Starbucks Gets into the Bean Growing Business

It’s a first for Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee chain is getting into the business of growing its own beans.

Starbucks is permanently planting its flag in the Far East, opening its first bean farm and processing plant in China’s southwestern Yunnan province. The company hopes their first base farm will help them corner the relatively untapped Chinese coffee market.

“We’re in 31 cities, and in cities that most Americans have never heard of, and the response is like Shanghai and Beijing, it’s unbelievable to us,” Starbucks chairman Howard Shultz told reporters after the announcement on Friday. “And so we want to be aggressive and at the same time we want to demonstrate the kind of company we are, in doing the right thing. And by that I mean, making sure we’re investing in our people, providing our customers with a great place to enjoy coffee.”

Starbucks hopes to make China the brand’s second home market outside of the U.S., but they acknowledge that it will be hard to convince a nation of tea drinkers to swap over to coffee. Research company Euromonitor International estimates that coffee sales in China climbed 9 percent last year to $704.7 million.

Since opening its first store in 1999 in Beijing, Starbucks has expanded to more than 800 locations across greater China. Coffee has made its way into Chinese society, becoming popular with the country’s young urban professionals because of its associations with Western life. Many Chinese drinkers picked up the daily habit while living abroad and have brought it back home with them. By far, the instant variety is the most popular way to have a cup of joe in China, but a coffee house culture has emerged in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

This is an important first for Starbucks, the company has never grown beans on such a massive commercial scale before– currently Starbucks purchases their coffee from farmers in over 30 different countries. Industry analysts say that this is also an important strategic move for Starbucks because of growing concern in the industry over the quality of beans from Central and South America. Coffee analysts say an all-out bidding war has broken out between distributors for a shrinking supply of high quality beans because aging trees farmed year-after-year in Central and South America have started to produce lackluster, bland yields.

Collaboration of Starbucks:

Starbucks has agreed to collaborate with the local government to help farmers promote responsible coffee-growing practices and develop a localized coffee. Under an agreement signed with the Yunnan Provincial government, the Chinese government will invest $453 million to expand production by more than five times to 200,000 tons by 2020 at the farm. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only around 13,000 tons of coffee was harvested in China in 2001.

“Starbucks is proud to collaborate with the Yunnan government to share our coffee knowledge to help Yunnan continue to develop into a top-quality coffee growing region and bring the distinctive Yunnan coffee taste to our customers around the world,” said Schultz.

The Starbucks’ base farm will be growing Arabica beans; a bitter, earthy variety– the first beans aren’t expected to be harvested until three years from now. Company officials say they will ship the beans to the U.S. for roasting, but admit a roasting facility in Asia is inevitable.

Additionally, the company will operate a Farmer Support Center, its first in Asia and third globally following Costa Rica and Rwanda. Starbucks agronomists and quality experts will work directly with Yunnan’s coffee farmers to provide resources and expertise to promote responsible coffee-growing practices that improve quality and enhance the size of the yield. Research will be conducted on areas such as new varietals for local adaptation, disease resistance and flavor improvements.

Best Place in China to Invest:

“We are focusing on areas where we can have the greatest impact; ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, and community involvement,” said Wang Jinlong, senior vice president of Starbucks Coffee Company and chairman of Starbucks Greater China.

This isn’t Starbucks first move in Yunnan; in early 2009 the company collaborated with province coffee farmers and suppliers to launch the South of the Clouds Blend.

Yunnan is one of the few places suitable to grow coffee in China and government officials have been trying to capitalize on the region for decades.

“There is still much room for development as the coffee industry in Yunnan is expected to become a new pillar industry creating more than [$1.5 billion] of output value,” The People’s Daily Online reported Sunday.

Instant coffee powerhouse Nestle has been in the region since the late 1980s and until recently it was only thought the Yunnan’s beans were good enough for lower-quality instant coffees. Kraft Foods and Maxwell House also have a presence in Yunnan.

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How To Make Turkish Coffee – Pepper’s Cafe

Have you ever wondered how to make Turkish coffee? I know I have, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was quite easy. Even if you do not own an Ibrik you can use a small straight-sided pan. The only drawback to using a small pan is that the coffee may not boil as easily as it would in the traditional Ibrik.

When making Turkish coffee you have to toss out all the “rules” you already know about making coffee, as they do not apply when making Turkish coffee. You want the coffee to boil, in fact, you want it to boil three times. You do not use a filter and you never, and I mean never serve Turkish coffee with cream or milk. Have a Turkish coffee recipe you would like to submit?

Items you will need to make Turkish coffee are:

  • Ibrik or small straight-sided pan.
  • 1 Teaspoon.
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 cup per serving you are making.
  • A heating element, whether it be your stove top or even an open fire with hot coals.


  • Add 1 cup of water per serving of Turkish coffee that you are making.
  • Add 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee per serving that you are making.
  • Add 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar per serving that you are making.
  • Add 1/2 of a cup of additional water to account for absorption
  • Stir the mixture and place on your heating element over low heat, the lowest setting possible.
  • Let the coffee come to a boil, without bubbling over and remove it from the heat. Let the bubbles subside and place it back on the heat source. Do this two (2) more times.

