Starbucks Coffee Company to develop a visitor center on its wholly owned coffee farm, Hacienda Alsacia

Starbucks Coffee Company to develop a visitor center on its wholly owned coffee farm, Hacienda Alsacia

  • Slated to open in 2018, the immersive coffee farm and café experience will complement the company’s new premium retail spaces by providing customers opportunity to learn about coffee at origin
  • Investment in Coffee Farming Research and Development Center will showcase impact of Starbucks $100 Million in Ethical Sourcing Commitments

SEATTLE, 2017-Mar-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced that it will be developing a visitor center on the grounds of its wholly owned coffee farm, Hacienda Alsacia. Purchased almost four years ago, Hacienda Alsacia is located in Costa Rica on the slopes of the Poas volcano and serves as a global Research and Development facility and working farm for Starbucks. The new visitor center will soon allow visitors from around the world to get a first-hand understanding of the agronomy work the company has been supporting and investing in for two decades.

“Our Roastery in Seattle, Washington offer’s one of today’s most immersive retail experiences, where the theater of coffee craft is on full display. We have a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate what happens on coffee farms so that our customers understand the humanity and care that goes into each cup of our coffee,” said Cliff Burrows, group president Siren Retail and Global Coffee, Starbucks. “This visitor center allows us to create a connection between the people that grow the coffee, the role our farm plays in helping to ensure their economic stability, and the stores that roast and brew it for our customers every day.”

The Hacienda Alsacia Visitor Center will be a 46,000-square-foot area located on the Starbucks farm, that allows people to explore the journey of coffee from seedling to coffee field, the wet milling process, the drying patio and all the way to roasting and a café. Designed by members of its in-house design team who helped pioneer the company’s first Starbucks Reserve® Roastery in Seattle, this locally relevant, sustainable ecosystem will pay homage to the more than 1 million coffee farmers and workers that Starbucks help to support around the world.

Since purchasing the 600-acre (240 hectares) farm in March 2013, Starbucks has maintained it as a typical working farm to learn more about the resources necessary to grow high-quality arabica coffee.  In doing so, it has helped to inform its multi-million-dollar investment in ethical sourcing resources for coffee farmers including:

  • A firsthand understanding of the company’s Coffee and Farming Equity practice (C.A.F.E.) sourcing standards, developed with Conservation International, in maintaining healthy coffee trees which resulted in a nearly 50% increase in yield on the farm since 2013.
  • The development of hybrid coffee tree seedlings at the farm’s nursery in collaboration with industry experts to directly address the impact climate change is having on the coffee industry including the increased incidences of coffee leaf rust or “roya” in parts of Latin America. In 2015, Starbucks donated thousands of seedlings from five different coffee tree hybrids developed through its research to the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE).
  • Establishing and verifying best practices for coffee farming which is disseminated throughout the coffee producing world by housing global agronomy summits and the company’s nine Farmer Support Centers and supplier network.

As part of this construction project, the company anticipates that it will create dozens of short-term jobs as well as provide new opportunities for long-term employment on the farm when the visitor center opens.  Starbucks has been offering coffee from Costa Rica since the company opened its doors in 1971; its first Farmer Support Center opened in Costa Rica in 2004 and has since moved to the coffee farm. Starbucks has 11 stores in Costa Rica that are operated by its licensing partner Premium Restaurants of America. Starbucks Costa Rica recently launched a special edition single-origin packaged coffee sourced from Hacienda Alsacia for customers to enjoy in market.

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SOURCE: Starbucks Corporation

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Starbucks district managers tasted the first crop of coffee from Starbucks Costa Rica Farm at Starbucks leadership conference in Seattle

SEATTLE, 2014-10-16— /EPR Retail News/ — Days start early for Victor Trejos.

Each weekday morning, he rises well before dawn at his home in Costa Rica’s capital city of San José and drives 15 miles into the hillside. By 6:00 a.m., his pickup truck rumbles down the narrow road to a coffee farm, where the day is already in full swing, with a team of more than 30 Starbucks partners (employees) weeding, replanting, fertilizing, and pruning.

Trejos is the general manager of Hacienda Alcasia, a coffee farm resting on the slope of the still-active Poas volcano.  In its entirety, it spans more than 370 city blocks and is the first coffee farm Starbucks has owned in its more than 40-year history.

“Hacienda Alcasia has been a working coffee farm for generations, managed by a single family since 1970,” Trejos said. “The volcanic soil is rich in nutrients, and over its history has supplied high-quality coffee to Starbucks.”

Today, under the ownership of Starbucks, Trejos and his team have been working to transform the property into an agronomy research and development center. Its varied elevation makes it an ideal place to learn more about sustainable farming practices in different climates.

While Starbucks intentionally limited any significant investments on the farm so that it could function as a typical Central American coffee farm, they did prioritize one key element – a nursery. Led by Starbucks head agronomist Carlos Mario, thousands of seedlings are being grown to test new coffee varietals that improve disease resistance, quality and yield.

“The work at Hacienda Alsacia is helping us gain a better understanding of the challenges facing coffee farmers throughout our supply chain from environmental factors to the overall costs of running a working farm,” said Craig Russell, Starbucks executive vice president of Global Coffee. “To be a part of its first harvest is a special moment for me and a historic one for our company.”

More than 300,000 pounds of coffee were harvested in the farm’s first year under the guidance of Starbucks (Starbucks purchased 396 million pounds of green coffee in fiscal year 2013).  2,100 Starbucks district managers had the opportunity to taste this partner-exclusive “first crop” coffee during a Starbucks leadership conference in Seattle.

“I have been working in coffee for 20 years, but this harvest was different,” said Trejos. “It was very exciting to see all of our hard work come through with this very high-quality cup of coffee.”

See how work on Hacienda Alsacia has progressed since Starbucks purchased the farm in 2013.

About Starbucks Approach to Ethical Sourcing
Starbucks is committed to creating a better future for farmers and farmer livelihoods with integrated programs that help ensure a long-term supply of high-quality coffee, social investments that support coffee-growing communities, and investments in research and development.

In total, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer programs and activities, which includes C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices, Starbucks industry-leading ethical sourcing model developed in partnership with Conservation International which ensures coffee quality while promoting social, environmental and economic standards.

Starbucks has worked directly with farmers for more than ten years through its farmer support centers, which now operate in Costa Rica, Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia and China. The company also provides farmers access to farmer loans to help cooperatives manage risk and strengthen their business, and works with Conservation International. Starbucks is also investing in farmers and their communities through its farmer loan program, and helping farmers plant or save shade trees in Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil.

Find details about the company’s  approach to ethical sourcing in the Starbucks Global Responsibility Report.

For more information on this news release, contact newstips@starbucks.com.