starbucks_no_ethiopia.jpgStarbucks went toe to toe with Ethiopia and the coffee behemoth lost. In the ever advancing world of provenance establishment and disclosure of our of our food and beverage sources, the African nation was seeking to trademark some of its coffee growing regions for the purpose of increasing value in the world markets. Starbucks on the other hand has no interest in seeing anything that would drive the price of a venti any closer to the $5 mark any sooner than necessary – licensing these new trademarked coffee names is not in their, or their stock prices', interest. Corporate bullying ensues over the last few months, customer blowback follows, and then Wall Street gets antsy as a protest is not good for sales.

Low and behold - from the Wall Street Journal (reg. req.):

After two days of discussions in Seattle this week, the two sides said they have agreed in principle to sign a licensing, distribution and marketing agreement. Starbucks officials declined to say what the agreement entails, or why they've now moved closer to signing it. "We've always been very bullish on our business with Ethiopia," Starbucks Chief Executive Jim Donald said in an interview. "This is just another great step."

Backpedal in full effect.

If you want to see what the fuss is about, go sample Ethiopian coffee at the new (old) Tasting Room Wine Bar and Cafe on First Street in the East Village to see what all the fuss is about. They are now open 7am-Midnight M-F and 9am-Midnight Sat-Sun. Pretty tasty stuff.