If folks thought that Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) was losing its caffeinated buzz over the last six months or so, they've probably changed their minds today. Starbucks reported earnings that seem to have impressed the java giant's recently fickle investors.

Starbucks reported that fiscal 2005 third-quarter net earnings increased 29% to $126 million, or $0.31 per share. Revenues increased 21% to $1.6 billion, while same-store sales increased by 7%.

The Seattle-based company attributed its overall sales increase to opening 713 new stores within the last year. It credited the rise in same-store sales to a 4% increase in average value per transaction (on the strength of its higher-priced blended drinks) and a 3% increase in the number of customer transactions. In Starbucks' conference call, management spoke enthusiastically about the potential for music sales to be a growing part of its business.

Sales at Starbucks' U.S. stores increased by 20%, while international sales increased 32%. The company also plans to ratchet up its new store openings, with 300 more stores planned in fiscal 2006 than previously anticipated. That's a grand total of 1,800 new stores next year.

Other than the accelerated rate of new-store growth for 2006 (which is nothing to sneeze at), you can draw several parallels between this report and the company's first-quarter and second-quarter results. For instance, in every quarter so far this year, the company has upped its yearly earnings forecast by a few pennies.

In the recent past, Starbucks' negative buzz has originated from the idea that the company's growth is "slowing" due to its reported 7% same-store sales growth (which remains at the high end of the company's guidance). Just think back to the downer reaction to June's same-store sales figures. However, despite tough comparisons to last year's quarterly showings, Starbucks is still producing the kind of earnings and revenue gains that many companies can't manage. Meanwhile, the company has little debt on its balance sheet and plenty of cash to funnel into new store openings.

From today's report, it appears that the shiny Starbucks is back -- the one that's either the toast of the town or considered perpetually "overvalued," depending on whom you ask. I'm sure the stock will remain volatile due to arguments over its true valuation -- but for the time being, today's been the kind of day longtime Starbucks shareholders know and love.

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Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Fool has a disclosure policy.