Masters Students from BSL’ s Competitive Positioning class paid a visit to Starbucks Coffee Trading Company (SCTC) on 29th June, 2015 . A warm welcome from the Starbucks team started the morning off well. Our journey to the world of coffee began with some coffee testing in their premises in Lausanne.
Stefan and his team taste a variety of coffees every morning before giving the seal of approval to the coffee that eventually ends up in the Starbucks coffee houses worldwide. Stefan explained the tasting (cupping) procedure and BSL students tried and tested coffee samples from all over the world (Guatemalan, Ethiopian, Mexican, Brazilian and Kenyan coffees). He explained the main characteristics of qualified coffees and talked about the differences between the 2 main types of Arabica and Robusta coffees.
The roasting of coffee samples was the second stage of our visit and we then proceeded to hear the presentation given by Colman Cuff, Vice President & SCTC Managing Director. Colman presented the Starbucks company business models and talked about the challenges and opportunities of this coffee sector. He explained the importance of sustainability to Starbucks, talked about the Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices and emphasized the importance of those practices for this organization.
We heard about the work carried out with farmers to help them improve their agricultural practices in order to ensure better incomes and better lives and also sustainable coffee for the future. Colman Cuff told us about possible future expansions into new markets -Tanzania, South Africa, and Philippines are being looked at. BSL Professor Guy Ngayo suggested that the Masters class should take up the challenge of the Starbucks case and do a SWOT analyses for those new potential markets. What a great challenge for students – real-life learning!
It was a very interesting visit and many different questions were posed by our Masters students – supply chaind and trading operations were particularly on their minds. Mr. Colman Cuff answered all of the questions asked with pleasure!
A great visit, thanks Starbucks
Diana Arzumanyan, Masters student 2015