BATAK COFFEE GROWER HATE STARBUCK?or just a dumb batak farmer?

Why is it that people hate Starbucks and bash their coffee? Starbucks is the largest coffee shop in the world, what have they done to get all the bashing from people. Is it jealousy that we cant franchise one, or is it their quality of the beans they use? What really is it?

Although Starbucks are big, they are not the biggest. Both Dunkin Donuts and I believe Tim Hortons are bigger. Costa Coffee are also big, but I think SB’s is bigger than them. I think the Starbucks love/hate relationship is both complex and sometimes cosmetic. Cosmetic…it is in many countries “trendy” to be anti-Starbucks. The more complex arguements are also related to country specific taste and preference.

Stabucks is indeed a large company. The larger they get, the more difficult it is to procure the very best coffee from the very best origins. In countries like Indonesia most growers are small hold…not suited to supply 000’s of MT of coffee on a regular basis to a big company like Starbucks. To get around this they have in the past had to buy of brokers, meaning the coffee of a single origin may not be as good as that of a small roaster who can procure directly. To their credit they are now looking at ways of securing good supply. In Sumatra for instance they have just signed a JV agreement to grow a heck of a lot of Mandehling coffee just for their use. I guess they are looking at doing this in a number or origins and I believe it is a smart move. If they do the same in Kenya, in Central and South America it will ensure a quantity and quality of supply they have not had before, it may even remove the quality vs smaller roasters from the equation for good.

It will howver not directly address the growing movement for direct trade with small-holders. I suppose buying from a plantation is direct procurement, but it does not address the small holder in a country like INdonesia. Again they are working on this by carrying limited direct trade coffee…although as they get bigger this will be difficult tomaintain accross the board. I assume that thy will then look at splitting fiartrade coffee into the US and perhaps NZ and Australian markets, while all other coffee will be fulelled into new emerging markets- Asia (China, INdonesia and India).

All in all you must admire the company- even if you do not like the taste of their coffee….


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