The article makes a few good points. But I feel it didn't point out the key factors (which I am not sure of either...)
In my past trips to Beijing, I sampled some coffee chain stores. There are quite a few coffee chain stores (most of them from Europe) taste much better to me than Starbucks. But none is as successful as Starbucks.
Similarly, every time when I am in Toronto, NYC or Boston, I can't help wonder this. With all the numerous choices of good coffee, why is Starbucks everywhere and often so crowded? Whether we like it or not, Starbucks is good at making profits and making its patrons feel privileged. That's quite an interesting phenomenon.