Starbucks has long been many people's go-to destination for morning coffee runs and afternoon pick-me-ups, however, now it looks like the company is attempting to become a go-to vacation destination as well. Today, Starbucks announced that it has officially turned one of its coffee farms into a tourist attraction by building a visitor center alongside the coffee fields.
Starbucks purchased the 600-acre Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in 2013, and now, for the first time, it will be opened to the public. To accommodate the farm's transition to becoming a travel destination, the coffee company built a 46,000-square-foot visitor center right on the grounds.
Coffee lovers who want to get a firsthand look at the growing and roasting process can tour the new Hacienda Alsacia Visitor Center starting today. Tickets cost $25, and with the purchase, visitors will get a 90-minute guided tour and coffee tastings. Though Starbucks has long told its "bean-to-cup story" at many of its Roastery locations, the Hacienda Alsacia tour seems to go well beyond that by offering visitors the opportunity to actually witness that coffee journey unfold.
The tour starts at the nursery where visitors will get to gaze upon the tiny coffee seeds that may one day make their morning caffeine fix possible. Next, the groups will swing by the coffee fields to see some growing and harvesting action. After that, it's on to the wet mill, drying patio, coffee bodega, and innovation green house, where research occurs.
The tour's final destination is the café, which looks an awful lot like one of Starbucks' higher end Reserve locations except that it overlooks a coffee farm. Here, guests can finish their visit off on a high note by drinking freshly brewed cups of Hacienda Alsacia coffee. Locally prepared breakfast and lunch offerings are also available — though it's unclear whether that includes the breakfast sandwiches we're used to.
It may come as a surprise to some that Starbucks, a coffee company, would set its sights on tourism, but when we stop to look at all its recent announcements collectively, it seems that we probably should have seen this coming. Starting with the opening of its first Reserve Roastery in Seattle, it's clear Starbucks is aiming to provide people with more than just daily cups of coffee. The company wants us to start having coffee drinking experiences. By opening attractions like Reserve Roasterys, Princi Cafés and Bakeries, and Reserve Stores in big cities that are already regarded as hot travel destinations, it may be on the right track to achieving just that.