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In Search of Cardamom

Tazo partners Keith, Matt and Scott traveled to Guatemala a few weeks ago to visit key cardamom suppliers and secure our purchases for the next year. Cardamom prices are at 20-year highs because of record worldwide demand and subpar production. Thankfully, through our many hours of facility and field visits, we have a closer relationship with our cardamom supply chain than ever before.

Cardamom is a key component in Tazo® Chai. It’s a rhizome that takes three years to start producing cardamom for harvest, and it’s characterized by its tall, palm fronds and beautiful orchid-like flowers. Cardamom thrives in higher tropical elevations with a steady supply of moderate moisture.

This group of partners traveled to suppliers in Guatemala City and Coban with an agronomist working out of the Starbucks farmer support center in Costa Rica. By visiting cardamom suppliers it allows us to evaluate their quality and food safety programs, and it enables us to gain increased visibility to the cardamom supply chain.

The three reported that a highlight of the trip was visiting the cardamom villages in the remote mountains of Alta Verapaz that Tazo and Mercy Corps support through the CHAI project, a way for us to give back to the villages that supply us with cardamom. The villagers, who speak the Mayan language K’Iche’, are currently participating in education, health and farming programs that enhance their daily lives.

comments (4)

Comment FAQ

    • CLCDAN
    • 2/2/2011 2:07 PM

    Cardamom, also a key ingredient in Swedish bread!

      • deb1988
      • 4/12/2011 1:00 PM

      In reply to: CLCDAN

      It would be a good idea to find a way to use this cardamom, and other ethically sourced spices, in the pastries and baked goods made for Starbucks.

    • peggykaye
    • 2/6/2011 1:57 PM

    It all started with Finnish Pulla, pronounced "boo-lah". Many ethnic groups claim cardamon bread, but the best is the Finnish version. Secret to the bread is that there is lots of butter mixed in after half of the flour giving it a feathery texture, and of course using the freshest cardamon pods that you have ground yourself. The powdered version in the stores is usually stale. Maybe SB will start selling the pods so we can add it to coffee and tea as in the Middle East.

    • tatianatuccio
    • 3/30/2011 9:17 PM

    Dear Pablo R., i have read a couple of your posts and i find your job as Starbucks' Ethical Sourcing Manager is very intresting. I was wondering if you can contact me to give me information about how to go about this feild of intrest. i have always been intrested in third world contries but have yet to be informed about the corprate relationships with this intrest. i would greatly appriciate it if you could contact me to inform me more about this. i have lots of questions! :) thank you

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