Starbucks debuts in Italy with premium brews, novelty bar
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2108, a waiter serves cappuccini at the Starbucks store in Milan, Italy. Starbucks opens its first store in Italy Friday, betting that premium brews and novelties like a heated marble-topped coffee bar will win patrons in a country fond of its espresso rituals. Decades ago, Milanâs coffee bars had inspired the chainâs vision. Starbucks hopes clients will linger at Starbucks Reserve Roastery, where they can watch beans being roasted, sip Reserve coffee or have cocktails at a mezzanine-level bar in a cavernous space that once was a post office near the cityâs Duomo, or cathedral. (Luca Bruno/Associated Press) September 6 at 12:17 AM
MILAN â" Starbucks is opening its first store in Italy, betting that premium brews and novelties like a heated marble-topped coffee bar will win customers in a country fond of its daily espresso rituals.
Decades ago, Milanâs coffee bars inspired the chainâs vision. Now Starbucks is hoping clients will visit its new store, called the Reserve Roastery, to watch beans being roasted, sip coffee or enjoy cocktails at a mezzanine-level bar in a cavernous, former post office near the cityâs Duomo, or cathedral.
Starbucks chief design officer Liz Muller told The Associated Press earlier this week that the companyâs ânot coming to Italy to teach people about coffee. This is where coffee was born.â
Instead, Muller said, Starbucks âwanted to come and bring a premium experience that is different to what people in Italy are used to.â
She described that formula as including âmany different brewing techniques and a space where we want you to stay longer and relax and enjoy.â
I n Italy, an espresso at a coffee bar is usually a quick morning or after-lunch ritual performed standing up. In many neighborhoods, cafes are practically on every corner, and Italians are on a first-name basis with their trusted barista.
Italy is Starbucksâ 78th global market, and the Milan opening comes 20 years after Starbucks opened its first store in Europe, in London. The company has described the Milan store as âthe crown jewel of Starbucks global retail footprint.â It says it plans more cafes for Milan later this year.
Milan is the first place where Starbucks has opened a store in its Roastery format in untested territory. It opened a Roastery in Seattle, the U.S. city that is home to its corporate headquarters, in 2014, and a second one in Shanghai last year.
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 wonât feel stone cold on chill days. The centerpiece of the Milan store is a 6.5-meter (22-foot) high bronze cask, part of the roasting process.
The company also hopes the storeâs cocktail bar will be an attraction: Many who work in Milan, Italyâs fashion and financial capital, cherish the tradition of meeting friends or colleagues for an âaperitivo,â or pre-dinner cocktail, often in cafes.
DâEmilio reported from Rome.
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