Starbucks is a multi-billion dollar company with a huge fanbase.
However, with people’s interest in consuming organic products spiking, many people have started asking questions, such as if Starbucks coffee is organic.
Starbucks coffee is not organic. However, they do have a couple of organic blends they use, but you need to specifically ask for them to be used. Their coffee comes mostly from Latin America, but it’s not certified organic.
If you love drinking Starbucks coffee but are worried about where it comes from, this article is for you. Read on to find out more about your favorite coffee chain.
Where does Starbucks source its coffee?
Given the scale of the company Starbucks, the amount of coffee they use has to be huge.
This means that they source their coffee from multiple places, such as Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa, which accounts for about 30 countries.
This is nearly 43% of all the countries in the world that produce coffee.
Coffee beans grown in different parts of the world have different flavor profiles, which allows them to provide their customers with varied tastes and experiences.
This, however, comes with its downsides, such as the inability to ensure that all the plantations will grow coffee organically.
Also, the fact that Starbucks utilizes so much coffee pushes them to cut costs in some areas to ensure a significant profit margin, including refusing to pay the premium required for acquiring certified organic coffee.
You can learn more about where Starbucks sources its coffee from this article: Where Does Starbucks Get Its Coffee Beans?
Most organic coffee comes from Latin America
Most of the organic coffee in the world is grown in Latin America, which should be a good sign.
However, recently, farmers have been shifting back to conventional methods of growing coffee because the incentives promised to these farmers in exchange for growing organic coffee have yet to be materialized.
Growing organic coffee comes with higher labor with less product, as chemical intervention using pesticides is not allowed. Therefore, the farmers expect to be compensated for their work.
Given that Starbucks isn’t willing to pay the extra money to ensure that the coffee beans they use are organically grown, it leaves the farmers with no choice but to restart using chemicals.
Some of Starbucks’ coffee comes from Asia Pacific
Regarding the Asia Pacific region, people have only recently begun looking into the organic side of foods.
This means that most plantations do not grow their coffee organically.
Why would Starbucks get its coffee from this region? It’s to keep a steady supply.
With the amount of coffee consumed by Starbucks alone, getting coffee only from the regions with organic farming practices is impractical.
Since there can be a shortage of supply from one of the sources at any given moment, Starbucks gives in to buying inorganically grown coffee beans.
Starbucks ignores coffee from Ethiopia
Ethiopian coffee is known to be some of the best and most unique-tasting coffee in the world.
It’s also typically organically produced due to its unique weather and environment.
Even though this might seem to be the best place for Starbucks to source their coffee from, it seems that they refuse to source their coffee from this area.
While the stats for African coffee are better compared to the other regions, the issue of certification and paying premiums still arises, which is why Starbucks might ignore coffee from this region.
This raises questions about the conditions in which the coffee was grown. However, they do own property where they grow coffee beans.
Does Starbucks have its own coffee plantation?
Starbucks has a coffee farm of its own, called Hacienda Alsacia, located in Costa Rica. It’s a 240-hectare (2.4 sq km) farm open to ordinary people for tours and farmers for visits.
It houses many agronomists and is a site for developing better coffee farming practices.
The coffee grown in Hacienda Alsacia is ethically produced, i.e., completely organic.
While Starbucks doesn’t sell its own coffee beans, more than enough coffee is produced here to meet Starbucks’ supply and demand.
Are Starbucks’ packaged coffee beans organic?
Starbucks coffee is not only limited to coffee-based drinks sold at their shops, but it’s also sold in many Targets and Walmarts in the form of packaged coffee beans.
These can be brewed and enjoyed in the comfort of your home. Some Targets also host Starbucks shops in their stores.
But what does this mean for someone who wants to ensure that the food they consume is ethically produced?
Unfortunately for such consumers, some of these options are certified organic, but not all pass the requisite.
What can you do if you want organic coffee?
If you can’t compromise on organic coffee, you can try going to a local coffee shop.
Many independent, local, friendly neighborhood coffee shops use organic coffee for you to try out.
While this may take some research, and you might not have access to all the fancy drinks you find at Starbucks, you can rest assured that the coffee you drink is ethically produced and sourced.
However, if you insist on getting your coffee or coffee beans from Starbucks or want one of their drinks that you can’t find anywhere else, there are some coffee types that are organic:
The Yukon Blend
The Yukon Blend is one of the organic coffee beans that Starbucks uses, and it comes packaged in the form of beans and coffee grounds.
It’s a medium roast with a mellow, earthy, light, and nutty flavor. Being a medium roast, it retains a part of its acidity, which comes through when you make a cup of coffee.
The French Roast
Another organic option that Starbucks offers is the French Roast, and like the Yukon Blend, this is also available as both beans and grounds.
Being a dark roast, French Roast has intense, robust, smoky flavors yet is light-bodied.
Yet another organic dark roast you can find at Starbucks is the Caffè Verona. It comes in caffeinated and decaf options in both whole and ground forms.
However, decaffeination uses chemicals, meaning the decaf version is not organic.
Caffè Verona is best described as having a rich and sweet taste with notes of dark cocoa.
It has a perfect balance of bitter and sweet flavors and tends to be on the fuller side.
The Siren’s Blend is another medium roast. It was created as a tribute to all the women involved in getting the coffee from the farm to your cup.
The blend has chocolaty and citrusy notes. Being a medium roast, it retains some of its original floral nature.
Komodo Dragon is almost as wild as it sounds. Coming in both bean and ground forms and sourced from Indonesia, this organic dark roast coffee blend from Starbucks tastes and smells rather unique.
The flavors are complex and spicy and are here to stay. The coffee is also rather full-bodied and releases many natural oils when brewed. It also has a decaf version which is organic as well.
Veranda Blend is our first and only blonde roast on this list and has a flavor game of its own.
Despite being roasted for a short time, the Veranda blend does not have many fruity or flowery notes.
In fact, ironically, the blend tastes nutty and somewhat like cocoa. It’s light and smooth on the palate without being bitter or acidic.
Is the milk used at Starbucks organic?
While there are always people who prefer drinking their coffee black, milk is and always has been an essential part of coffee.
As if figuring out which coffee to pick needed to be harder, Starbucks also doesn’t use organic milk.
Starbucks doesn’t offer many organic milk choices for you to enjoy.
The only organic certified milk at Starbucks is their soy milk, and while soy milk is a great vegan option, it’s not exactly everyone’s cup of coffee, pun intended.
While Starbucks claims that 95% of its coffee is ethically sourced, we know that that’s far from the truth. Similarly, the milk used also doesn’t qualify as organic.
These discoveries raise questions about how much of the raw material used at Starbucks is organic, such as the following:
- Are the syrups organic?
- Is the bread made using organic ingredients?
- Are the sandwich fillings organic?
Given that Starbucks’s pricing is higher than its competitors, the quality of raw materials shouldn’t be compromised.
But considering the current situation, how much can Starbucks be trusted to provide us with organic food material?
This article’s purpose was to help you, as a conscious consumer, navigate through the multitude of coffee choices available at Starbucks to find the genuinely organic ones.
Generally speaking, Starbucks coffee isn’t entirely organic.
Some organic options include the Yukon Blend, the French Roast, the Caffè Verona, the Siren’s Blend, the Komodo Dragon, and the Veranda Blend.