In March 2011, Starbucks will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first store. And while the company has since grown into the beverage behemoth we all know today, it has never attempted to actually grow its own coffee beans. That’s all about to change as the Starbucks CEO announced yesterday that they are going to be going the DIY route in China.
“We’re going to actually plant trees and grow coffee in China, in the Yunnan Province,” CEO Howard Schultz said during a visit to Beijing.
Starbucks has been selling coffee in China for 12 years and has opened up around 1,200 outlets in the country during that time. So Schultz sees the decision to launch the bean-growing operation as “a comprehensive strategic commitment to doing business in China, in a way that’s locally relevant.”
Apparently the growing conditions in Yunnan make for some damn fine coffee, so Starbucks plans to not just use the beans it grows there for the local markets.
“We’ve discovered a part of the area there that can produce the world’s best coffee,” said Schultz. “And in three to four years, we will bring coffee from Yunnan to the world.”
In addition to opening their own farming and processing facilities, Starbucks says it will aid other Yunnan coffee farmers in improving the yield and quality of their crops.