Starbucks Buys A Farm; Somewhere Alice Waters Is Weeping
Starbanzo Beans finally saddled up and bought its first coffee farm in Costa Rica for somewhere from $5-10 million, not to lovingly cultivate each and every bean from harvest to brew like some hipster coffee joints out there, but rather, to find a cure for “coffee rust,” an epidemic affecting Asian coffee purveyors that has now jumped continents to Latin America.
The 600-acre farm will be dedicated in part to raising new coffee varieties especially for Starbucks, but Howarzd Schultz hopes the acquisition can function as the company’s first in what will hopefully one day be a fleet of research farms. Along with developing plant strains that are coffee-rust and disease resistant, the company hopes to learn more about harvest yields at different elevations (the land on this particular farm ranges from 3,600 to 5,500 feet above sea level), and develop new varieties through hybridization.
The Wall Street Journal expressly highlights that Starbucks is not seeking to develop genetically modified coffee beans, but this seems like something of a soulless purchase, anyway. Maybe we’ve been ruined because we know some chocolatiers out there climb cacao trees personally to harvest nibs for us.