Starbucks Research Project
Hacienda Alsacia, already has over 250 new varieties growing there; a result of effort between Starbucks, technical assistance from Texas A & M University’s ‘World Coffee Research project’, and Costa Rican coffee growers.
The coffee recovery plan is already paying dividends. Hacienda Alsacia is already producing new varieties that are now being tested. Five new strains produced by the facility were released to the National Coffee Institute (ICAFE) for their ‘in-field testing’ in Costa Rica. ICAFE spokespersons say the seeds will be researched and distributed to farmers over the next two years. ICAFE is also conducting studies on new berries on their experimental Center for Coffee Research (CICAFE) set up in San Pedro de Barva in Heredi, Costa Rica.
In 2013 Starbucks Corporation purchased 396 million pounds of green coffee worldwide. In October 2014, the farm here produced over 300,000 pounds of bean for testing, and replanting. This created an opportunity for 2,100, Starbucks’ district managers to sip samples of the ‘first-crop’. Estimates say that Starbucks produces 3% of the world’s coffee.
Robusta, Obata, and Costa Rica 95 Catimor, are the three strains most resistant to the coffee Roya (Rust) disease. They are hardier and resistant to the disease, but are less appealing in flavor than the consumer‘s choice- Arabica.
Besides the investment in research and development, Starbucks also provides financial support to local farmers, helping them access loans to boost the replanting and introduction of new techniques to the industry. In Costa Rica there currently are only four Starbucks outlets – on Avenida Escazú, Lincoln Plaza, Escazú, and now Plaza Freses on the eastern side of San Juan. In grocery stores local Costa Rica coffee companies are far more popular and it’s no wonder why.
At Blue River Resort and Hot Springs, the coffee is always hot and delicious. Sit back and relax overlooking the Rincon de la Vieja in front of the hot springs pools or take your cup to one of the benches inside the Botanical Gardens or Butterfly Gardens. Also, try out the local brands while on your vacation. Many people return home hooked on a particular brand. Given that Costa Rica coffee farms often fetch the highest price for their berries worldwide, it’s no wonder. And let’s hope that the Costa Rica Recovery Plan comes up with a solution soon to this horrible blight.