Starbucks opens first store in Colombia, land of coffee

CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz (centre) smiles after inaugurating the coffee chain's first Colombian store at 93 park in Bogota on July 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz (centre) smiles after inaugurating the coffee chain's first Colombian store at 93 park in Bogota on July 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BOGOTA (AFP) - US chain Starbucks on Wednesday opened its first cafe in Colombia - a world famous coffee exporter - apparently unafraid it will be like selling sand at the beach.

To gear up for a soft landing, the US company teamed up with local company Nutresa, and picked a location in Bogota's exclusive Parque de la 93 for upscale appeal.

Starbucks "is looking to achieve a leadership position in the (Colombian) domestic market", a Nutresa statement said.

Colombia is the world's leading exporter of smooth arabica.

So in a country where people know their coffee, Starbucks has decided to sell 100 per cent Colombian beans in all its Colombian outlets.

"For us, it is a point of pride that Colombia will be the first country in Latin America where all the coffee Starbucks serves will be 100 per cent Colombian," said Carlos Gallego, head of Grupo Nutresa.

Colombia, with 47 million people, a booming economy and growing middle class, is an increasingly frothy market for international investors.