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Reuters/Jason Redmond
Making room for Indian coffee.
CAFFEINE FIX

For the first time, Starbucks will sell an Indian coffee in the US

By Suneera Tandon

A humble variety of Indian brew, grown in the hills of the Western Ghats, will soon make its way to caffeine connoisseurs at Starbucks’ most sophisticated coffee shop.

Later this year, an Indian single-origin Arabica coffee grown in Karnataka’s Kodagu district will be shipped some 8,000 miles to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle. The coffee will be roasted and served at the 15,000 square-feet store, that has been described as a ”mini-Disneyland for Starbucks fans.”

This will be the first time that Starbucks will offer a single-origin coffee from India in the US. John Culver, Starbucks’ group president for Coffee China and Asia Pacific, told Reuters that this would be the ”first step in what we hope will be many reserve coffees coming out of India.”

Located at around 3,000 feet above sea level, Nullore estate is the largest Arabica plantation owned by the Tatas—Starbucks’ joint venture partner in India—in Kodagu. The 394-hectare estate produces over 500 tonnes of coffee every year, some of which is also bought by the Italian coffee roasting company Illy.

Going Indian

In 2012, Starbucks entered India through a 50:50 joint venture with the Tata Group. Christened Tata Starbucks, the company currently operates 83 stores in six cities across the country. Alongside the retail venture, Starbucks has also been exploring opportunities to source coffee from Tata’s roasting facilities in Karnataka.

Apart from its signature India Estates Blend and Espresso Roast coffees, Starbucks will soon roast Kenyan and Sumatran coffees at the Karnataka facility, which will then be made available at stores nationwide. By the end of the year, Starbucks will also bring its specialty tea brand, Teavana, to India.