Starbucks deploys blockchain to track coffee from bean to store

Starbucks has leveraged the power of blockchain to enable its clients to trace their coffee from the farms to store

The coffee giant is seeking greater customer satisfaction by using blockchain technology to create transparency. The Starbucks blockchain would enable its customers to trace their coffee. Launched yesterday, Starbucks customers across the US can use a code on the bag to find more information about their coffee. Some of the information includes where the beans came from, where they were roasted and the brewing tips from baristas.

However, this latest development is not limited to customers alone. According to Michelle Burns, Senior Vice President of Starbucks, farmers will receive a reverse code that would allow them to track their produce.

Microsoft developed the blockchain-powered tool that now allows the coffee giant to share its decade-long traceability data with its customers. This latest development might also help Starbucks attract younger generations that had concerns about the coffee sold by the companies.

In an interview, Burns stated that the company has been able to trace every coffee purchase from every farm for more than a decade. The vast amount of data can serve as a foundation for Starbucks to develop a user-friendly, consumer-driven tool that would bring trust and instil confidence in their customers regarding the origin of their coffee.

Although it is a welcome development, it is not an easy one for Starbucks. Tracing coffee back to the farms is challenging as beans from various farms might get mixed up along the supply chain. For the company, this means that some bags will be tracked to the country or region where the beans were grown. However, Starbucks is up to the task and will deliver as promised, with Burns reassuring customers that “We go as deep as we can”.

Farmers to know the final destination of their produce

This latest development isn’t one-sided, though. Farmers will also have access to the new Starbucks tool. However, the tool works differently for them; accessing the traceability website from a computer and inserting the code manually. Burns stated that there was some demand for the tool from their farmers: “What they told us is they didn’t know where their coffee went, what blend it went to”.

The traceability tool is not available for bags bought outside of Starbucks stores on a per-cup basis. However, the feature could be available one day, as Burns concluded that Starbucks is “just getting started”.

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