‘The Most Beautiful Starbucks in the World’ Opens in Milan, Italy
US coffee giant Starbucks is taking on Italy’s espresso masters with a lavish new cafe complete with nitro coffee, a heated marble-topped coffee bar, a 22ft high bronze cask, a wood-fired oven and a cocktail bar.
Starbucks is opening its first store in Italy on Friday in a cavernous former post office in the Piazza Cordusio square of Milan, where customers can watch the beans being roasted in a huge bronze cask, eat pizza from a hand-built Princi Bar wood-fired oven, or drink cocktails on the mezzanine-level bar.
In Italy, an espresso at a coffee bar is usually a quick morning or after-lunch ritual performed standing up.
Many neighbourhoods have cafes are practically on every corner, and Italians are on a first-name basis with their trusted barista.
Decades ago, Milan’s coffee bars inspired the global chain’s vision, bosses say.
Now Starbucks is hoping Italian clients will visit its new store, called the Reserve Roastery, for the premium brews and novelties in a country fond of its daily espresso rituals.
Italy is Starbucks’ 78th global market, and the Milan opening comes 20 years after Starbucks opened its first store in Europe, which was in London in Kings Road in 1998.
The company has described the Milan store as ‘the crown jewel of Starbucks global retail footprint’ and it says the chain plans more cafes in Milan later this year.
Milan is also the first place where Starbucks has opened a store in its Roastery format in the untested territory of Europe.
Italians are used to marble counters for coffee bars, but Starbucks boasts that it outfitted its counter tops in the Milan store with heating so they won’t feel stone cold on chill days.
The centrepiece of the Milan store is a 22ft (6.5-meter) high bronze cask, which is part of the roasting process.
The company also hopes the store’s cocktail bar will be an attraction as many who work in Milan, Italy’s fashion and financial capital, cherish the tradition of meeting friends or colleagues for an ‘aperitivo’, or pre-dinner cocktail, often in cafes.
Starbucks chief design officer Liz Muller told The Associated Press earlier this week that the company’s ‘not coming to Italy to teach people about coffee. This is where coffee was born’.
Instead, Muller said Starbucks ‘wanted to come and bring a premium experience that is different to what people in Italy are used to’.
She described that formula as including ‘many different brewing techniques and a space where we want you to stay longer and relax and enjoy’.
Starbucks first opened a Roastery in Seattle in 2014, where the US city that is home to its corporate headquarters, and a second one in Shanghai last year.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Chris Dyer; The Associated Press