MONTEGO BAY, St James — Caribbean Coffee Baristas Ltd, the local franchise holder for Starbucks, plans to send 12 young coffee growers to Starbucks Global Agronomy Centre in Costa Rica, to learn responsible growing practices and improve the quality and size of their harvests.
Addressing a function held at Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay on Monday night for the opening of the first Starbucks store in Jamaica, Adam Stewart, a partner in Coffee Baristas Ltd, told the gathering that the company will cover the expenses of the first batch of coffee farmers who will be attending the centre.
“Ian Dear (Stewart's partner) and I are going to pay for the first 12 farmers to go to Costa Rica to learn the best practices. They will be young farmers, and the only commitment that I am going to ask from them is that they transfer all of that knowledge back to their peers, so that we can really expand our Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee exports and consumption,” Stewart said.
He noted that Starbucks has already given its commitment to Jamaica for the training of coffee farmers and other stakeholders at its global agronomy centre.
Earlier, Ricardo Rico, Starbucks general manager and vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, said his company will give free access to coffee growers to the facility, even if they do not plan to sell their coffee to Starbucks.
“As of now we are giving free access to every single coffee grower, it doesn't matter if they don't sell to Starbucks. It's our commitment to make sure that we make the industry thrive, and making sure that the coffee farmers are able to lower their costs,” said Rico.
He pointed out that the farmers would be able to access the latest technology, lower their costs, increase their yields, among other things.
He noted, too, that Starbucks' coffee department is already working with local coffee farmers around Jamaica to create a unique Jamaica blend of coffee.
And noting that Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is the finest coffee in the Starbucks Reserve, Rico said the company plans to purchase more Jamaica coffee, adding that the product will be offered at the Jamaican outlet and locations worldwide.
“Jamaica has a rich coffee culture and heritage and we are blessed to be offering Starbucks Reserve Blue Mountain Coffee as part of our full-time offerings in Jamaica and across the world,” said Rico.