| Costa Rica

Starbucks to open sustainability and innovation hub in Costa Rica

Set to open at the coffee chain’s Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm, the innovation hub will provide education and resources to develop solutions for social and environmental challenges in the coffee industry

The Hacienda Alsacia Visitor Center | Photo credit: Starbucks


Starbucks has unveiled plans to develop a new ‘sustainability learning and innovation lab’ at its Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm and global agronomy headquarters in Costa Rica. 

The site will provide ‘hands-on and virtual learning opportunities’ for Starbucks staff, students, researchers and industry leaders to develop solutions to improve adaptability and resilience in coffee agriculture. 

Although it will not open to visitors until 2026, the lab will offer an education programme for select Starbucks employees and Arizona State University (ASU) students studying sustainable food systems, global agribusiness and environmental management before the end of 2023. 

“This is an opportunity for us to advance Starbucks environmental promise to give more than we take and our farmer promise to ensure the future of coffee for all. We know we cannot do this important work alone, and the possibilities in front of us to scale solutions, partner with thought leaders and serve as a global hub for innovation are limitless,” said Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks CEO. 

Starbucks currently purchases around 3% of the world’s arabica coffee from more than 400,000 farmers across 30 countries.    

Hacienda Alsacia is Starbucks’ first and only company-operated coffee farm, with more than 800,000 coffee trees spread over 240 hectares. Acquired by the coffee chain in 2013, the farm is also headquarters to the Starbucks Costa Rica Farmer Support Center and Starbucks Global Research and Development team. 

Research will continue at Hacienda Alsacia as the innovation hub is constructed with the lab expanding the coffee farm’s capabilities 'to cultivate positive social and environmental change beyond coffee’. 

Starbucks’ Hacienda Alsacia team are currently breeding new coffee varieties, testing disease-resistant coffee trees and developing agricultural practices to produce a higher yield, according to its website. 

The announcement also advances Starbucks’ partnership with ASU. The Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), introduced in 2014, covers 100% of tuition fees for eligible Starbucks’ US employees to study online for a bachelor’s degree from ASU. In May 2023, Starbucks and ASU reached the milestone of graduating more 10,000 staff through the programme. 

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