Coffee giant Starbucks on Thursday will open its eighth location in Costa Rica in a renovated house in Los Yoses, east of San José, and company managers confirmed they will open two more by the end of the year.
The Los Yoses location will open at 11 a.m. and will be the chain’s first in Costa Rica with drive-thru service.
Two new stores are scheduled to open in coming weeks in the capital – one downtown near the Plaza de la Cultura and the other at San Rafael de Escazú, southwest of San José.
Starbucks Costa Rica Director Mónica Bianchini said the goal is to open an average of three new stores per year from 2016 to 2020, for a total of 15 new locations, and an overall total of 25.
Current stores, including the new one at Los Yoses, employ 163 employees. By 2020 that number will reach 337, Starbucks’ Regional Director for Central America David Batres said. He did not disclose the amount of investment or the locations of the 15 new shops, citing company policy. He did say some new locations could be outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area.
By the end of 2015 the company will have a total of five openings this year. The chain opened its first store here in 2012, and Batres said the company attributes its growth to good results among Tico customers.
The local franchise belongs to Premium Restaurants of America, a corporation that also manages Starbucks franchises other Central American countries.
In addition to traditional blends customers here also can purchase Costa Rican coffee from Bella Vista, a farm in the Cartago canton of Tres Ríos.
The Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. also has a direct presence in Costa Rica as it owns a coffee farm next to Poás Volcano, in Alajuela province.
At the experimental farm researchers develop new coffee varieties through hybridization – which is not genetic modification – and different processing techniques that result in new flavored coffees, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said in 2013, when the company acquired the property.
In 2012, Starbucks introduced its most expensive coffee ever, Costa Rica Finca Palmilera, in a limited number of U.S. stores. The $7 cup is brewed from a coffee variety called Geisha found in various Central American countries. It is famously difficult to cultivate. The variety used for the expensive coffee is grown in Tarrazú, south of San José, by brothers Marvin and Didier Sánchez, who set aside just three hectares of their estate to grow Geisha coffee.
In addition to $7 cups, the Reserve Costa Rica Finca Palmilera Geisha varietal coffee is being sold at limited Clover Starbucks stores (in the Pacific Northwest), at $40 for a half-pound.