After the coffee has boiled 3 times, pour it into the cups slowly, alternating between the cups to ensure each cup has some of the bubbly foam. Serve with a nice wafer cookie and a glass of water.

*Note: When I say 1 cup of water, I am talking about the cup you are serving the Turkish coffee in, not a fluid measuring cup.*…

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How To Roast Coffee Beans At Home – Pepper’s Cafe

How to make roasted coffee beans at home? Should I try to roast coffee beans at home? How do I roast green coffee beans at home? Do I need to buy a coffee bean roaster?

By roasting the coffee you are transforming the green coffee beans into roasted coffee, this produces the aroma and flavor of the coffee.

To obtain the freshest coffee you must either roast your own beans or buy freshly roasted coffee beans from a roasting company, typically roasted coffee beans will have a standard shelf life of 14 days.

As the green coffee beans are being roasted they shift in color to a yellowish-green followed by several degrees of brown. As a general rule of thumb, the longer you roast the beans the darker the bean becomes resulting in a more intense in flavor, known as “French roasted”.

To answer the questions above you must first ask yourself, do I want to do it “the old way” or should I first buy a home coffee bean roaster. Simply answered, you do not have to purchase a roaster to be able to roast them at home. Roasting coffee beans at home can be done in a few different ways; I will explain two standard home roasting methods.

The first is quite cheap by using what you already have in your kitchen. You will need a regular frying pan and some green coffee beans that you have purchased from your local coffee specialty shop.

Read: How To Clean A Coffee Maker – Pepper’s Cafe

*Stove Top Method*

First set your stovetop burner to medium-high heat, place your frying pan on the element, and add as many beans as you would like to roast but making sure there is an even thickness of beans (I try to not make the depth of beans more than a few beans thick) as to avoid accidentally burning some.

Stir continuously for about 15 minutes.

When your beans become the “type of roast you prefer” IE. Mild roast (light brown) or a full robust dark French roast (dark brown), you will need to cool them as quickly as possible. Pour your beans into a large metal bowl and swirl/stir them for about 7 minutes or until they are “warm” to the touch, be cautious to not burn yourself.

After they have cooled, allow them to stay in the bowl (or a smaller container) without a lid on for at least 8 hours, ideally, you will want to let them sit for 12 hours so that the C02 (caused by the roasting process) can be expelled.

*Hot Air Popcorn Maker Method*

You will need a “hot air popcorn popper”, a large bowl to catch the roasted beans, a large spoon, a large metal colander or two for cooling and hand protection (pot holder).

Simply set up the popper in your kitchen, I place mine on my stovetop to utilize the overhead fan. Pour no more than 4oz of green coffee beans into your machine (use the same guidelines as you would for popping popcorn kernels). Place the bowl under the spout to catch the beans and turn on your machine.

While the machine is running, it will take about 2 to 3 minutes before the first “crack” of the beans and you will notice some aroma filled smoke coming from the beans, this is normal. Roast them to your taste, the average for light roasts is about 3 to 4 minutes, and deep dark roasts (French roast) about 6 to 6.5 minutes.

When you reach your time for the perfect roast of coffee beans, turn off your machine and pour the beans into the large bowl. Stir the beans with your large spoon constantly for about the next 7 minutes, or until they are warm to the touch, be sure to not burn yourself.

After roasting the beans with either method, Try to wait about 8 to 12 hours before store the fresh roasted coffee beans in an airtight jar or container, be sure to store them out of direct sunlight (in a cupboard is great) and contrary to popular belief, DO NOT store them in the fridge or freezer. The reason you wait 8 to 12 hours is to allow the C02 to be expelled from the beans, then when you wake the next morning and grind your coffee beans to make that perfect cup of coffee, you will realize it was worth the wait.…

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How To Clean A Coffee Maker – Pepper’s Cafe

When it comes to the coffee maker, this just might be the most neglected yet most used item in our kitchen, I know it is in mine. When it comes to cleaning my coffee maker I go all out. I want the coffee maker to come clean in the shortest amount of steps possible and in the end, will make the perfect cup of coffee every time and last much longer than not cleaning properly or at all in some cases.

Read: How To Roast Coffee Beans At Home – Pepper’s Cafe

I try to clean my coffee maker about once a month or every other month depending on my busy schedule.

I have a 12 cup coffee maker and so I start the process by filling the carafe up to the 6 cup mark with water from the faucet. I then fill the rest of the way with “White Vinegar” until it reaches the 12 cup mark. I pour the vinegar and water solution in the machine as if brewing a pot of coffee, I add a filter as I normally would and turn the machine on to brew.

I use a coffee filter so that the solution can reach all the areas in the grounds area to clean any buildup from hard water or the oils left behind from the brewing process.

After the brewing cycle has finished I turn off the machine and let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, I then pour out the solution and repeat the process, only this time using a solution of 2 parts water to 1 parts vinegar and a new filter. (this would be 1 cup of vinegar forever 2 cups of water)

After brewing the second “cleaning” solution I turn off the machine, discard the solution and filter and rinse the carafe thoroughly. I then brew 2 pots of clean water each one followed by 15 minutes of “cooling” time.

*side note* Any brand of “White Vinegar” will do.…

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