Some recent news from/about the Mermaid.
- Starbucks plans to develop its own coffee farm in Yunnan, China. A move I think is (relatively speaking) good news for the environment there. In my post on coffee growing in China, I noted deforestation and high chemical use are problems with coffee growing in China, which is dominated by Nestlé for instant coffee. I also mentioned that Starbucks used Yunnan-grown arabica in one of their local coffees; the quality was not up to snuff for a single-origin offering and it had to be used in a blend (“South of the Clouds”). Starbucks wants to increase quality, and will be training farmers and will establish a farmers’ support center, (its third globally, others are in Costa Rica and Rwanda). The growing operation will no doubt have meet the standards of the rest of their suppliers, which include very good environmental criteria. This has to be an improvement over what I believe is the norm for coffee growing in China.
- First, Starbucks announced it was terminating its partnership with Kraft, which has distributed The Mermaid’s coffee to grocery stores since 1998. Kraft was unhappy. This sparked speculation that Starbucks might want to expand in the single-cup market (currently the closest it comes is with its Via instant coffee). Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was the presumed partner, since the main alternative is Kraft’s Tassimo brand. Then Starbucks announced it would launch its own single-brewer. Stay tuned.
- GreenBiz.com had a nice article on Starbucks’ green buildings initiative, featuring LEED-certified buildings, including a roasting facility and all new retail stores. More at the Starbucks web site.