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Starbucks partners with Microsoft Azure Blockchain for coffee traceability

starbucks coffee beans

Earlier this week coffee brand Starbucks’ traceability feature was shown at Microsoft’s Build 2019 conference. Among other new developments for its mobile app, the blockchain powered feature will enable customers to track their coffee from bean to cup.

A highlight of Build 2019, Starbucks’ application of Microsoft powered technology was demonstrated by the tech firm’s CEO Satya Nadella. The traceability service promises to share information via the Starbucks app about packaged coffee, such as where the purchased beans were grown and roasted. The underlying blockchain is hosted on the Azure network.

Creating a network to track coffee sold by one of the world’s largest brands, which sourced beans from over 380,000 farms in the last year, is no mean feat. The transparent blockchain will store each point in the coffee’s journey using immutable distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Consistent with the firm’s focus on ethical sourcing, the feature will also show how Starbucks is supporting the farmers of those coffee beans and that the beans are ethically and sustainably sourced. The farmers themselves will also benefit by being able to track their products’ journey.

“I firmly believe that by empowering farmers with knowledge and data through technology, we can support them in ultimately improving their livelihoods,” agreed Michelle Burns, SVP of Global Coffee & Tea at Starbucks.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Starbucks and its suppliers on engaging coffee farmers in real, two-way dialogue on this topic,” said Bambi Semroc, Vice President of Sustainable Markets and Strategy for Conservation International, which is conducting farmer interviews in Costa Rica, Rwanda and Colombia for the project. “We are innovating to help connect coffee drinkers with coffee communities, with the goal to return more value to farmers by first listening to their stories, their knowledge and their needs.”

The project was unveiled to Starbucks shareholders in March, around the halfway point of the two-year endeavor.

Meanwhile, the Azure Blockchain Service was only unveiled last week as a further expansion of the Azure Blockchain Workbench platform.

Last month India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry announced plans for a blockchain-based coffee marketplace. Plus ScanTrust previously demonstrated coffee traceability for premium Chinese brand Cambio Coffee.