To the Editor:
We would like to clarify the information in a letter written by a reader (Forum, Sept. 26). Mr. Tarses stated that chain coffee shops, like Starbucks and Peet’s, buy “green coffee” directly from growers and importers at an average price of 76 cents per pound. In actuality, as part of Starbucks long-standing commitment to farmers in origin countries, Starbucks pays on average $1.20 per pound, excluding freight, for the majority of our coffee. In addition, 74 percent of our green coffee has been purchased at outright prices in 2002, helping to ensure a stable price for farmers that is independent of the low prices in the coffee commodity markets. Also, in 2002, 59 percent of our coffee has been supplied directly from farms and co-ops, thereby eliminating “middlemen” and ensuring that farmers receive more of the purchase price we pay.
As part of Starbucks commitment to origin countries, Starbucks purchases of organic, shade-grown, and Fair Trade certified coffees all contribute to greater social, economic and environmental sustainability of coffee production.
East Bay Regional Director
Starbucks Coffee Company