Starbucks is probably the most famous coffee brand in the world. Their coffee is known for its aroma, smoothness, and rich flavors. But where does Starbucks get its coffee beans?
Starbucks gets its coffee beans primarily from Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa. The company buys coffee from 30 countries out of 70 that produce coffee. They choose different countries for import so they can give their customers a wide variety of unique coffee flavors.
Starbucks chooses regions famous for their coffee plants to buy their coffee.
However, they only buy from farms that meet their ethical production and labor standards. This article will explain why the company likes to buy its coffee from multiple sources.
Starbucks’ favorite regions for getting coffee beans
Region and climate have an impact on how coffee tastes. Each country adds its own flavor to the beans. That is why Starbucks imports its coffee from several places.
There are about 70 countries that produce coffee, and Starbucks buys its beans from at least 30 of them.
Getting coffee from various countries ensures a consistent supply. Moreover, importing beans from all over the world allows the company to offer a variety of flavors.
Despite its sources in more than 30 countries, the coffee giant favors three regions above all: Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.
Each region has its own way of planting and harvesting coffee, which gives the beans their unique flavor. Starbucks’ ability to retain these flavors is why it stands head and shoulders above its competitors.
Let’s see what kind of coffee Starbucks gets from its three favorite regions.
Starbucks buys 3% of the total coffee supply in the world, and most of it comes from Latin America. The beans from here feature in many Starbucks blends. The region produces high-quality beans with an unfailing flavor.
Even within Latin America, each country has a different climate that affects coffee flavor. For example, the coffee beans the company imports from Costa Rica vary slightly in taste compared to Brazilian beans.
Latin America is known for three trademark flavors: coca, soft spice, and nuts.
Latin American coffee beans are crisp with acidity, making the coffee “zesty.” The acidity comes from volcanic soil, which is abundant in countries like Costa Rica.
Another factor for the acidic taste is the fermentation process that coffee plants use in the region.
Starbucks buys a substantial portion of its coffee from Asia-Pacific. The coffee flavor here is unique and not available anywhere else.
The company uses these flavors in many of its signature blends.
Asian Pacific coffee is full-bodied, smooth, and moderately acidic. It’s earthy, herbal, smooth, and syrupy.
The company gets its exotic flavors from Africa, home to some unique flavors. Some African countries like Ethiopia are famous for their coffee export.
Africa gives the coffee giant its citrusy aromas. African coffee taste like citrus, chocolate, and berries.
Where does Starbucks Reserve coffee come from?
Starbucks Reserve coffee program sells single-origin flavors. It sells these flavors at its high-end Starbucks coffee bars and roasteries.
This program is for coffee connoisseurs who prefer specific flavors.
The company buys coffee beans for Starbucks Reserve from a particular farm or area for each batch. Each location sells its reserve coffee in small batches.
You can check out this complete article to learn more about Starbucks Reserve and how it differs from a regular Starbucks store.
Why does Starbucks not buy coffee from one place?
There are several reasons why Starbucks doesn’t buy its coffee from only one place:
A variety of flavors
As mentioned, each region gives a unique taste to its coffee beans. Factors such as soil, climate, etc., impact the taste.
To add more flavors to its blends, the company buys its coffee beans from the best farms across the globe. It allows them to offer customers a wide variety of native flavors.
Any coffee lover will tell you that Columbian flavors have a nuttier taste, whereas Indonesian flavors are more earthy. There is definitely a noticeable difference.
Different suppliers are an excellent way to ensure a sustainable and uninterrupted supply of coffee beans. Problems like bad harvests, crop infections, natural calamities, or man-made disasters can strike any region at any time.
If one of the suppliers cannot keep up with normal production levels due to these reasons, the company can depend on other countries to continue its supply.
Moreover, as each country harvests coffee at a different time of the year, buying from different countries also ensures a regular supply throughout the year.
It means Starbucks won’t run out of coffee beans during any season.
The biggest coffee chain in the world must have an uninterrupted supply of coffee.
Why doesn’t Starbucks buy coffee from the USA?
Starbucks gets its coffee from different parts of the world and brings the beans home. The coffee beans are roasted in the United States.
However, it doesn’t buy any coffee from its homeland.
The reason is simple: though the leading coffee importer in the world, the USA doesn’t produce coffee in substantial quantities. There are several reasons why:
Most of the climate in the USA isn’t suitable for growing coffee. The coffee plant requires a tropical climate, prevalent in regions closer to the equator—the zone known as the “Bean Belt.”
Let’s understand the kind of climate coffee plants need.
The temperatures must not fluctuate too much, even throughout the day and night. The plant also doesn’t like direct sunlight, so it’s important to shade the plant from the sun.
And it’s not enough for the area to be warm: it must not be susceptible to frost and should resist large-scale pest invasions.
Another important climatic factor is the rain. The USA doesn’t have many places with predictable rainfall.
The coffee plant needs to have an even distribution of rainfall throughout the year, usually 1 to 1.5 meters annually.
The cost of labor is another reason why importing coffee is a better option for Starbucks.
Labor is costly in the USA compared to the leading coffee-importing countries. Moreover, there isn’t enough in-field labor to support huge coffee plants.
The company’s sheer size would make coffee production in the USA extremely expensive.
However, Starbucks ensures that it buys its coffee from farms where workers get fair wages, and the farm owners don’t violate any ethical codes.
Starbucks ethically sources 99% of its coffee—a huge milestone for an operation of its size.
From where does Starbucks get its famous Pike Place blend?
The Pike Place is Starbucks’ signature blend. It is a smooth, full-bodied, and strong dark-bean blend. The aroma in Starbucks cafes usually comes from the Pike Place roast.
The 100% Arabica blend is Kosher certified and comes from Asia-Pacific and Latin America. It is a tribute to the coffee giant’s first-ever Seattle location.
Some of the most famous Starbucks blends and their origin
As we all know, The Pike Place is the company’s leading blend, but there are plenty of flavors that keep the customers returning.
It’s time to talk about some of the most popular coffee roasts that Starbucks buys from different parts of the world for you.
The Breakfast Blend
The Breakfast Blend is a household name and quite a favorite for its tangy, bright flavor. Starbucks brings it from Latin America and gives a medium roast to the beans.
The coffee used for this blend is 100% Arabica and gives a soft spicy, nutty, and sugary flavor. The Breakfast Blend is an excellent choice for home brewing.
Caffé Verona is a popular choice for coffee lovers who prefer a dark roast. The full-bodied blend has multiple origins in Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
It is suitable for home brewing if you like your coffee strong with a not-too-bitter and not-too-sugary taste.
With Caffé Verona, you get a delicious flavor of caramel and dark cocoa.
Pike Place Decaf
Starbucks has you covered if you love Pike Place but want a decaf. The blend’s origin is similar to that of Pike Place: Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
However, this coffee won’t keep you up at night. The decaf flavor has less bitterness than the dark blend and gives you a nutty chocolate flavor.
Starbucks Brazil Blend
As the name suggests, this blend comes from Brazil. The coffee has fruity and bright notes and an acidic flavor.
However, the downside of this blend is that it is pretty hard to find.
You may be able to order it online from the official Starbucks website, but your local grocery store may not have it.
Starbucks goes above and beyond to offer a variety of coffee flavors. They’ve achieved this by importing coffee beans from a wide variety of countries in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa.
The company believes in retaining each region’s native flavors and uniqueness in its roasts. They have suppliers across the globe to ensure an interrupted supply of coffee to all its locations.
The beautiful aromas and flavors show the company’s commitment to offering the most authentic flavors to its customers.