The chain will use the day to highlight its coffee growers.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
September 28, 2017

Friday, September 29 is so-called National Coffee Day. Yes, it’s probably one of these oddball holidays that get pitched by fans or brands and then promoted via a hashtag. But the general vibe at most coffee-slinging shops around the country is that’s it’s a day to hand out a free cup or offer a great deal on some joe. This year, however, the largest coffee chain in the country is taking a different approach. Throughout the weekend, Starbucks will be replacing its menu boards to highlight the people behind the beans it brews with every day.

While your favorite beverage will still be available, in place of the usual list of drip coffees, macchiatos, and seasonal lattes will be images and information about the farmers Starbucks sources its coffee from. The placards will highlight some of the unique challenges these farmers face as well, including coffee leaf rust (a disease which debilitates the industry and incomes of local farmers) and issues around climate change.

Courtesy of Starbucks

The idea is to show customers that with every purchase they make, they’re actually making a difference in a few ways: 99 percent of Starbucks’ coffee is ethically sourced, the brand is committed to planting 100 million trees (replacing crops affected by rust) by 2025, and by supporting Starbucks’ involvement in the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, which seeks to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product.

“We want our customers to know that they can feel good about their Starbucks purchase, which is positively impacting coffee growing communities around the world,” Kelly Goodejohn, director of ethical sourcing, Global Social Impact & Public Policy for Starbucks said in a statement. “This year, we want to share the incredible milestones that each coffee purchase is helping us realize. Making these investments today will help ensure the success of the next generation of coffee farmers and their families.”

Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks will also feature a special roast for the day, Single-Origin Guatemala Huehuetenango, which is grown in a mountainous area that has been impacted by coffee leaf rust. However, as of a 2015 campaign, Starbucks has been planting one tree for every bag of coffee sold, and the new roast is made entirely from these replenished crops. The Huehuetenango coffee launches Friday, and is available in stores and as whole-bean coffee for a limited time.