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Look Out: Starbucks Opens First Colombia Cafe

After decades of providing the ingredients, Colombia opened its first Starbucks cafe.

The Seattle chain opened its first shop in Colombia on Wednesday, 43 years after it started buying beans from the country famous for its premium arabica coffee named after fictional coffee farmer Juan Valdez. Its first shop precedes 50 others planned for the next five years.

Starbucks' arrival doesn't come without competition. Roughly 200 Juan Valdez shops — a native chain popular in Latin America — operate in Colombia, and Nestle SA plans to sell home brewers in Colombia this fall before opening a boutique coffee shop.

"We think we can exist in a very complementary way," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks' Chief Executive Officer.

More than half of the 400 million pounds of coffee purchased by Starbucks last year came from Latin America, where the chain has more than 700 stores. Starbucks' other major coffee suppliers include Brazil, Indonesia and Africa.

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— Reuters