Starbucks has announced that it will open its first café in Colombia next year, expanding the company’s longstanding relationship with Latin America and 42-year heritage with Colombian coffee farmers. Starbucks stores in Colombia will be operated through a joint venture between two of Starbucks’ longest-term business partners in the Latin America region – Alsea and Grupo Nutresa. As Starbucks’ leading licensed partner in Latin America for more than 10 years, the alliance with Alsea covers more than 500 Starbucks stores across Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Starbucks Colombia will open its first store in Bogota in 2014. The company has aggressive plans to open stores in Bogota and other major cities throughout Colombia over the next five years. Starbucks also announced the expansion of its manufacturing relationship with Colcafe, which is a subsidiary of Grupo Nutresa, to offer Colombian customers locally sourced and roasted espresso, drip and packaged Colombian coffee. Starbucks has been roasting coffee in Colombia with Colcafe since 2008, when Starbucks developed its signature Starbucks VIA Ready Brew. Under the new manufacturing agreement, Colcafe will build on the current roasting and manufacturing for Starbucks VIA Colombia in their facility in Medellin, Colombia, and become the first roaster in Latin America to roast coffee for Starbucks espresso and packaged coffee. Starbucks plans to continue to build on its 42-year purchasing relationship with Colombian coffee producers and further strengthen the company’s support for Colombian coffee farmers. To build on this commitment, Starbucks has announced a public-private partnership with USAID to increase Colombian coffee yields and enhance economic opportunities for Colombian farmers. This partnership will enable Starbucks to expand the collaboration with the Colombian Coffee Grower Federation and suppliers and exporters throughout Colombia to provide technical and agronomy support to Colombian farmers through a US$1.5 million commitment by both Starbucks and USAID creating a three-year US$3 million investment. This investment will enable the Starbucks Farmer Support Center, established in Manizales, Colombia in 2012, to deliver training and agronomy support and positively impact 25,000 farmers throughout the country. As part of its quest to continue placing Colombian coffee in the world spotlight, Starbucks will feature one single-origin Colombian coffee per year in the Starbucks Reserve Coffee Program. Starbucks is celebrating the third year of this innovative program, which finds customers rare, exotic and exquisite small-lot coffees, including Colombian coffees from Risaralda and Cauca. Starbucks will continue to work with Colombian producers to feature Colombia’s finest coffees in this program.