With New Coffee-Bean Partnership, Starbucks to Brew Up Its First Stores in India

Starbucks (SBUX) is getting closer to brewing up its first stores in India. On Thursday, the world's largest coffee-shop operator announced it has signed a deal with India-based Arabica-coffee-bean supplier Tata Coffee.

The memorandum of understanding calls for Tata to collaborate with Starbucks on sourcing and roasting coffee beans and on developing retail stores. The news hardly comes as a surprise: Back in November, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the company was in talks with potential partners to open stores in India.

"India is one of the most dynamic markets in the world with a diverse culture and tremendous potential," Schultz said in a statement Thursday. "We are focused on exploring local sourcing and roasting opportunities with the thousands of coffee farmers within the Tata ecosystem."

Starbucks hopes to boost sales by growing abroad, as well as by expanding its menu and its array of consumer products. Overseas sales for the company's fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Oct. 3, jumped 21% from a year earlier, outpacing the company's overall revenue growth of 17%.

In an attempt to continue that momentum, Starbucks said last month that it would expand its store count in China more than sixfold, aiming to have 1,500 stores in the country by 2015. And its expansion into other products is reflected in a new logo unveiled earlier this month. The logo retains Starbucks's iconic green mermaid, but no longer includes the word "coffee."

The news of the Tata deal didn't move the stock, with Starbucks shares growing less than 1% to close at $32.41 on Thursday.

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