From coffee bean to cup: Starbucks brews a blockchain-based supply chain with Microsoft

Starbucks is working with Microsoft to develop a blockchain-based supply chain tracking system and mobile app that will allow customers to track the supply chain journey of the beans they buy and the coffee they drink.

In March, Starbucks announced a “digital transparency plan” that would let it verify their coffee beans as 100% ethically and sustainably sourced.

Last year, Starbucks worked with more than 380,000 coffee farms to ensure ethical sourcing. However, digital real-time traceability will allow customers to know more about their coffee beans, the company said.

“Perhaps even more important and differentiating are the potential benefits for coffee farmers to know where their beans go after they sell them. Starbucks is…innovating ways to trace the journey that its coffee makes from farm to cup – and to connect the people who drink it with the people who grow it,” the coffee chain said in a blog post.

This week at the Microsoft Build 2019 conference, the coffee company announced its “bean to cup” program. It uses Microsoft’s Azure-based blockchain service, which creates a transparent electronic ledger over which supply chain participants can input transactional data. Combined with a user interface and mobile application, the technology will allow Starbucks customers to trace the journey of coffee beans from the time a grower packages them to the time they hit the coffee chain’s counters.

The mobile app will show customers information about where their packaged coffee comes from, where it was grown and what Starbucks is doing to support farmers in those locations. It will also include where and when the coffee was roasted, associated  tasting notes and other details.

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