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Starbucks Coffee Agronomy Company Opens in Costa Rica to Help Farmers Improve Their Coffee Quality

Published 01-28-04

Submitted by Starbucks Corporation

SEATTLE, WA - Reinforcing its leadership role in the specialty coffee industry, Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) today announced the opening of Starbucks Coffee Agronomy Company in San Jose, Costa Rica. To support Starbucks rapid growth plans, the office was established to help ensure the future supply of high-quality, sustainable green coffee from existing and potential sources in Central America.

"As an acknowledged leader that creates proactive solutions, Starbucks believes that broad changes are needed throughout the industry to reverse the effects of the current world coffee crisis," said Orin Smith, president and ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company. "Improving coffee quality is directly linked to improving the livelihoods of coffee farmers. Our agronomy office will help farmers improve the quality of their crops through better growing and conservation techniques."

Starbucks Coffee Agronomy Company will house a team of agronomists, cuppers and sustainability experts to ensure the future availability of high-quality, sustainable coffee from Central America. The office will manage Starbucks Coffee Trading Company's coffee sourcing guidelines and preferred supplier program, oversee regional social programs, and engage with local governments on sustainability issues. By being based in select Central America countries, agronomists will work directly with farmers in implementing sustainable coffee production methods. The Costa Rica office will report into Starbucks Coffee Trading Company, the wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company, and will be under the leadership of Peter Torrebiarte, who has been appointed general manager.

Approximately 200 guests are expected to attend an inaugural ceremony in Costa Rica today in honor of the opening of Starbucks Coffee Agronomy Company. Guests will include Starbucks executives, Costa Rica government officials, coffee producers, and non-profit organizations. The President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Dr. Abel Pacheco, will be one of the speakers at the event.

"Starbucks commitment to sourcing high quality coffee is as important as our commitment to coffee farmers," added Dub Hay, senior vice president of Coffee for Starbucks Coffee Company. "Meeting the demand for high quality green coffee over the next five years is one of our highest priorities. Coffees from Central America are sold as exclusive offerings and are essential parts of Starbucks unique blends."

"While many companies are willing to sign on to the 'principles of sustainability,' few are willing to take the next step and build 'practices of sustainability' into their business model," said Ted Lingle, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. "Starbucks is to be commended for their preferred supplier program and the emphasis it places on the economic viability of coffee farming by rewarding quality. Without quality, environmental stewardship and social responsibility are not sustainable in coffee agriculture."

Starbucks aspires to be known not only for its high quality coffee and commercial success, but for its commitment to origin country farmers and their families. The company has chosen to act on this commitment by forming partnerships to protect ecosystems; establishing long-term direct relationships with farmers; providing credit and loan guarantees for pre- and post-harvest loans and support for affordable credit for small-scale farmers; and gaining a greater level of transparency through contracts. The opening of Starbucks Coffee Agronomy Company is another step to help improve the lives of coffee farmers, their families and communities by ensuring social, environmental and economic sustainability.

Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 7,500 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. The Company is committed to offering the highest quality coffee and the Starbucks Experience while conducting its business in ways that produce social, environmental and economic benefits for communities in which it does business. In addition to its retail operations, the Company produces and sells bottled Frappuccino® coffee drinks, Starbucks DoubleShot™ coffee drink, and a line of superpremium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships. The Company's brand portfolio provides a wide variety of consumer products. Tazo Tea's line of innovative premium teas and Hear Music's exceptional compact discs enhance the Starbucks Experience through best-of-class products. The Seattle's Best Coffee® and Torrefazione Italia® Coffee brands enable Starbucks to appeal to a broader consumer base by offering an alternative variety of coffee flavor profiles.

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Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks Corporation

It's the way we do business Contributing positively to our communities and environment is so important to Starbucks that it's a guiding principle of our mission statement. We jointly fulfill this commitment with partners (employees), at all levels of the company, by getting involved together to help build stronger communities and conserve natural resources.

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