Fifteen Starbucks stores in five years
Caribbean Coffee Baristas Limited, led by Ian Dear and Adam Stewart, opened its first Starbucks store in Jamaica on Tuesday and is expected to launch 14 more in five years.
Jamaica becomes the American coffee chain's 76th market.
The first cafe is located at Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay, while the second will open in Kingston in 2018, according to a release issued by Starbucks and the local franchise owners.
Caribbean Coffee Baristas is a joint venture between the Dear-led Margaritaville Caribbean Group and Stewart, who is also deputy chairman and CEO of Sandals Resorts International.
Together, they plan to open up to "15 locations in Jamaica over the next five years". The stores will offer a range of Starbucks beverages and food, including its signature handcrafted hot and cold espresso beverages made with 100 per cent arabica coffee.
"For Starbucks, this is an opportunity to build on more than 40 years of the best in-store experience to customers around the globe that is rooted in high-quality coffee and our engaged, knowledgeable baristas," said Ricardo Rico, Starbucks general manager and vice-president for Latin America and the Caribbean, in a release issued Tuesday.
"Our new Starbucks Jamaica partners are ready to welcome customers, as we mark the beginning of this exciting chapter in the Caribbean market," he said.
To mark Starbucks' local launch, the store will feature the Starbucks Reserve Jamaica Blue Mountain featuring whole bean coffee grown by Amber Estate, Clifton Mount and Wallenford farms in the Blue Mountain region.
"This coffee is an opportunity for us to recognise and thank Jamaica's coffee-growing community for their continued partnership on this special, single-origin coffee, while introducing our first customers in Jamaica to a very special part of Starbucks' own coffee journey - an amazing coffee that is roasted in our one and only Starbucks Reserve Roastery back home in Seattle," said Rico.
The Doctor's Cave cafe spans 1,200 square feet. It showcases artwork by Fiona Godfrey, an Ireland-born artist who lives in Jamaica, as part of an overall design tribute to Jamaica's coffee heritage. The colour palette of Godfrey's mural draws from the colours of Jamaica - black, green, yellow and red - with touches of gold and ochre for the face of the featured lion, stated the release.
"Jamaicans love gold, and we win a lot of it," said Godfrey.
Denise Rodriguez, design manager for the Starbucks store in Jamaica, said the lion is meant to represent the heart and spirit of the Jamaican people.
"He's not a fierce or intimidating lion, he's majestic and mighty, but gentle and caring - connecting eyes with the hummingbird, or Doctor Bird as it's locally called, and embracing her, acknowledging her, and respecting her. The hummingbird is not threatened by the powerful lion, as they are proudly harmonious - much like Jamaica itself," she said.
Starbucks has operated stores in the Caribbean since 2002, when it opened its first store in Puerto Rico's Old San Juan. With the addition of Jamaica, it now operates in six Caribbean markets, the other four being The Bahamas, Aruba, CuraÁao and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Starbucks chain comprises more than 27,000 stores globally.
UPDATE: Starbucks has updated its release to say the coffee beans for its Jamaica Blue Mountain Reserve also comes from the Clifton Mount and Wallenford Estate farms in addition to Amber. The story has been adjusted accordingly.