics company called Hammarplast sold plastic coffee filters that fit over a thermos.
One day in 1981, one of the company's salesmen, 27-year-old Howard Schultz, happened to notice that a small Seattle coffee roasting company called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices bought more of the coffee filters than the Macy's department store chain did. Why?, Schultz wondered. And who would bother making coffee using such a tedious method when an automatic drip coffeemaker could do it all at the push of a button?