Premium cafes and value meals? Starbucks strategy on the table

On Wednesday, at its annual meeting in Seattle, Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) will evaluate the effectiveness of its most recent initiatives and opine on whether its current course is the best one for weathering the recession. Amid worries about brand dilution and reduced discretionary income, it promises to be an exciting event.

Starbucks is, after all, a product of serendipity and the regular American's unprecedented spending power. The latest economic boom fueled hundreds of businesses that were designed to help the newly affluent dispose of their wealth. From botox to pet massages, premium jeans to miracle berries, fresh discoveries seemed to move from fads to necessities in the blink of an eye.