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C.A.F.E. Practices

3 min


The cornerstone of Starbucks ethical sourcing approach to buying coffee is Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices.

C.A.F.E. Practices was one of the coffee industry’s first set of ethical sourcing standards developed in partnership with Conservation International in 2004.

Since 2015, Starbucks® coffee has been verified as 99% ethically sourced, and we are the largest coffee retailer to achieve this milestone. This verification programme measures farms against quality, economic, social and environmental criteria, all designed to promote transparent, profitable and sustainable coffee growing practices while also protecting the wellbeing of coffee farmers, their communities and our planet.



Starbucks® suppliers (farmers, producers, and exporters) are required to submit evidence of payments made for green coffee throughout the supply chain, including how much was paid directly to farmers for their coffee.


This ensures we know which farms we purchase from, the names of the farmers, and the price paid to each of them for the coffee.


Starbucks® reached the milestone of 99% ethically sourced coffee in 2015.


Coffee producers need to protect the rights of people working on their farms and must have measures in place that promote a safe, fair and humane work environment.


This includes criteria around wages and benefits, hiring practices, hours of work, use of protective equipment, access to medical care and education.



With growing and processing coffee, C.A.F.E. Practices includes sustainable agricultural practices and environmental measures that must be in place for managing waste, protecting water quality, conserving water and energy, preserving biodiversity and reducing agrochemical use.

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We only source, roast and sell the highest quality arabica coffee.

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All coffee must pass our standards for high quality which include a cupping (tasting) process.


C.A.F.E. Practices is a verification programme, not a one-time certification system, because we believe there is always more work to do to ensure the long-term supply of high quality coffee and to positively impact farming communities. 


Starbucks® is continuously improving this programme by working with groups such as Conservation International to measure the true impact our purchasing programmes have on participating farmers and producers. The programme allows us to gain insights into the challenges faced by farmers and supply chain operations in more than 30 different coffee-producing countries around the world. 


Why arabica coffee? <p>The most essential ingredient in your cup of coffee? The beans. Here’s why we choose to use 100% arabica beans.</p> 3 min


Blending & roasting <p>Before you can brew and sip your favourite Starbucks<sup>®</sup> coffee, the coffee beans go through many steps, including blending and roasting.</p> 4 min


Starbucks signature roast <p>Which roast profile do you prefer? Starbucks<sup>®</sup> Blonde Roast, Medium Roast or Dark Roast? These three make up the Starbucks<sup>®</sup> roast spectrum.</p> 4 min