Tata, Starbucks brew stronger ties

Tata Group and US-based Starbucks Coffee Company signed multiple agreements on Monday to strengthen their four-year partnership, when they’d entered into a joint venture where the former would launch the latter in this country.

The new ones involve inclusion of single-origin coffee from India in Starbucks’ US  outlets, beginning with its flagship store in Seattle. Also, bringing Starbucks to Vistara, the Tata joint venture with Singapore Airlines. And, taking Himalayan mineral water to China and the larger Asia-Pacific region, starting with Singapore. Additionally, Starbucks will bring its Teavana tea brand here this December.

The agreements came after a meeting in the US last week of Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry. The meet also decided Starbucks would increase its coffee roasting capacity for supplying to its stores in India and globally.

It was in 2013 that Tata Global Beverages’ (TGB’s) subsidiary, Tata Coffee, opened a roasting and packaging facility in Coorg that produced an India Estates Blend and espresso coffee for Starbucks stores in this country. This will now be expanded to cover Kenyan and Sumatran coffees, the two said on Monday.

“These initiatives build upon the incredible success and shared values between Starbucks and Tata in our partnership in India,” Schultz said in a joint statement. “Our journey with Starbucks since 2012 has been gratifying and we’re pleased to build on this relationship,” said Mistry.

The two did not specify when Starbucks would be available on Vistara (457 weekly flights to 17 destinations), saying it would be later this year.

The two partners are also collaborating on the development of a signature Indian tea blend, to be available at all Starbucks stores in the country, they said. Himalayan Mineral Water, the bottled water brand of TGB, will be available in Starbucks stores in Singapore this year. Starbucks will also partner Tata in skill training of youth as part of the latter’s corporate social responsibility initiative, called STRIVE.