Responsibly Grown Coffee

We have always worked to buy our coffee in a way that respects the people and places that produce it. It's simply what we believe to be right.

Over the last decade, Conservation International has helped us develop buying guidelines that address our principles for ethical sourcing. Called Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, these guidelines help our farmers grow coffee in a way that’s better for both people and the planet. C.A.F.E. Practices is a comprehensive set of measurable standards focused on the following four areas:

Product Quality (requirement):

All coffee must meet Starbucks standards of high quality.

Economic Accountability (requirement):

Transparency is required. Suppliers must submit evidence of payments made throughout the coffee supply chain to demonstrate how much of the price Starbucks pays for green (unroasted) coffee gets to the farmer.

Social Responsibility (evaluated by third-party verifiers):

Measures in place that concern safe, fair and humane working conditions. These include protecting the rights of workers and providing adequate living conditions. Compliance with the indicators for minimum-wage requirements and addressing child labour/forced labour and discrimination is mandatory.

Environmental Leadership (evaluated by third-party verifiers):

Measures in place to manage waste, protect water quality, conserve water and energy, preserve biodiversity and reduce agrochemical use.

Read the Report

To learn more about our work in coffee purchasing read our Global Responsibility Goals & Progress Report.

What We've Been Doing

Starbucks bought 269 million pounds of coffee in fiscal 2010. Some 84% of that – 226 million pounds worth – from C.A.F.E. Practices–approved suppliers. We paid an average price of $1.56 per pound for our premium green (unroasted) coffee in 2010, up from our $1.47 per pound in 2009.

Fair Trade for a better quality of life

Fairtrade certified coffee empowers small-scale farmers organized in cooperatives to invest in their farms and communities, protect the environment, and develop the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Starbucks began purchasing Fairtrade certified coffee in 2000, helping grow the market for Fairtrade certified coffee in the U.S. 

Certified Organic - coffee that's better for the planet

Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials that have a lower impact on the environment. Organic farming practices help replenish and maintain soil health, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture.

Starbucks purchased 14 million pounds (6.4 million kilograms) of certified organic coffee in fiscal 2009. Our organic offerings include Organic Yukon Blend® and Organic Shade Grown Mexico.


How You Can Help

Buy Fairtrade® certified coffee

We highly recommend bold and roasty-sweet Café Estima Blend®.

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO)

Fairtrade Canada is a non-profit organization and the Canadian member of Fairtrade International. It certifies, promotes and advocates Fairtrade in the Canadian market.

Learn more