Editorial

Latest Blockchain use case: your morning Starbucks no-foam soy extravaganza

System will eventually allow customers to track the progress of the beans that went into the very cup they are drinking – and will use the new Microsoft Blockchain platform announced only last week

Posted 7 May 2019 by

Global coffee giant Starbucks says its “bean to cup” Blockchain-based supply chain system is to use Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service to track all of its coffee production – the latter only something that was announced last week.

Announced in March 2018, ‘bean to cup’ is all about developing what the Seattle behemoth defines as “next-level data technology to log and share real-time information along the journey of coffee beans with the aim of driving positive impact to smallholder farmers within its supply chain”.

The system has to allow customers to track the production of their coffee and open up potential financial opportunities for coffee bean farmers on the backend, with the pilot being Open Sourced to share findings. Customers will be able to use the Starbucks mobile app to trace the journey of their coffee from the farm where the beans originate, all the way to their cup.

The system will have to be pretty substantial, as Starbucks says it worked with more than 380,000 coffee bean farms last year. That key idea of “traceability” has now been taken a step further – or do we mean ‘bean’ (sorry) – with this link up with its near Washington state neighbour, Microsoft.

The two announced some of the fruit of their labours at this week’s Microsoft technical conference, Build. These included additional joint projects such as “predictive drive-thru ordering” and connecting Internet-of-Things IoT-enabled equipment at different cafe locations (go here for a video on the latter from the conference).