Coffee and Connections at the Starbucks Origin Experience 2024 in Sumatra

Understanding the captivating story of coffee, from the humble coffee bean to the rich aroma of a perfectly brewed cup, was a reality for 100 partners from Asia Pacific and Japan who had the opportunity to participate in the Sumatra Origin Experience, spread across two waves.

Since the inception of the Origin Experience program in 2010, more than 4,000 partners from across the world have embarked on the transformative bean-to-cup coffee journey. Destinations like Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Rwanda have been explored by these partners, who have had the privilege of delving into the remarkable journey of Starbucks coffee. This season, 100 partners from Asia Pacific and Japan immersed themselves in the Sumatra Origin Experience.

During the Origin Experience, partners actively engage in the coffee production process. They visit smallholder coffee farms, meet the families who tend and grow the coffee trees, and spend time in the fields, harvesting ripe coffee cherries and planting trees. Ita Daud, the general manager of the Sumatra Farmer Support Centre, highlighted how this hands-on work connects partners to the reality of coffee production. "Our partners realize that we need to harvest coffee cherry by cherry," she explained. "One shot of espresso is 20 hand-picked cherries, to hold that in your hand and understand that every cup started like that is very humbling."

Another significant moment during the Origin Experience is the planting of a tree. Each partner has the opportunity to plant a tree and leave a message for future generations. This tree planting allows partners to directly contribute to a more sustainable future for coffee. By planting these trees, partners gain a deeper appreciation for the dedicated work of the Sumatran coffee farmers who tend to the coffee trees day-in and day-out. As Liana, a store manager from the New Zealand market shared, "Planting that tree was a deeply meaningful experience. It's a tangible way for Starbucks to invest in the future of coffee and for us as partners to better understand the realities faced by the coffee farming communities we work with."

Continuing the journey into the heart of Berastagi, partners were welcomed by the local community and had the opportunity to hear from women and girls who are participants in a Mercy Corps project supported by The Starbucks Foundation. ST, a senior manager from the Malaysia Market Support Centre, shared, "Understanding the challenges that face our coffee farming communities and seeing the impact Starbucks has, is incredibly powerful. I met women and girls whose lives have been improved through our partnership with local organizations. Simple things like access to clean water and educational opportunities are making such a difference."

The final day of the trip see partner visit the Starbucks Farmer Support Center to witness firsthand the efforts made by Starbucks to create a sustainable future for coffee. Captain, a store manager from Starbucks Korea, found the Origin Experience to be an opportunity to deepen his understanding of Starbucks' commitment. "It's amazing to see the investment and care that Starbucks puts into every aspect of the coffee journey, from growing and giving away new coffee tree varietals to working one-on-one with farmers in the field. This trip has deepened my appreciation for the work Starbucks does to ensure a sustainable future for coffee."

The Sumatra Origin Experience continues to be a transformative journey for Starbucks partners from Asia Pacific and around the world. Through this immersive experience, partners gain a deeper understanding of the coffee supply chain and the dedication required to produce high-quality coffee sustainably. By connecting with the farmers, experiencing the land, and understanding the challenges faced by the coffee industry and Starbucks commitment to the future of coffee, partners return home with a renewed sense of purpose and a promise to sharing their knowledge and passion with customers.

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