Monday, November 24th, 2014
Already this year, Starbucks Co. has bought its highest volume ever of coffee beans from China, demonstrating the country’s growing role as a major bean supplier. The purchases by the world’s biggest coffee chain represent more than half of China’s coffee imports in the United States.
In the first nine months of 2014, the Seattle-based coffee giant purchased nearly 14,000 bags of arabica beans from China. According to data from PIERS, a shipping intelligence firm, this number is more than five times the total in 2013. Some of these beans are roasted back in the US and then shipped back over to China for sale in the increasingly profitable coffee market. The rest of the imported beans are used in coffee blends that are available globally.
Starbucks launched its first operation in China’s main coffee-growing province, Yunnan, two years ago. To date there are 823 company-operated Starbucks stores in China, a dramatic increase from only 24 stores in 2005. The U.S. International Trade Commission reports that the US is on track to import approximately 75,000 60 kg bags of coffee beans from China. More than ten years ago, the average import of coffee from China as only 5,700 bags. This growth reflects China’s prolific emergence onto the coffee market as they have become one of the premier suppliers of high-quality arabica beans for roasters from around the world.
Beginning as a single store in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks has grown into a global empire of 20,737 locations worldwide. While remaining based in the Seattle area, the company has become a true international organization, fueling the coffee industry in numerous regions around the globe.