Starbucks, the coffee franchise on every corner of the U.S., plans to open stores in Panama at the beginning of 2015.
In April 2011, Starbucks Coffee Company signed an agreement to begin operating franchises in Central America. Since then they have opened 5 stores in El Salvador, 4 in Costa Rica, and 2 in Guatemala. They employ a total of 190 people in the region.
They haven’t revealed where the new locations will be in Panama but they would like to open 11 – 20 more Starbucks locations throughout Central America within the next year.
In Panama the “coffee café culture” has been slow to take off but I think it is starting to bud now. There’s been a few places that have opened in the past year that I love going to like Unido, Te Cafe, Bajareque, and the classic New York Bagels. But overall the amount of places that you can quickly go to grab a cup of coffee on the way to work or just hangout on a couch with your laptop is still very few.
So it must make sense for someone to fill the the gap, right? I’m not so sure how I feel about Starbucks filling it.
I like Starbucks – whenever I go home to the states I indulge in a Mocha Frappuccino. And whether I order it at the airport or the Starbucks at the mall, it’s going to taste the same. I don’t want something that is going to taste the same in Panama because then there is nothing special about it.
In Panama there is so much good, flavorful, locally grown coffee that we should appreciate. I’ve made a point to try almost every local brand since I have been here in a quest to find the best one (Bajareque is my top pick at the moment). I would love to see more unique local cafés open featuring coffee that is grown in Panama instead of having another international franchise open their doors here.
How awesome would it be to have a unique coffee place on every corner instead of a Starbucks on every corner?!
Once Starbucks does open I will probably order a Mocha Frappuccino from time to time, but I’ll spend the majority of my coffee money at the places I can only find in Panama.