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History in the Making

I’ve recently returned from a trip to China where Starbucks signed two historic Memoranda of Understanding to invest in growing high-quality coffee in Yunnan province. We’ll be collaborating with the People’s Government of Pu’er City (Yunnan Province) and the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences. These agreements signal cooperation between Starbucks and China to revolutionize the Chinese coffee market and help local farmers there grow new, high-quality coffees that are sure to be prized throughout the world.

Although we will continue to buy coffees from many countries, this opportunity allows us to help build China’s specialty coffee market from scratch. We’ll open another Farmer Support Center, manage a base farm to grow coffee for production and create a demo farm that offers training on soil quality, tree planting and pruning, and education about C.A.F.E. Practices. We will also operate wet and dry mills. Between the agronomists and partners with years of leadership in the coffee industry, we have the experience necessary to be very successful. I am excited about the immense opportunity this partnership represents.

But what’s even more rewarding is the opportunity to give back to the farmers in this area. During my visit, I met with 15 excited farmers who represent the 27 ethnic tribes that live in the lush, rural area of Yunnan. This is the ideal region with the perfect climate for growing specialty coffee in China. The area is Pu’er, known for its beauty and also its exquisite teas.

We are looking forward to this historic partnership with the Chinese government and Yunnan farmers. For us, this will be a market with huge potential for growth. For the farmers, this means hope for a brighter, more stable business that respects the people and the land of this area.

We are doing something truly special. In just a few short years, we will reinvent the coffee sector in China and bring an awareness of Yunnan coffee to the rest of the world.

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