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Starbucks eyes India

New York City -- Starbucks Coffee Co. said Thursday that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Coffee Ltd., an Indian coffee bean provider, which will allow Starbucks to source and roast coffee beans at Tata's Coorg, India facility.

In addition, the deal will allow the companies to "explore the development of Starbucks retail stores in associated retail outlets and hotels," Starbucks said in a statement.

“We believe India can be an important source for coffee in the domestic market, as well as across the many regions globally where Starbucks has operations," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Tata has supplied beans to Starbucks in the past.

Although India has traditionally been known as a tea-drinking nation, consumers, especially those in the country’s growing middle class, are increasingly drinking espressos and cappuccino at quick-service cafes that have popped up.

© 2014